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the very large triptych, part 2 ~ the proposal

by | Mar 16, 2024 | Uncategorized

On March 1st, 2023 our schedules finally aligned so that we could all meet in person at RAS’ Las Campanas home. From the moment I met them, RAS’ enthusiasm and appreciation for my art and me made me feel like a rock star.

After chatting for a bit and admiring their beautiful art collection, I asked to see the view they wanted painted.
From their rooftop deck are panoramic vistas of the Jemez to the west and Sangre de Cristos to the east. In late winter all the landscape — earth and sky, summits and sage — blended into each other in drab shades of khaki green, tan and blue-grey. But I could just imagine how spectacular and vibrant the views were going to be come summertime rain.

Initially RAS had in mind a dramatic sunset view for the triptych, but now they weren’t so sure — colorful sunrise over the Sangres? Dramatic sunset over the Jemez? Midday big blue sky and puffy white clouds? “We’re looking to you to guide us,” they said to me.

Back inside, TAC and I double-checked the measurements of the wall. I then considered the layout and decor of the living room, and shared my thoughts:

I suggest reducing the scale of the overall triptych, because I think 48″ x 60″ — which will make the whole thing 4′ x 15′ — may overwhelm the wall. I’d scale it down a little bit so that there’s white space all around to “frame” it, and give it some breathing room.

In terms of the sky, clouds definitely make for a more interesting painting. But I would avoid anything overly dramatic. A really intensely colored sunset, say, with lots of bright oranges and reds, might feel overpowering. Plus, this room already has a lot of warm colors. It might be nice for the triptych to have some cooler colors. So, for instance, a late afternoon scene, when the clouds are building in shades of purple-blue, but there’s still lots of blue sky peeking through.

TAC echoed these points, and RAS agreed.

“That all sounds good. We’re in no hurry — we want it done right — but just general, how long do you think it will take?” RAS asked.

The triptych would be going on the wall above the recessed shelves, replacing the taxidermic heads.

Basically I see this project having three components or phases: The first phase I’ll call “Discovery,” which will involve photography: Me coming out here and taking photos from your deck. This spring I’ll be on high alert to the sky, and whenever it looks like we’re going to have good cloud action, I’ll drive out here to take photos. I’m guessing I’d make a dozen or so trips out here.

The thing to keep in mind is that spring clouds can be pretty rare out here. Our best clouds usually come in summer, during the monsoons. Hopefully we’ll get good clouds this spring, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Phase Two I’ll call ‘Exploration.’ This is when I’ll narrow down the photos to maybe a dozen of the very best. From those I’ll make several small oil painting studies to the scale of the overall triptych. Once the studies are complete, I’ll share them with you. Ideally there will be one that really speaks to you, and that’s the one that I’ll enlarge into the triptych. Phase Three is painting the triptych.

The photography phase will likely take the longest, since it depends on the weather. If I start coming out here in April, I’d anticipate taking photos through June or July — so three to four months for photography. Creating the studies will take probably four to six weeks, depending on how many I paint. Painting the overall triptych should go relatively quickly — maybe two to three months.

So… I’m guessing maybe by Christmas it’ll be done? I can’t guarantee that, but, if all goes as hoped for, I think that’s a reasonable date to aim for.

“That would be just great — but again, there’s no rush, we want it done right!”

After more conversation fueled by delicious eats, we bade our adieus with hugs all around.

I left feeling on Cloud Nine! and drove home with my head in the clouds.

The next day I ordered a new camera.

This is part two of a several part series:

the very large triptych, part one ~ the request
the very large triptych, part two ~ the proposal **
the very large triptych, part three ~ discovering the landscape
the very large triptych, part four ~ experiencing sky
the very large triptych, part five ~ painting the studies
the very large triptych, part six ~ new studio & first strokes
the very large triptych, part seven ~ the big reveal
the very large triptych, part eight ~ delivery & installation

Artist Dawn Chandler in her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Stay safe. Be kind. Notice what you notice.

~ Dawn Chandler
Painting, writing, photographing, hiking, noticing and breathing deeply in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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