Tuesday, April 9, 2024


WORD PAINTINGS  # 142 (How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life) - GUATEMALA PART III - CIVIL WAR

The pace of this trip was exhausting.  Prior to heading for the Friday Market in Solola and Lake Atitlan we had spent a night at Posada de Belen.  Damp dark sleeping room - the courtyard where Sister Ortiz had been kidnapped - my first hint that this was far more than a photo trip for paintings.  This was my Awakening to a world reality darker than anything I ever imagined...yet determined to hang onto that hazy state of blissful ignorance.....

THE CHINESE MONEY CHANGER: Anticipating some purchases at the Friday market in Solola, I changed my dollars into quetzals at the bank.  Great excitement as we boarded the bus...included in this leg of our adventure was a boat trip across Lake Atitlan to the small village of Santiago Atitlan.  Upon arriving at our new destination, the bus emptied out to make a stop at the Chinese money changer.  I could see him from the open front door. A small man sitting at a large desk under a bright overhead lamp hunched next to a pile of money. My impression was that of an old Humphrey Bogart movie with Sydney Greenstreet.  The bus driver had parked across the street close to an adobe building.  Sitting at the right window seat next to the wall outside, I prepared for a little much needed quiet time. I had the strange feeling of being watched. When I looked up two men with machine guns pointed at the door across the street were staring at me from the roof of the building above.  The barrels of the guns were long and menacing as were the men's stares. Holy St. Christopher! This trip just got very serious!  Without a glance at the guns pointed directly at them, our group clutched their wallets and purses, reboarded the bus and we were on our way....this was no movie!

FRIDAY MARKET - SOLOLA: Bedazzled by the colors - the "traje" - huipils, loom-woven sashes and headbands - individual works of art. And, oh, the "gente" -the Maya are beautiful people!  Baskets and baskets of tomatoes, onions, peppers - a low hum of conversation as people strolled among the vendoras' baskets and made their purchases.                            


SANTIAGO ATITLAN - Time to find the boat launch for the crossing of Lake Atitlan (the place where the rainbow gets its colors). An incredibly beautiful volcanic lake, set 1,500 meters above sea level and reaching a depth of 341 meters - making it the deepest lake in Central America. It's a true marvel that was formed 84,000 years ago due to a volcanic eruption.  According to the boatman, timing was all important to cross the lake, make a brief visit the village across the lake and make the return trip before the winds and the waves whipped up later that afternoon.

As we began our walk through the village, young girls were seated at their hand looms weaving colorful belts. Across the square there was a long building. Many women sat under the portal selling whatever they could - housewares, weavings - in order to support their families.  It was call "Mercado de las Viudas" (the Widow's Market). 

 "ON 2 DECEMBER 1990, the Guatemalan Army opened automatic weapons fire on an unarmed crowd of between 2,000 and 4,000 Tzutujil Mayas from the town of Santiago Atitlan in highland Guatemala, about 100 miles west of the capital. Fourteen people, ranging in age from 10 to 53, were killed; another 21 were wounded." The return trip across the lake was a very sad and choppy ride.  Unforgettable.

TIKAL AND THE CLOUD FOREST -- Our group of  sweaty Americans finally awakened  to  the undercurrent of  danger as the warnings of the trip to Peten became quite serious -  some abductions and robberies along the highway.  Concerned about their safety several surrounded our very patient bus driver asking him questions he would not or could not answer.  It was obvious their questions caused him fear. He had good reason to be afraid in case there were "orejas" or "ears" listening to him. There could be consequences. 

Tikal is a complex of Mayan ruins deep in the rainforests of northern Guatemala. Historians believe that the more than 3,000 structures on the site are the remains of a Mayan city called Yax Mutal, which was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient empire.  It is believed that people lived at Tikal as far back as 1000 B.C. Archeologists have found evidence of agricultural activity at the site dating to that time, as well as remnants of ceramics dating to 700 B.C.  Guided by their religious rituals, the Maya made significant advances in mathematics and astronomy, including the use of the zero and the development of complex calendar systems.

