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An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Charron McFadden

Charron McFadden in her Rio Rancho art studio

c. Charron McFadden

Susie, colored pencil drawing, by Charron McFaddon

c. Charron McFadden

Future Builders, colored pencil drawing, by Charron McFaddon

Memorializing the moment

The drawings of Charron McFadden

—Oli Robbins

There are many ways to memorialize a passing moment in time, but in today’s world, the most common one is to snap a picture. Photography isn’t like it used to be; smart phones and digital cameras allow us to carry these occasions in our pockets. It’s becoming rarer and rarer to print and display these memories, which oftentimes live permanently in a digital, non-tangible realm. Rio Rancho artist Charron McFadden has found a way to honor them appropriately. With great attention to detail and an artistic virtuosity, McFadden turns the photographic image into a fine work of art. She appreciates the snap shot, and finds that “there’s a story in everything, [that] that’s what makes a photograph interesting.” But since photographs are ubiquitous—the contemporary visual experience involves seeing thousands of images a day—those stories are often lost on the viewer. Working in colored pencil from candid, rather than professional, photographs, McFadden brings these hidden stories to the surface. She captures the energy inherent within the image and brings it permanently to life.

Though many of McFadden’s portraits are rendered in colored pencil, they assume a photographic quality. Says McFadden, “You can make colored pencil look like other mediums, you can do it so fine that it looks like oil or like watercolor.” She sometimes works from life, but most often uses the traditional grid system, employed by masters for centuries. After blowing up a photograph, she places a plastic grid with one-inch squares on top of it and eyeballs it to copy. She’ll take artistic liberties in an effort to highlight her subjects’ personalities, and make the resultant image even more dynamic and vibrant than the original photograph. Most of McFadden’s works contain a great range of colors, but sometimes, she relies on the sepia technique, in which she uses just four colors: white, cream, black and sepia. The subsequent drawing evokes nostalgia for a time since passed.

McFadden moved from Aurora, Illinois to Rio Rancho in 2010. In her brief time here, she has established her artistic merit, while becoming an integral part of the Sandoval County community. Last Fall, she won third place for a colored pencil drawing at the 23rd Annual Old Church Art Show in Corrales and has recently begun to show her work at Corrales’ Gathering Artists Gallery. She is also on the board and chair of publicity for the Friends of Coronado State Monument, where she puts her artistic talents to good use. Explaining her desire to become involved with Friends of Coronado, McFadden states, “The Kiva murals were a big draw for me—it is amazing that they were even found, and they are quite unique in the US.” In an attempt to raise money for and awareness of the Monument, McFadden designs the flyers and ads that publicize the Monument’s events.

McFadden has traveled extensively as an artist, visiting such art Meccas as Croissy-sur-Seine in France, where Renoir painted his infamous Luncheon of the Boating Party. McFadden visited Croissy during the city’s Impressionist festival, and ended up winning the city of Croissy prize for an en plein air landscape. She is currently working on a series that features women in Africa, inspired by a friend’s recent journey to Rwanda. McFadden’s friend spent time there in conjunction with a charity called Hands of Hope, which raises money to help women establish their own businesses, and brought back several photographs to share with McFadden. McFadden has studied the photos closely and feels as if she is becoming acquainted with the women as she draws them.

McFadden has only recently begun devoting herself to art full-time, since retiring in 2010, but has been an artist her whole life. She recalls her first encounter with art: “I got a paint-by-numbers set when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, and I said, ‘I really like this, and I don’t think I need these numbers.’ I had left over paints so I just started doing my own things, and I was fortunate enough to have very talented art teachers. I discovered I could mix colors and sketch and draw.” McFadden continued working on her art through high school, at which time she won a Scholastic Gold Key award for her paintings and drawings. She planned to pursue art in college as well, but life took her on a different path. “I wanted to be a medical illustrator, but life happens.” Her art career took a hiatus after she married, raised a family, and became an executive assistant. A couple of decades later, art reentered her life. “When I had an empty nest, and my mom had passed away, I decided to sign up for a class. The next thing I know, I had graduated with a BA in Organizational Communication.” McFadden went on to receive her masters in Media Studies from Northern Illinois University and has since taught classes at the college level in mass media and documentary production. “It was really a wonderful experience for me,” says McFadden. “It really fulfilled something I had always wanted to do. The filmmaking and the media just flowed right into my artistic talents.” Soon after achieving her degrees, she transitioned again into the realm of fine art. “I’m of the belief that when you’re ready to learn something, the teacher will be there for you.”

