I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking out the three picture windows facing my bald-topped mountain, still covered in snow. Nearly forty minutes now, I’ve been watching three jack-rabbits chase each other across the rising hill, under short trees and between iced-over cacti. They remind me of the packs of city rabbits that emerged early each morning in the yards of the south St. Louis suburbs I briefly inhabited before diving head-first into my two-year inner-city house restoration. I never questioned where they came from, but I certainly missed them, once I left the quieter suburbs for the more busy and polluted city.
The rabbits draw-out my sense of wonder and I find myself thinking back to why I originally left Montana for this high desert mountain range called the Sangre de Cristos or “Christ’s Blood” mountains. Part of my relocation can be blamed on the call of the southern art market in New Mexico’s capital city, while the rest might very well be placed on a magazine and my own sense of vanishing invincibility. Though I am not a fan of genre-based arts periodicals, such as American Artist, Wildlife Art or the Artist’s Magazine; I am occasionally drawn to sections of Southwest Art Magazine. One feature of the periodical that particularly flagged my interest while still living in Montana was the annual “21 under 31” – the magazine editor’s selection of the top 21 artists 31 years and under residing in the western United States. I read that and felt, or rather... I knew I needed to leave. At the time I left Montana, I was closing-in on my thirtieth birthday and feeling the pinch of lost youth.
This morning, I turned thirty-two while looking out across my mountain and wondering if I should spend the day playing in the snow with my children, like the hares; or working in the studio. I was never featured in Southwest Art. I don’t know if it would have had much impact on my career, if I had been listed. Their market really isn’t my typical audience. As far as my age – like everything else, age is what you make of it. I have a good life, a loyal family and I’m a damn good painter. I live an enviable life, what else could I ask for? – DN