The ruins were quiet that day - not many tourists. We climbed up through stairs to a high platform that overlooked the plaza and many standing monuments. Too crowded for me. Again I broke off from the group to wander, I wanted to feel this place. Did this earth hold its memories - history of great wars, violent ball games?   Eventually I sat on the grass next to one of the memorial stones lining the path to the stairs of the pyramid - alone. Imagining the pageantry - the many kings and queens memorialized in carvings on now rugged walls and many stelae.  Although impressed by the height and grandeur of the building, it was the earth, the ground beneath that vibrated with the lives of the ancient Maya who created this thriving civilization two thousand years ago.

After the tour of the pyramid plaza and the ball court, we were pointed toward a tree-lined entrance that led into the jungle - a cloud forest.  Howler monkeys screeched, toucans squawked, and we were on notice to be aware of the beautiful bird called the quetzal.  A wide path led deeper into the forest and all our eyes were on the canopy, amateur birdwatchers for the day. Although I never saw the mythical quetzal, I knew where it lived and heard the sound of its call.  Myth and magic all in one spectacular day!  

To be continued.... (The Incident at Copan)  


Saturday, March 30, 2024



 "A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep".  Remembering that day in 1956 when teachers Ms. Schaefer and Ms. Flynn regaled my Spanish class with colorful stories of their trip to Guatemala. Their excitement about spending Easter Sunday in an exotic-sounding place called Chichicastenango was joyful!!! Chills, goosebumps, their excitement was contagious! I said the strange name to myself over and over  "Chichicastenango"  - it needed to be tucked away - never forgotten.  Thirty-five years of  life passed....children, marriages, divorces, recovery. It was possible that our move from Chicago to the alien planet of Santa Fe, New Mexico, trips to Mexico - my life on the horse ranch in Truchas was as far as I would go. There would be no more surprises.   No time for my Dreams of Distant Places!  The name was almost lost to me until that morning in my Taos studio when I heard it again on the radio ad.  Shivers of anticipation. Nothing was holding me back (except for my agoraphobia). Excitement. Yes indeed, my much younger self jumped for pure joy. 

1991 - Walking through the plaza of Chichicastenango on Easter Sunday morning!!! Brilliant colors, clouds of incense, firecrackers -wonderful heart-stopping chaos! Christ is risen.   I couldn't breathe! I couldn't hold enough of the experience in my body. Noise, crowds of strangers , I was transported - five feet off the ground - having the most amazing experience of my life!!!!  A dream fulfilled! Following the cobblestone paths wherever they led I had a day full of adventure.Vendors with their bright weavings propped up on poles leaning against the walls of the houses lining the streets.   Some of the huipils still had a sweet smell of smoke - they had been woven on looms next to their home fires.  Food stalls, jewelry, pottery it was the best fiesta - a celebration of Life!  

The Cofradia processed to the Iglesia of Santo Tomas. Solemn. All my young girl Catholicism rushed back to life.  How much of their ancient religion was still there, covered by the pomp of these more modern rituals?  Their strong faces mirrored the sculptures in a museum we visited - in  Tikal and Copan. The Mayan culture that had "disappeared" was living and breathing right before my eyes.  The wonder and the mystery is still there.  Their culture survives in secret places - private rituals - heart prayers.  This might seem heretical to both cultures, but I have an idea that their ancient gods and our not so ancient saints are somehow all connected.  It is quite possible we all pray to the same God.

For most of my adult life I had been asleep to the ways of the world....until  Guatemala! Easter Sunday was only the beginning...... 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024



February 1991 - .While painting my Taos studio and listening to Joseph the Starwatcher's astrological forecast  one snowy January morning,  I heard an ad from the Center for Anthropological Studies announcing a group trip through Guatemala.  Having just sold a large canvas at my Santa Fe gallery, I thought "Eureka! my chance to get some good photographs for a new series of paintings!!! Inspired by Clark Hulings paintings of Mexico, this could be my ticket! Enamored by George Carlson's Tarahumara pastels, the fantastic work of Elias Rivera and Ramon Kelley's wonderful Mexican portraits, I was inspired to go to Guatemala.   The joke in all of this is that I am and always have been severely agoraphobic! What was I thinking?   Deciding to put it all on the line, I signed up and put my money down. Away I go!!!!