McFadden’s work can be viewed at Gathering Artists Gallery, 1000 Old Church Road, Corrales, and also online at McFadden welcomes commissions.

Placitas Studio Tour

Placitas Studio Tour 2012 calls for artists

Applications for the fifteenth annual Placitas Studio Tour will be available online at on February 1. The deadline for application is Valentine’s Day, February 14.

All artists and artisans who reside in Placitas or maintain a studio here are eligible to participate in the tour. Artists are allowed to double up at a site, but both artists must pay the fee. It has never been a juried show, because it was conceived as an inclusive arts-community building event. However, you must be able to submit on time, have high quality images for the website and other publications, and help with sign-making, placement, or collection. Details are in the application form.

One of the real benefits of participation has turned out to be the Artists’ Tour on the following Saturday, the artists’ chances to visit each other’s studios (while they’re still orderly). Sponsors enjoy the bonus of staying on the PST website for the entire year.

For more information, visit or call Riha at 771-1006.

Book signing for Edward Goodman’s newly published novel Manzanita Seed

On February 11 at 2:00 p.m. at the Oasis Café, 4940 Corrales Road in Corrales, Edward Goodman will sign copies of his newly published book, Manzanita Seed, which takes place in a fictional Bernalillo. In the novel, a lonely frightened man finally finds love and acceptance in his life after rescuing a stray dog, but is forced to decide how far he will go to defend her.

A first-person tale, set in a small town in New Mexico, where 62-year-old Anastasio Quintana discovers love and joy for the first time in his life. This book is a moving story about personal transformation, combining legal intrigue, family drama, and powerful narrative.

Edward Goodman is an experienced trial lawyer and dog lover who has combined his two passions into a novel that plumbs the depths of what animals represent to us, how the world values them, and how they change us. Goodman also ignites debate over the how the law should view and value the rights and lives of companion animals.

To place orders for the book, contact or Plain View Press , P.O. Box 42255, Austin, TX 78704,, (512) 441-2452.

PAS Call for artist entries

—Judith Roderick, Placitas Artists Series

The Placitas Artists Series is calling for artists to exhibit their works for the 2012-13 concert season at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. We have nine musical concerts each year, September through May. They are complimented by art shows in a beautiful, spacious galley setting, with a reception for the artists the day of the concerts. 

Four artists are selected by jury for each show. Three of the artists’ work hangs on the walls of the gallery and the fourth artist will be one whose work is three-dimensional, free standing or sitting on a table, e.g., sculpture, weavings, jewelry, pottery, etc. The three-dimensional winner will show the day of the concert only. All artists receive a year’s exposure on our website, and two tickets to the concert.

The application process closes April 1. Notification will be in May. Go to our web site at and click on “Our Visual Artists” to download your application form.

Placitas Artists Series presents Jason Vieaux

—Placitas Artist Series

On February 12, the Placitas Artists Series will present Jason Vieaux, guitar player, as the sixth concert in its Silver Anniversary Season. Mr. Vieaux is considered one of the “youngest stars of the guitar world” (New York Times, 2010). He is a musician regularly noted for his engaging and virtuosic live performances, imaginative programming, and uncommon communicative gifts. Recent concert highlights include recitals for Lincoln Center and 92nd St. Y in New York, Dumbarton Oaks Series in Washington DC, a return to the Music@Menlo festival, a debut with the Charlotte Symphony, and recitals for Spivey Hall and Indiana University. Vieaux’s upcoming concerto performances include works of Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla and Roberto Sierra for the Chautauqua Music Festival, the symphonies of Mexico City, Ft. Worth, Grand Rapids, Illinois, Williamsburg, Reading, and Dubuque, as well as Boston’s A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra. His current chamber music collaborations with the Escher Quartet, flutist Gary Schocker, and bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro continue to display Vieaux’s extensive range of musical interests. As one of the “leading guitarists of his generation” (Absolute Sound, 2009), Jason Vieaux has established a lasting connection with his audiences, as evidenced by numerous return invitations in 2010-2011 to series in Toronto, Cleveland, Michigan, and North Carolina. In October, Mr. Vieaux received a 2010 Salon De Virtuosi Career Grant and performed with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke at the Kennedy Center.

