The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Lynn Hartenberger in her Placitas art studio

Lynn Hartenberger in her Placitas art studio

Detail of Angel in the Sunshine, pastel, by Lynn Hartenberger

Detail of Angel in the Sunshine, pastel, by Lynn Hartenberger


The truth and beauty of things

Bill Diven

If the art looks good enough to eat, ask the artist about her shopping habits.

“You’ll see me going up the produce aisle at the grocery store picking out the perfect pomegranate,” Lynn Hartenberger said. The result is classic pastel, a still life often involving fruit, vegetables, or flowers.

“It’s very traditional,” the Signpost Artist of the Month added. “People seem to respond to it.”

And so do juries who accepted her work into the recent New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair, the Placitas Holiday Show, the Masterworks of New Mexico exhibit, and other events. The public response to her work can be measured in increasing sales, including twelve paintings during the arts fair, she said.

Hartenberger comes to art with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s in electrical engineering. She found time to study art history and take a studio class in college and contends art and math aren’t that far apart.

“Math is about truth and logic,” she said, “and art, in my view, is about truth and the beauty of things.”

After teaching briefly at the University of New Mexico in the early 1980s, Hartenberger settled into full-time motherhood, home schooling five children and helping her husband John run his home-building business. About eight years ago pastels became a passion in part because, unlike oil painting, unfinished work doesn’t dry out when family matters take priority.

She credits much of her development to her father, a nuclear physicist, who taught her to look for detail when she was painting as a child. Fire isn’t just orange, he showed her, but has blue in the middle.

His taking a job at Sandia National Laboratories led her to leave New Jersey for graduate school in the artistic atmosphere of New Mexico. Joining the New Mexico Pastel Society also has provided support and encouragement, she said.

“There’s art everywhere; that’s different from the rest of the country,” Hartenberger said. “Plus the sky is like no other place—the sunsets, the clear light.

“New Mexico is made for artists.”

Typical of her work is Penchant for Pomegranates, which began as a sheet of rough paper toned blue-gray and designed for pastels. From there, glancing at items arranged on a shelf in her studio, she sketches the main features using hard pastels.

“Then I start working on the focal point and work out with soft pastels,” she said. “The pleasure of pastels is in the vibrancy of painting with pure pigment,” she added.

Hartenberger is not showing in galleries, although a few of her pieces hang in Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos. A sample of her work can be seen on the Signpost Web site at The Featured Artist Gallery. Click on Featured Artist of the Month.

Her paintings also can be seen by appointment by contacting Lynnie Bug Studios at 867-4657.


Melodrama actors from The Engine House Theatre

Marshmallows and melodrama in Madrid

Lois Nethery

Feeling depressed? Feeling rage? Want to throw things? Take a drive and head for The Engine House Theatre in the Old Coal Mine Museum in Madrid, New Mexico, on the Turquoise Trail.

You can work out your emotional problems while being entertained by a company of actors performing in a medium that is a direct reflection of American society and national character: melodrama. Just as jazz is an American original, melodrama is the grassroots theater out of which grew the mainstream of serious American drama. Melodrama is a mixture of reality and romance that embodies ‘the flower of the ideal.’

You can cheer, applaud, hiss, boo, stamp your feet, whistle, sob, gasp, and best of all, throw marshmallows (provided with your ticket) at the villain.

The production playing through August 22 is The Orphan Girl of Golden or The City Slickers Complaint, written by Laine Conway, a resident of Albuquerque. The third and final production, Brigands of the Salty Dog or I’ll Keep a Light Burning for You, runs from August 28 through October 11. Performances in this historic space are staged Saturdays at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors, and $5 for children under twelve. Preferred seating or seats in “easy marshmallow reach” cost $2 more. Call (505) 438-3780 for tickets and information.

The Engine House Theatre has been staging melodrama for twenty-two years and may well be the only theater in the world with a full-size steam engine nosing onto the stage. Be sure to Include this fun experience as you travel the Turquoise Trail.