The tour was sponsored by an archaeologist and his wife from Albuquerque and led by an expert guide from Arizona. I missed the evening orientation because of the two hour night drive from Taos and figured it was no big deal. Thus everything I experienced in Guatemala came as a total surprise!  Our group assembled at the airport. My bags were packed and I was headed into the Great Unknown!  Buen Viajae!!!!

The airport in Guatemala City was dark and very dreary. Two men with machine guns stood at attention as we passed through, their eyes sharply focused on each and every one of us.  The money changer, protected by a bank-teller's type cage, was not at all friendly to a bunch of noisy Americans. Entering our hotel that first night we were again greeted by men with AK47s standing at the entrance.  Shock and Awe - my first clue that this trip for some photos might be quite an intense experience! Hah! What an understatement!  It would be life-changing!  Tremendous street noise from the traffic below my room and slight trepidation of my great adventure kept me awake that whole night.

A blessing ritual by a local shaman in who was celebrating his sobriety.  Circling a small fire, he said quiet  prayers to his ancient gods and poured a bottle of whiskey into the flames.  Six years into my own recovery, I was overwhelmed and gave him a hug.  My group buddies stared in disbelief through the bus windows.  Think I might have been inappropriate.  A long day of visiting sites with huge carved stone Olmec-inspired heads.  Have always felt that these heads in Central America originated from some ancient African culture - early explorers.  A small local "zoo" of four or five emaciated critters gave a first hint that Guatemala was not just an ordinary photo trip! 

Back to Guatemala City and the first market on our tour.  I took my a few photos in this strange place. Beyond excited by the colors I imagined these images filling all the blank canvases in my studio once back in Taos. We were warned that if we gave one child with their hand out, we would be swarmed by many more.  A very young girl came up to me with a small child who definitely looked as though he was dying. She said he was her baby brother and held out her little hand for a quetzal. Because of our strict warning, I refused.  Her desperation still haunts me. I know why families cross the Rio Grande!

The Procession on Good Friday shattered all my illusions about this trip. My head was still in that dreamy slowness of Taos.  Alfombras, colorful carpets of sawdust and flowers lined the streets. Huge crowds lined the cobblestone streets.  Heavy clouds of incense, strange and slow music could be heard in the distance with the heavy regular beat of a drum - a slow and heart stirring dirge.  The crowds parted to make way for the very long and heavy "anda". Eighty to 100 men dressed in purple satin robes and white gloves carried the float on their shoulders supporting a life-sized statue of Christ carrying His cross to Gethsemane. A wagon with the musicians playing the dirge followed behind. Another  much smaller anda followed carried by women in black.  They carried impressive statue of Mary robed in black with a halo of silver stars.  That night many vigils and prayers in the cathedral.  

A long trip from Antigua to Zunil on Holy Saturday.  On the way many chilling stories about kidnappings and disappearances and dire warnings to never travel that road at night - another hint that this might not be a casual photo trip.  I really was clueless!  Cars and busses crowded the town square. Our bus was early and got solidly hemmed in with no escape until the end of the festivities. A brilliant white church in the distance silhouetted by a blue-black stormy sky.  A group of twenty to thirty women in red huipils sat together in front of the church.

Our bus emptied out and I chose to stay behind to photograph from inside the bus. In the distance s a group of women in traditional Mayan dress were in deep conversation - hand-woven huipils - deep purples and blue, magentas and brilliant reds.  With camera lens on zoom I focused on the group. A young girl turned around and saw me, I was caught.  At that moment I truly became an Ugly American!  She glowered menacingly and I motioned that I was putting my camera away.  Chastised and ashamed, I got off the bus and began to wander alone.  A stage was set up in the center of the square for the Passion Play.  Found myself in a little co-op store run by local women to sell their weavings.  Was proudly able to use some broken Spanish and asked the ladies about their work. Their pride in their creativity and their community was a ray of sunshine
Soon the sweet smell of incense.... drums, flutes and men in back robes with tall ceremonial hats marched down a steep hill. The high priests of Zunil made their entrance!  Some carried matracas, large window shaped rattles. An eerie combination of noises....the actors assembled on the stage and the villagers played their parts soulfully. We headed back to Antigua before dark.  Was slowly waking to reality - this other world was definitely not the Land of Oz!