For a more complete description of the concert and the musician, please refer to this link:   

The concert is generously sponsored by Sally and Jack Curro.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m., 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 The Merc grocery store in Homestead Village in Placitas, Ah!Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho, or on-line at Prices are $20 in advance. At the door prices are General Admission: $20 and Students: $15.

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 child care 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 call 867-8080 or visit

c. Marjie Bassler

Animals!, painting, by Marjie Bassler

PAS presents artists’ reception

—Shirley Ericson, Placitas Artist Series

On February 12, the Placitas Artists Series, in celebration of its 25 Silver Anniversary, will present the art of Marjie Bassler, Ilena Grayson, Katherine Irish Henry, and Karl and Mary Hofmann with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The works will be on display from January 28 to March 3.

Marjie Bassler’s love for creating brightly colored, whimsical paintings of animals began in her youth in New Hampshire where she was surrounded by her family’s many animal friends. Since moving to New Mexico in 1980, Marjie has had paintings accepted into juried exhibits and shows nationwide and has participated in many invitational and group exhibits. She has served as co-director and curator of the New Mexico State Fair Fine Art Gallery, was on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair, and has been a juror and judge for art shows.

Ilena Grayson has a Master’s Degree in Art Education from the University of South Florida and, after graduation, chose to be a studio artist. Having grown up in Colorado and now living in New Mexico, she has been influenced by the colors and cultural diversity of these western states. She has exhibited in galleries, art centers, and museums across the United States and internationally for over forty years. Grayson’s work is also in several permanent collections including the Albuquerque International Airport.

Katherine Irish Henry was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but grew up in Decatur, Illinois. Katherine’s earliest memories of finding pleasure in art production began at an early age when she discovered images of masterpieces in the World Book Encyclopedia. Katherine studied art at DePauw University with William Meehan and attended the Tyler School of Art in Rome, studying with Stephen Greene. She also interned with Willard Midgette in New York City in 1974. Katherine received a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute. She worked with homeless schizophrenics from 1976-1982. During this time, she painted and drew many of the people she encountered in a homeless shelter and on the subways and streets of New York. She befriended members of the Street Painters, including Myron Heise, and attended art critiques in the Bowery. She also took a number of classes at the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, and the Art Students League. She was a frequent visitor to New York galleries and New York’s many magnificent art museums. Katherine’s first one-woman show was in New York at the Marie Pellicone Gallery in 1982.

Karl and Mary Hofmann’s influences include Meissen porcelain and folk pottery of Karl’s childhood home in Germany, wedging and throwing techniques learned in Japan, and the Southwest landscape, as they have been Placitas residents for thirty years. The Hofmanns met while studying at Michigan State University. Karl later continued his studies at Columbia University and then earned an MFA Degree in Ceramics and Sculpture from The Ohio State University. Mary received an MA in Painting and Art History from Michigan State University. Her work has been exhibited in the National Serigraph Society show. Retired from Sandia Prep, Karl has given workshops and served as a juror and participant in juried shows throughout the country.

A reception for the artists will be held at 2:00 p.m. on February 12, prior to a concert by Jason Vieaux, Guitarist. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at The Merc Grocery Store in Homestead Village in Placitas, Ah!Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho, or on-line at Prices are $20 in advance. At the door prices are General Admission: $20 and Students: $15.

For further information, visit: gets makeover

—Signpost Staff is a website that provides free on-line galleries of up to eight images for Placitas artists. The website was created almost ten years ago by designer, Gary Priester, who saw a need for a community gallery website. The site currently features galleries for 84 Placitas artists and more galleries are being added each month. “Even if an artist has her or his own website, being part of the website increases his or her exposure and can drive more visitors to your own site,” Priester explained.

