Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


De Profundis

De Profundis to perform in Placitas

On Sunday, December 6, The Placitas Artists Series will present de Profundis—a thirteen-member Albuquerque-based men’s a cappella ensemble. The group was founded in 1994 by current artistic director, David Poole. In the intervening years, the group has evolved a repertoire ranging from Gregorian Chant to folk songs to new works, including premieres of pieces commissioned by the ensemble from eminent composers.

According to the group’s Statement of Purpose, “‘De Profundis’ is a Latin phrase that translates, ‘out of the deep.’ The group is founded upon the conviction that in making music together, we find not only intellectual challenge but nourishment as well for our souls. We would strive, therefore, for musical excellence. We would prosper as persons and as a fellowship. We would plumb the depths both of our music and of ourselves, bringing to light that which may be truly profound.”

Reviewed often in the local press, de Profundis has been praised for its “rich, resonant tones,” “finely-shaded phrasing,” “subtlety and elegance,” and “refinement . . . unearthly.” In addition to its own concert series, de Profundis has been featured in programs of the Placitas Artists Series, the Corrales Cultural Arts Series, the Cibola County Arts Series, and Chamber Music Albuquerque. Highlights have included collaborations with composer/conductor Alice Parker and jazz legend Dave Brubeck.

De Profundis includes: Tenor I: Dave Bailey, Greg Haschke, Ken Lienemann; Tenor II: John Berry, Omar Durant, William (Bill) Foote, Edward Seymour; Bass I: Bruce Castle, Michael Finnegan, Dominic Kollasch; Bass II: Jon M. Aase, Ed Fancovic, Roy Morgan, and director David Poole.

The concert is generously sponsored by Comcast.

Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for November exhibiting visual artists Lisa Chernoff, Woody Duncan, Leila Hall, and Molly Hyde.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on December 6 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; the artists’ reception begins at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas; at Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza in Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible, and free childcare is provided for families with children under six. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). For more information, please call 867-8080.

Author Vaunda Nelson to speak in Rio Rancho

New Mexico children’s author and librarian Vaunda Micheaux Nelson will autograph her two new books at Hastings in Rio Rancho on December 5 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

In Who Will I Be, Lord? a young girl thoughtfully considers her family tree and the vibrant ancestors who populate it. As each family member’s story is revealed, the main character’s quiet meditation about what kind of person she will be when she grows up transforms into a testament to the importance of sharing family stories.

Nelson’s other book, Bad News for Outlaws: the Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, reveals the story of an amazing African American hero of the Old West.

Placitas Artists Series presents December artists

On Sunday, December 6, The Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Lisa Chernoff, Woody Duncan, Leila Hall, and Molly Hyde with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The works will be on display from the first Saturday of the month of December through the first Friday of January.

Lisa Chernoff is a native of New Mexico living in Placitas. In 1992, Chernoff returned to her love of working in clay, both wheel throwing and hand building. In 1997, she began to experiment with fusing found scrap glass with her clay firings. The results were usually disappointing but often enough very interesting. As she learned more about the properties of glass, she made the transition to working with glass exclusively. An award-winning artist, Chernoff currently focuses on large wall and table sculptures and very large bowls, but continues to create wall hangings, smaller bowls, and formal and casual jewelry for men and women. Her work is sold in galleries nationally.

Woody Duncan is a retired middle school art teacher from Kansas who moved to Albuquerque four years ago. He and his wife Frani have two sons, six grandchildren (including triplets), and three great-grandsons. Frani makes quilts and Woody paints watercolors. He volunteers as a docent at the Albuquerque Museum. Woody’s team of docents give tours for school children twice each month. Duncan is currently president of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and has been in several juried exhibitions since moving to Albuquerque. He also presents workshops for art teachers at state and national conferences. Since 1985, he has been driving from Kansas to Taos to paint his watercolors. He loves painting the magical light bouncing off the walls of crumbling adobe churches in New Mexico. But most of all, he loves doing watercolors of his triplet grandchildren.

After a childhood in New England and some ensuing years in California, Leila Hall moved with her husband to New Mexico in 1987. She spent her childhood and adolescence in drawing classes and studied under Phil Dike and Paul Darrow at Scripps College in southern California, where she earned a BA in Philosophy. Recent workshops have been with Deborah Christiansen Secor and Paul Murray. Hall has exhibited in many shows, including a solo show at the Studio 5 Gallery in Santa Cruz, California; the Pastel Society of New Mexico National Show; and the Masterworks of New Mexico Miniatures. Her awards include First Place and Honorable Mention, Miniature Pastel, 2006 Masterworks Show; Second Place, Miniature Pastel, 2005 Masterworks Show; Second Place, Miniature Pastel, 2004 Masterworks Show; and First Place, pastel, Non-professional—1996 New Mexico State Fair. Hall comments that, since retiring, she is trying to paint all the pictures she has had stored in her head for the last twenty-five years. At present, she finds architectural views and contrasts of light and shade to be her main focus with pastels her medium of choice for exploring them.

Molly Hyde professes to be a rather impatient person, so she paints in a rush. This is a good quality for a plein air painter as the sun and shadows shift from minute to minute, but not so good if you’re truly studying a subject. She is absolutely thrilled by the natural beauty of our world. After adjusting to New Mexico (having lived in New England), she is smitten by the cool grey-greens and warm mesa walls of the Southwest. To strengthen her landscape work, she has been studying still life. She says, “This world of slow painting and meditative investigation has opened up a world of beautiful small things at close range.”

Log-on to to preview the artists work.