A couple of nights at Posada de Belen. Dampness - darkened mood - stories told and passed around about Sister Dianna Ortiz, a young nun from New Mexico who was kidnapped from this very place about 18 months earlier. Her book detailing her capture is told in The Blindfold's Eyes. Reality began to poke through - this was really not what I expected! 
As an artist, I am less a participant and more of an observer. I see pictures, details and my senses had been awakened to this place after reading A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya by David Freidel and Linda Shele.  I needed to see the pyramids, those stelae - the trails of the ancient Maya!  I had to stand in those places!  Yes, I got what I wanted and more....much more than ever expected!!  Life changed me in ways I never saw coming!!  This was definitely no ordinary field trip!  TO BE CONTINUED - SEMANA SANTA PART II

Saturday, October 28, 2023


WORD PAINTINGS #139 (How I Came to New Mexico and Learned about Art and Life) A MAGPIE FUNERAL ON SANTISTEVAN LANE

29 October 2023 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) - 3AM Friday - Moonshadows on the wall in my bedroom - the Hunter's Moon.  Lifted the shade and the brilliant orb, low on the horizon over Tres Orejas,  shone directly in my line of vision! I said a little thanks and watched it disappear behind the mountains. Big smile all the way back to bed! Lovely!!

"Hunter's Moon (llano Quemado, N.M.

My all-time favorite TV series was, is and always will be Northern Exposure - adventures and misadventures of a tightly connected group of eccentrics in Cicely, Alaska.  The entire 6 seasons are now available on Amazon - with the original music! Am just finishing Season Four, cherishing each episode.  Darren Burrows plays Native American Ed Chigliak.  Earlier this month I was looking for a new movie and found an older and grayer Darren Burrows playing the lead in "A Magpie Funeral". Part of the story is that his father was a birdwatcher, but had never seen a Magpie funeral because it was very rare that humans could witness these beautiful birds crying in grief over one of their own.

Thirty years ago I rented a house on Santistevan Lane in Taos.  My art studio was in a the front of the house in a well-insulated converted garage. Through the warm months I would open the door to the sunny days and especially to hear the birds singing in my neighbor's apple tree. The workers at the end of our road had the bad habit of coming and  going at great speed. One of them hit and killed a magpie and it lay sad and alone  in the gutter near Mr. Romero's red fence.  There was a small bush next to the fence.  Went out and picked up the lifeless bird and laid him to rest under the chamisa. Soon witnessed a gathering of about ten magpies wailing and keening in the street as they hopped around their dead friend. Their grief was palpable. The sad ritual lasted for a few days until one day there was silence - their period of mourning was over.

Needless to say part of me changed forever after feeling the grief from this flock of mourners. Serious thoughts about life and death - my own mortality - when and how.  Most of all this crossing over from my human version of grief to witnessing the deep sorrow of birds!  If this was a rare experience, it was beyond magical. DC


Friday, September 29, 2023


WORD PAINTINGS #138  (How I Came to New Mexico and Learned about Art and Life)- METAMORPHOSIS .....
"Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life,the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate.' Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment--not discouragement--you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes." ~Joseph Campbell 
17 September 2023 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) - FIRST SNOW IN TRUCHAS

WORD PAINTINGS #138 (How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life) - Metamorphosis
29 September (Llano Quemado, N.M.) Full moon tonight - stirrings - almost time to begin my winter work.... hibernation....sanctuary.  Weatherman forecasts rain for several days - we need it. Some early snow on the mountains - Taos, Truchas, Red River.  A string of quiet days. 
Taos Pueblo will be open for San Geronimo Feast Day tomorrow - Runners to sacred Blue Lake - dances - the shift in energy is palpable.  Remembering the days when I first experienced the dances. What a thrill to feel the ground pulse with the drums and to see Corn Mother emerge leading her group of dancers!  Enchantment.
One September an unforgettable Feast Day at Acoma.  I climbed the ancient stone stairs up to the top of the mesa.  Met a wonderful pueblo Grandmother who taught me about the clans and the tablitas worn by the women dancers.  It was the day a new Governor of the Pueblo took office - and the some of the men dressed as emissaries from countries all over the world paid homage to the honoree.  They were funny - great joy and much laughter! A wonderful bowl of chile at one of the private homes.
Awe - amazement - life changing.....my heart opened.
Remembering my 44th birthday at the little cottage on the horse ranch in Truchas with friends and family.  That was the true beginning of my life in the mountains.  When I blew out the candles on my cake, my wish (hope) was to live another 44 years.  It seemed so ridiculous to plan so far ahead, but I had people to meet and things to do.  Well, I am four short years from that time now - and the best of my story is that I still have people to meet and paintings to paint.
Time to begin my winter work - still have several large canvases I want to complete.  They will be a challenge - am much slower now than I was at 44!  So much mystery to a blank canvas sitting on an easel in front of me.  Another empty-handed leap - so curious to see what happens....
 "Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!"  My heart is so full of everything all the disasters and the miracles large and small!  Loving my Fate that brought me to this moment 84 Septembers ago! What a wonderful time to be alive in this place! Grateful!