“The site was starting to show its age,” Priester said. “It was time to give it a major makeover.” The entire site has been redesigned and the individual artist’s gallery format updated. Each page of ten galleries on the website contain up to nine artists with direct links to each artist’s individual gallery. The thumbnail images representing each artist are now bigger. The artist’s thumbnail images are initially displayed as black-and-white images. But when the visitor mouses over the thumbnails, they magically turn to full color.

“Some galleries have not been changed since they were first added,” Priester said. “Many artists, however, update their galleries once or twice a year.”

“I would like to ask all artists who have galleries on the website to make sure their contact information is up-to-date and to send in their latest work,” Priester added. The artist gallery format has changed and larger images are now accepted so artists with older galleries can submit new images and take advantage of the new gallery format.

Priester volunteers his time and work for the artist community, but is grateful for the local sponsors who make the site possible: Sandoval Signpost, Anasazi Fields Winery, La Puerta Real Estate Services, Dave R. Johnson, Drew Owens, Lucy Noyes, and Lauren Herman. For more information, visit or

Holocaust Memorial

Photo credit: —Robert Fogarty

“Bones” made at the Placitas Community Library will be laid on the national mall in Washington, DC, in 2013.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

Why we remember: Placitas’s observance of holocaust remembrance

—Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group

On April 21, a special event hosted by the Placitas Community Library and organized by the Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group will commemorate the nation’s annual week-long Days of Remembrance. The event will include examples of resilience and rescue, personal testimonies, an exhibit of photographs and other artifacts, and a community collaborative art installation involving the laying of “bones” fabricated by local volunteers in cooperation with One Million Bones, a project using education and hands-on art-making to raise awareness of genocides and atrocities occurring around the world.

In 2005, Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims. Each year, a national commemoration is held in the nation’s Capitol Rotunda and webcast around the world. The theme of this year’s observance of Holocaust remembrance week (April 15-22) is “Choosing to Act: Stories of Rescue” for those who chose action over indifference, despite the risks, to intervene when confronted with the persecution and murder of their fellow human beings.

Last year, the Placitas commemoration expanded upon the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s theme of “Justice and Accountability in the Face of Genocide: What Have We Learned?” This year’s event will continue to view the barbarities of the Holocaust in the broader context of genocide and other atrocities throughout the world past and present. It is hoped that participation in the April 21 program will be one small step in countering indifference and apathy to brutality and cruelty with vigilance and action.

In preparation for the April events, the Placitas Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group has scheduled “bone” making sessions at the Placitas Community Center. Bones may be made of any material and everyone is encouraged to use their imaginations to make the bones. Clay, tools, and instructions will be available for anyone who would like to make a bone. The bones will be laid on April 21 at the Placitas Community Library and later as part of the one million bones that will be laid on the national mall in Washington, DC, in 2013. The bone-making sessions will be held at the Placitas Community Center on Saturday, February 18 and on Saturday, March 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Children, families, and community members are encouraged to come and make bones together with your neighbors. Everyone is encouraged to stop by during these hours to make a bone or two and learn about genocide around the world. Refreshments will be served.

Contact Gail Goldstein at (505) 867-4617 for more information.

Stetson’s poetry and art show “Rain” spotlights climate change

In 2006, Diana Stetson created a body of work in response to the climate change issue. She wrote short poems about her experience in nature and picked one a month to use in a block print, which resulted in a series of twelve. The project was finished in 2007 and was very well received in galleries around the country.

On February 3 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. an opening reception for Rain will be held at the New Mexico State Land Office gallery, 310 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe. The series of twelve prints will be part of the Land Office exhibition along with three large oils representing the beginning of her fourth and current environmental initiative. Ten percent of any sales made as a result of this exhibition will be donated to Western Watersheds, a nonprofit conservation group doing excellent work to protect and restore watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and litigation. The show runs through February during State Land Office hours, Monday through Friday. For further details, call 505-890-8899.

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