Daniel C. Gerould, the editor of American Melodrama, says, “Naively optimistic, unscarred by any tragic awareness of man’s limitations, the melodrama nurtures a faith in human equality, the power of innocence, the triumph of justice.”


August at Arte Loca Gallery

Arte Loca Gallery will have an opening reception on Saturday, August 28, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. for Albuquerque artist Dianne Schlies. Diane's paintings and mixed-media works will be on display from August 29 to October 7.

Dianne, an art instructor at TVI, explains that her pieces are abstracted from the world around her. She adds, "In my work, figurative elements play key roles in color-interactive fields, with supporting motifs."

Also during the month, on August 10, at 7:00 p.m., Bret Aaker and Paul Jenks will talk about their work that is currently on exhibit at the gallery. The talk, which art dealer Alvaro Enciso says is an introduction to "twisted art," is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited, so anyone interested in attending should call the gallery at 771-8097 for reservations.

On August 21, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Paul Jenks, who is also an art therapist, will teach a workshop on how to create your own art (assemblages, metal books, shrines, etc.) using found objects. No art experience is needed. The cost of the workshop is $40. You may register by visiting the gallery or by calling 771-8097. You may also register on-line at

Arte Loca Gallery is at 282 Camino del Pueblo and open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and by appointment.


Interlibrary loans available at new Placitas Community Library

Sue and Rich Strasia

We are happy to announce that we are now hooked up to the interlibrary loan system with the New Mexico State Library in Santa Fe. Any book from around the nation that is part of this program can be accessed by this system.

New donations to the Placitas Library include a talking globe, the New York Times, Norton Anti-virus, an aerial map of Placitas, and a copier. Copies are only ten cents each. We have a wish list in the library and it includes a good vacuum cleaner, feather duster, and volunteers to do cleaning and pull weeds. Everyone is welcome to just show up if you are willing to work and bring your tools and equipment with you.

Did you get a chance to see our float in the Placitas 4th of July Parade? Joe Gonzales was our guest of honor, seated in the grand-master storyteller’s reading chair.

Our summer reading program for beginning readers is well underway with lots of fun activities for young folk to get a taste of what reading is all about. There is no cost, and kids are welcome to join in any Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Next on our agenda is to host a congressional delegation tour so that our representatives can get an idea of where Placitas is located and help us in gaining funding for the library. The tour is scheduled for August 12 at 9:00 a.m. A briefing hosted at La Puerta Real Estate Services office will be followed by a general tour of Placitas, our library, and possible places where our new library might be located.

The results of the site survey have been tabulated and the winner is the fire station, with the Merc a close second. The library board decided to prioritize each location and gave the go-ahead to try for a brand-new site that just came to their attention: the old door-company place on Doorco road. It’s a couple of houses behind where the library sits today but the building is there and while it is on the market, the library board decided to follow up on this site first. We are looking into leasing the extra rooms for office space to help with the mortgage. So, as a show of good faith, we need to see how much you all are willing to support our library. Now is the time to send those precious dollars our way to buy the door company building, and if someone gets there first, then all funding will be applied to our next choice, west of the fire station.

If we can show the initiative to raise funds for a library on our own, then other sources will tend to step forward and pitch in too. We contacted our state representative, Kent Cravens, who thought the library a wonderful project and promised to ask for legislative funding next session. Our entire five-person congressional delegation has now approved support of our library as well and has referred us to their research associate, who is now helping us to find funding sources.

The really good news is that we are being recognized as a library and will be on the 2006 bond issue when it comes to vote for funding libraries in Sandoval County.

It’s time to call the Friends of the Library together to put a fund-raising action plan in place. Heading this committee is Margaret Palumbo, our new board member. Margaret is stepping in for Beverly Vincent, to whom we send our best wishes and thanks for all of her support in standing up as a library board member in spite of her family health concerns.

If you want to join the Friends of the Library group or if you have any questions, call us at 867-002, 934-1286 or visit our Website




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