Footnote: "Some things are better left to chance - I might have missed the pain, but I'd have missed the dance" - Garth Brooks

Tuesday, September 5, 2023


WORD PAINTINGS #137 (How I Came to New Mexico and Learned About Art and Life) - SEPTEMBER SONG

                 SEPTEMBER SONG (Vadito, New Mexico) - http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-donna-clair.html?page=1

1 September 1939 - The infamous day in history when Hitler invaded Gdansk, Poland.  Joined Ancestry last year and found that many of my relatives were born and lived in that port city. Discovered that the first Nazi concentration camp was constructed in the surrounding forests - it was also the last to be demolished.. Childhood memories of my grandmother's screened porch in Chicago. A group of aunts and cousins packing large cartons of warm clothing to be sent to family in Poland.  My simple task was to stitch paper money into the hem of a large satin-lined black coat.  A few weeks later letters of thanks would arrive in Polish and then translated by my grandmother from her kitchen table.  After a time no more letters arrived. There was much conversation around the kitchen table in hushed Polish and then total silence. We didn't send anymore boxes.  I really don't know what happened, I was a young child. A larger contingent of my Polish family centered near the Ukranian border.

3 September 1939 - Being born into an incredibly dysfunctional family on this crucial and very important day in our country's history formed me in very profound ways.  More than six years of my life were all about The War - from beginning to end.  Every member of my family was affected by sad and intense life experiences. This was an extraordinary time! Some older members were still trying to recover from the Depression. Once War was declared they had to turn around and go into high gear to support our efforts to fight the Nazis. On the nights my brother and I stayed with my grandparents, Grampa Jim would tuck us in whispering "Remember - a slip of the lip could sink a ship". We didn't understand and the three of us laughed as if it was a joke.

Grampa Jim was our hero!   Working as a butcher at the Fulton Street Meat Market, he often provided a little extra in the way of meat that one couldn't buy with ration coupons.  There seemed never to be enough food. The women would often gather and trade coupons depending on their needs.  Jim rounded up my Dad, Uncle Roy and his brother.  They would fill a cooler with beer and head out to Lake Michigan to fish for perch and bluegills.  They cleaned the fish right at the lake, Grandma would spread newspapers on her kitchen table and start the Friday night Fish Fry!!!  Absolute joy in spite of the looming darkness. (Note: Word paintings #117 - A Candle for Grampa Jim - https://donnaclairwordpaintings.blogspot.com/2022/04/word-paintings-117-candle-for-grampa-jim.html)

Uncle Roy and Aunt Jeanette married just days before he was sent to fight. Their wedding photo shows the two of them so bright and young. He is in his uniform. He fought in Burma and Calcutta alongside a large company of British soldiers.  My Dad's tall and handsome brother Alvin was sent overseas and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Sometime after September 2, 1945 they returned, no longer fresh faced but sadly broken and worn.  Roy suffered night terrors and would think that his wife sleeping next to him was the enemy and would react violently.  We were not close to Uncle Al, but am certain it took the rest of his life to deal with what he experienced during combat.

My Dad suffered, too. He failed his medical examination because of a bad ear and could not serve.  I'm certain he felt a certain shame and loneliness when most conversation centered on the family and neighbors who were fighting overseas.  An envelope came for him one day and enclosed was a white feather - the sign for cowardice.  He became broken in his own way.