Corrales Historical Society presents twenty-first annual Fine Crafts Show

Corrales Historical Society’s Visual Arts Council is proud to present the 2009 Fine Crafts Show on December 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., December 5 from 10:00 to 8:00 p.m., and December 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., set in the beauty of the Old San Ysidro Church.

This year’s show includes traditional and contemporary artists who will showcase a wide array of art forms. Included are stained and etched glass, fabric art, dyed and painted silks, weavings, jewelry, traditional New Mexican art and pottery, contemporary Native American pottery, wood carvings and bowls, decorative eggs, folk art, pen and ink on sandstone, geodes and rocks, cut paper, painted punched tin, dried natural arrangements, homemade jams and jellies, Corrales Historical Society books, key rings, necklaces, retablos, and more.

C. Michael Coleman

"Body, Mind and Soul"

c. Michael Coleman

“Fall Bosque Reflections"

The Gate

“The Gate”

Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman in his garage studio. For more examples of Michael Coleman's work, please visit

Lifelong passion draws Coleman forward

—Keiko Ohnuma, Signpost

Michael Coleman says he was not a born artist, but the kind that is made. And his story reveals just what it takes to make an artist from scratch: passion, a lifetime of energy, and never being comfortable with just being comfortable.

At fifty-four, Coleman has painted and drawn in every medium there is. His garage studio is stacked with artwork that fills drawers, shelves, boxes, and covers the walls: figures, landscapes, abstraction, geometric studies. But it was his best friend back in Kansas City who had natural talent, he says, not him. “I just loved it. I had a passion.”

Obviously, he still does.

But Coleman, like so many artists, has devoted much of his energy to finding ways to make a living and raise a family so he could squeeze in a little time to paint. Currently he is the art teacher at Bernalillo Middle School; before that he taught six years at Bernalillo High, where he led the kids in painting the fifteen-foot Spartan mural in the gym. Before teaching, he had careers in illustration, mural painting, graphic design, and drafting.

That makes him a natural choice to collaborate on the next phase of the mosaic wildlife mural that is slowly covering the walls of the Placitas Recycling Center. Eighth-graders in Coleman’s Advanced Art class will make the next mosaic panel—which means not only making tiles, as kids have done in the past, but planning and designing the mosaic from scratch.

The choice of Coleman was purely a stroke of luck. The mural planners were just looking for an interested art teacher, and Coleman jumped at the suggestion because he has vast experience with public murals. He still lingers on memories from his favorite career, the decade he spent in the late 1990s with the Albuquerque sign company Opp Art, which has since moved to Louisiana.

Together with owner Chris Opp and Corrales muralist Pietro Palladini, Coleman worked on fantastic interiors around the country, at casinos, theme parks, and restaurants. Opp Art specialized in themed sets and faux finish, and worked locally on the Route 66 Casino, Sandiago’s Mexican Grill at the tram, and Scarpa’s restaurant.

His magnum opus was the $20 million Imus Ranch, a camp for children with cancer about fifty miles southeast of Santa Fe. As project manager, Coleman lived on site weekdays for the better part of two years, converting some seventeen plain buildings on the four-thousand-acre property into a Western town to rival any Hollywood set.

Opp Art’s contracts dwindled after 9/11, and Coleman cast about again for something to do. He had worked in illustration and graphic design after college; before that, he studied architecture at Louisiana State University before going to work as a draftsman for an engineering firm. Discovering he “had too much artist in me” to find fulfillment in straight lines, he went back to school and got his bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

Coleman and his wife met in the Air Force during the last days of the Vietnam War. They studied at LSU under the G.I. Bill, raised a daughter (now twenty-five), and moved from state to state before settling in Rio Rancho in 1996.

The reason was simple: “The mountains,” Coleman says. “I was forty years old and had never seen the mountains.”

Through it all, he never quit painting for himself, studying figure drawing, and cranking out landscapes. In 2002, on the suggestion of an artist he met at a workshop, he applied for a teaching job at Bernalillo High, and was hired with little previous experience.

“I flew by the seat of my pants,” he confesses. “I knew art. I had to learn how to teach.” He was given three years to get his teaching license; with characteristic zest, he finished in eighteen months, taking six to nine credit hours at the College of Santa Fe each semester while teaching during the day.

When he finished, Coleman had so many credits at the graduate level that he went on to earn his Master‘s degree. He graduated in 2005 with an academic award for his thesis on Native American education.

The eldest of seven children, Coleman never seems satisfied to rest on his laurels. At the College of Santa Fe, he had an art teacher who described the four painting styles: realism, representational, abstraction, and nonobjective. That led Coleman, until then a realistic painter, to take a single subject and tackle it in all four styles, to his teacher’s surprise. The result is an intriguing study that already presages his career as a teacher. Then he took another subject and did it all again.

His restless explorations show up in his recent work, a combination of his years at Opp Art and his academic training. Colorful, geometric abstractions feature op-art “windows” onto realistic landscapes, much like the idyllic scenes in French porcelain. But in this case, “The whole thing is about the background,” he emphasizes. “The background is what’s important.”

At school, Coleman continues to develop a curriculum in foundational art skills in pursuit of the top (Level 3) teaching certification. “My basic philosophy is that art is a language, so in order to do it, you have to teach the fundamentals.” His middle school students study color theory before starting their first painting, which must be based on a color theme and followed by a written report on their artistic process.

“It’s like pulling teeth,” he admits. “But my kids learn art.”

“I never thought I’d like it,” he says of teaching, though it’s clear from his next thought why he makes such a good teacher. Art is “where my passion is. I do it because I have to.” Developing art skills through practice and persistence, Coleman knows that passion bears fruit on a foundation of lifelong learning—and that enthusiastic effort, more than natural talent, really contributes to the making of an artist.






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