recent posts

blog archive

follow dawn's blog

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

the very large triptych, part 8 ~ delivery & installation

by | May 18, 2024 | Uncategorized

All along as I painted the Very Large Triptych I had three concerns:
1) Was the Very Large Triptych really going to fit on the wall where it was intended? TAC and I had triple-measured the wall, and throughout the creation I had checked my notes multiples times. Yet on the easels in my living room, the triptych seemed so Very Large Indeed. Every time I looked at the photo of RAS’s wall and then looked at the canvases, the triptych just seemed soooo big.
Please tell me it will fit.

2) Would the canvases lie flat against the wall? I had invested in top-of-the line aluminum stretcher bars specifically to ensure that the paintings would stay true and not warp. But I’d never used these stretcher bars before, and, as I painted the triptych, the canvases were always on easels.
Please let them lie flat.

3) Would the Very Large Triptych look as good high up on the wall as it looked at eye-level on the easels?
Please let it look even better up there.

I was about 95% confident that the triptych would fit on the wall, that the canvases would lie flat, and that the triptych would look very good high up on the wall where it was intended. But sometimes that niggling 5% of doubt woke me at night.

Regardless, before signing the Very Large Triptych, I wanted one more set of eyes to see it — those of TAC , The Art Consultant, who found me for this project more than a year earlier. In mid-January I invited him over and handed him a cup of coffee as he walked through my door. His eyes lit up as he sipped coffee and took in the gigantic painting. “Wow, Dawn! Outstanding!” I exhaled a deep, satisfied sigh. “Nope; I don’t see anything,” he said when I asked if he saw anything that needed fixing. “Looks great!”

The next day I signed the painting. Now began the long wait for the paint to dry. In truth, it was pretty much dry already, but I had to be sure before applying the varnish.

Artist Dawn Chandler finally finishes and signs the Very Large Triptych in the lower right corner of the right panel.

Varnishing an oil painting is essential for two reasons: It protects the surface or skin of the painting and it evens-out the sheen of the paint overall. Individual paints can have varying degrees of glossiness, where some colors stand out unintentionally, while others fade into the background. Applying a varnish makes it all uniform. I use a special painting wax made by Gamblin that’s easy to use and creates a lovely matte finish when gently buffed.

Artist Dawn Chandler varnishes her Very Large Triptych 'Sangre de Cristo Sunrise - Peaceful Magnificence' with Gamblin cold wax.

A few weeks later I inspected the painting looking for protruding brushstrokes, and into these I pressed the edge of my thumbnail. If my nail left no impression, the paint was dry — as indeed it was. Then, with sunlight streaming through my windows and Miles Davis’ cool and confident notes filling the room, I took an old piece of flannel, dipped my hand into warm wax, and began caressing the surface of my painting. Round, round, round my hand went in slow, sensuous circles.

After two coats and two days, with another clean bit of flannel in hand, I repeated the slow careful circles as I massaged the skin of the painting to a luscious eggshell luster.

Two days before delivery I packed the canvases for transport. We’d be hauling them in the back of TAC’s enclosed pickup truck with layers of blankets to cushion them. Although they’d be traveling only 12 miles, I packed them as though for a cross-country journey.

At 9:00am Tuesday, March 1st, TAC and his installation assistant showed up at my door, and by 10:00 we were unloading the Very Large Triptych at RAS’ Las Campanas home. While I worked in the front hall to unpack the canvases, TAC and his buddy focused on moving furniture to make way for ladders. Finally, once all three canvases were unwrapped and lined-up in the correct order, I allowed RAS to enter the hallway and view their Very Large Triptych. This was their first time seeing the actual painting, and would be their only chance to look at the canvases up close. For once the Very Large Triptych was high on the wall, it would be out of reach. With palpable excitement RAS studied the canvases carefully, intrigued by the paint layers and brushstrokes. I pointed out that that I’d essentially painted for them a self-portrait [Sunrise = DAWN!]. Fortunately for them they’d have to endure my sense of humor for just an hour or two longer.

Artist Dawn Chandler's Very Large Triptych 'Sangre de Cristo Sunrise - Peaceful Magnificence' wrapped for transport and ready to be delivered.

TAC then moved into action, focusing first on the center panel, while RAS and I conversed in the kitchen. Once the central panel was hung, TAC called us in to check the placement. I suggested raising it just a few more inches, but beyond that it was perfect. RAS and I retreated back to the kitchen so as not to distract our ace installation crew.

As RAS and I stood in the kitchen sipping coffee, I noticed and asked about a a shiny new grill on the patio. “We used it last night — made a whole bunch of pork ribs! In fact, we made far more than we’ll ever eat in a day. Hey! You should take them! Do you eat meat?”
I thought for a moment. The truth is, being plant-based I almost never eat meat anymore. And yet…
“I do when it’s a gift!”
“Great! Don’t let us forget to send them home with you!”

A little while later TAC called us into the living room.

There it was.
After fourteen months of being consumed with this project, the Very Large Triptych was finally on the wall:


BEFORE - The wall in the home at Los Campanas, Santa Fe, where Dawn Chandler's Very Large Triptych was to be installed.


AFTER - Dawn Chandler's Very Large Triptych  painting, Sangre de Cristo Sunrise ~ Peaceful Magnificence, installed in its forever home in Los Campanas, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sangre de Cristo Sunrise ~ Peaceful Magnificence finally installed on the wall.

My worries had been for naught: The triptych fit perfectly on the wall. The canvases laid flat. And high up on the wall, the painting looked even better than I’d hoped.

After rounds of joyful exclamations and high-fives, I pulled out of my bag the final tool for the project: My trusty red button. I placed it on the coffee table and slammed my hand down on it, it’s robotic voice echoing through the room

[click image below to hear it 😆]

“That was easy!”

Later that night, with my fingers sticky with barbecue sauce, I received a message and photo from RAS:

“We are… basking in the glow of “Sangre de Cristo Sunrise ~ Peaceful Magnificence.” If you zoom into the photos you will see the most happy reflections of the vista in all of the windows. It wraps almost the entire room. Everyone around the dining table will have a splendid view of your creation no matter where they sit! We are ENTHRALLED with the triptych! I’m sure it will be the topic of conversation for all who come to our home. It enlivens the space immeasurably and brings such a tremendous amount of joy to gaze at it. Thank you so much for creating it and sharing your gift of art with us. I’ll always marvel at how you did it.”

Dawn Chandler's Very Large Triptych  painting, Sangre de Cristo Sunrise ~ Peaceful Magnificence, reflected in the windows in its forever home in Los Campanas, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

And with that I licked barbecue sauce from my fingers, looked at the three huge empty easels in the center of my home and wondered…

What next?!

Dawn Chandler's Very Large Triptych painting, Sangre de Cristo Sunrise ~ Peaceful Magnificence, oil on panel, 45" x 162"

Sangre de Cristo Sunrise ~ Peaceful Magnificence ~ by Dawn Chandler
oil on canvas (triptych) ~ 45″ x 162″
~ private collection

This is part eight 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

Thanks for finding your way here and for reading my musings. If you think others might appreciate them, feel free to share this post. If you’d like to read more of my musings please consider subscribing to this, my blog.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website Shop my art via my Etsy shop. And please consider joining me for TuesdayDawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity. Find other ways to keep tabs on me via my connect page.

Stay safe. Be kind. Notice what you notice.

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

Free from social media since 2020