On VJ Day there was a great celebration on the porch of our house on Whipple Street.  The Nazis were vanquished, Japan signed the treaty, the Great War was over - everyone rejoiced and got really drunk!  Our men came home to lives they no longer recognized.  Nothing could replace the time they lost.  They had done their jobs so bravely but being conquering heroes only lasted a short time before they had to begin to rebuild their lives. And there were those who never came home. One family on our street displayed small white satin flag with gold fringe in their front window. Centered on the flag were four gold stars....their boys were lost in combat.  When passing their house, we purposely averted our eyes and walked a little faster. Their grief was palpable.

On September 3rd 1939 my mother took an elevator to the Maternity Ward in Cook County Hospital thinking that my father would soon be sent to fight.  Those feelings lasted all through my early childhood.  Their fears became mine and the shadows have lasted a lifetime. 

It makes me cry when I think of all those we lost "winning" WWII.  It makes me angry and very sad to see bright young men wearing khakis marching with swaztikas and tiki torches yelling "Jews will not replace us!" What is wrong with these people??? What is wrong is that they didn't live through any war, they just want to create one! They are too young to know the reality of a real War! Their grandparents died never telling their stories!

We walk and talk and live our long lives unaware of how our early life experiences shaped us.  Out there somewhere are still many people who lived during that time.  We need to remember! We need to tell or stories.... 


Saturday, August 26, 2023



WORD PAINTINGS # 136 (How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Life and Art)

 28 August 2023 - Art Gods and Life Arrows ! Reunion! How amazing that this image came back into my life after I saw the original painting for first time over sixty years ago!  Looked for it everywhere, but mistakenly attributed it to an Italian painter named Mantegna. Last month a Facebook friend who works at the Amsterdam Museum posted a Mantegna and I sent her a query about this painting. She is an amazing art resource and found this photo the same day even though it had been painted by an artist named Rimpata! 

During the early '60s I worked as a secretary for Holiday Magazine on the 23rd Floor of the Prudential Building.  The Chicago Art Institute was only blocks away from the office and I spent many, many lunch hours looking at paintings....Impressionists, the Orientalists and Renaissance rooms. This image still takes my breath away!  Stopped in my tracks I sat in front of it for hours studying the magnificent pattern of light on the figures.  With all my heart I wanted to be a "real" painter. This piece enthralled and humbled me at the same time because it showed me the obvious - I was very young and I didn't even know what I didn't know!  

Signed up for night classes in the basement of the Institute.  Bought a portfolio and large newsprint pad - some charcoal and a kneaded eraser.  The fumes of oil paints, turpentine and linseed oil in those hallways gave me so much joy! I wanted to live in that place. After several "lessons" it became clear that my teacher had no idea of what I needed from him.  He kept telling us to BE FREE! What the hell did that mean? Not knowing where to begin - unaware of even the basics that underlie a finished painting, I was a blank canvas.  He was a beatnik and this was his night job and he was not at all inspiring!  Picked up my portfolio before the end of the semester and walked out - a little sad, but still determined to find My Way!

Put my portfolio together and sent in my application to be a full-time student at the school. One of about 4000 applicants only 600 hundred were accepted!  Full tuition needed to be paid the first year and  applications for grants and scholarships would be determined the second year of study. I was accepted as a  first year student.  Asked my father to forego the financial help I was giving them so I could pay my tuition.  Even today I can still feel him standing over me and barking "No daughter of mine will ever be an artist!!!" I was determined to find a way out. 

Painting is a craft - a puzzle and it takes a whole lifetime to fit the pieces together. These figures in this great work were composed on a very large well-prepared canvas (how do you prepare a canvas?) and the lights and shadows tell the story of the importance of the figures.  I later learned about "glazing" but that word did not exist in my art vocabulary! 

This painting still resides at the Art Institute. In a way it was good that I never really made it to art school. My path of learning took me to Santa Fe, Truchas, Taos, Guatemala - many years and many adventures!  Who knew? Expressing my gratitude to Signor Rimpata (my first Art God) and my kind friend in Amsterdam.  What I didn't know about painting then has taken me a lifetime of searching and learning - and several thousand paintings later there is still so much to learn - one day at a time. DC


WORD PAINTINGS  # 142 (How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life) - GUATEMALA PART III - CIVIL WAR The pace of this trip was e...