Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Clea G. Hall

Clea G. Hall with a furry friend Photo credit: —Oli Robbins

c. Clea G. Hall

c. Clea G. Hall

Fine art photography, by Clea G. Hall

c. Clea G. Hall

Mimi, photograph, by Clea G. Hall

Memorializing magical moments: The photography of Clea G. Hall

—Oli Robbins

Those who document the world around them, via photography, film or journalism, often try to maintain distance from their subjects in an attempt to deliver a non-biased perspective. But perhaps the best documentary work is that in which the documenter has a vested interest. In the work of Clea G. Hall, for example, the most profound photographic statements are those that reflect her own reality. Says Clea, “Photography allows me to see things more clearly, from a different perspective. By using a camera, I see things that I might not see.” Photography is now so synonymous with Clea’s everyday, that rarely a day goes by without her shooting. It has taught her to take pause and notice the ubiquitous beauty in nature, from rocks that bare resemblance to hearts, to the artful footprints in the dirt beneath our feet. This awareness is a gift shared by many photographers, eager to capture what might otherwise be overlooked and forgotten. Yet Clea has the unique ability to deeply feel and experience what she documents, to not only record but also engage.

Clea is a child of Placitas. Her connection to the earth, the desert and its animals, was shaped by this land, which permeates her earliest memories and much of her body of work. Clea left New Mexico in seventh grade, when she attended a boarding school in upstate NY. It was there, at a small farm school, that her love affair with photography began. From middle school through college, her days were suffused with manual film cameras and dark rooms.

In high school and college, Clea jumped at opportunities to document cultures unfamiliar to her and took photography classes in both Costa Rica and Brazil. In Brazil, Clea worked on her thesis, which documented the lives of reforestation workers and their families in the poor “favela” neighborhood. Clea has also documented the places and people that impacted her childhood—in college, she fortuitously reported on the dome that is now her home. Clea had wanted to memorialize the dome, since it was there that she kept her very first horse. She never imagined that she would actually live in the dome as an adult, much less share the surrounding space with many free-roaming horses.

Clea’s travels, her education, and her ever-budding connection to horses were made possible by her grandmother, Mimi, who, around the time of Clea’s college graduation, developed dementia. Clea didn’t hesitate to move to upstate NY after graduation and give back to the woman who had facilitated so many of her blessings. For seven years, Clea lived with Mimi as her care-taker, companion, granddaughter, and advocate. While caring for Mimi, two transformative events occurred: Clea turned her hobby into a business—and began shooting for events, companies and a newspaper—and she also discovered Crystalline Consciousness Technique (CCT). CCT, an energy healing modality, proved so powerful and beneficial that Clea underwent training to teach it to others.

Clea watched as dementia shifted Mimi’s perception of self and place. Mimi’s world was one in which she couldn’t dwell on the past or worry about the future—she was forced to free herself from much of what we attach ourselves to, and be present always. Clea documented her time with Mimi, capturing both the banal and the painfully personal. But it was in the moments that Clea refrained from chronicling that she, like Mimi, gave herself fully to the present. Says Clea, “In the end, what I remember most is the actual time that I was with her. The pictures can bring memories back, but it’s also finding the time to not take pictures and to just be. That disease, it taught me to always be present.”

After Mimi passed, in 2012, Clea considered moving back to Placitas. While checking out potential homes, she stayed at the dome. There, she was greeted by a band of horses. Clea was reminded of both her childhood—when she sometimes witnessed these horses from a distance—and Mimi, a fellow horse enthusiast. Strangely, Clea has almost no memories of Mimi visiting Placitas, yet she does have one photograph of her at that very dome, standing next to one of the Placitas horses. Clea realized that she was, indeed, coming home, and that her journey had come full circle. Says Clea, “I was grieving her loss, and to come to a new place and have wild horses, well, there was a little bit of magic coming into my life.”

During Clea’s first year back in Placitas, she didn’t use her camera much. Instead, she mourned and walked, re-exploring the land as she snapped pictures with her iPhone, enjoying sharing images of the free-roaming horses through social media applications. It wasn’t until last summer, when Clea became aware of the horse round-ups, that she threw herself back into photography—realizing that the horses may not always be community fixtures. With purpose and fervor, she began documenting the rambles and relationships of each horse she encountered.

For Clea, the horses are what make this land one of enchantment. She photographs for Placitas Animal Rescue, and helps find homes for horses that have been rounded up. She recently adopted the remaining horses that traversed the village highway, and her current photography centers around them coming to terms with their new identities as domesticated animals. Says Clea, “By watching and observing them, I am learning from their interactions and relationships—the joy, the pain, the love, the loss. I use photography to document, and CCT to connect with and support their journey.” The horses have revealed themselves to Clea as beings of the present—very much like Mimi. They are her new family, for whom she cares, and who act as her teachers. 

To view Clea’s work, visit To find out more about CCT, go to, or email Clea at Clea offers CCT classes and sessions, some of which allow students to study alongside and do healing work with the adopted horses.

c. Gary Priester

“A Valentine For You,” stereogram, by Gary Priester

Gary Priester—“I Love 3D Stereograms”

Placitas artist Gary W. Priester will be exhibiting a collection of hidden image 3D stereograms through the month of February at the Placitas Community Library. The exhibit features a dozen Valentine’s Day-themed stereogram images.

Stereograms are 2D images that when viewed correctly produce the illusion of actual 3D space. Most people are capable of seeing 3D. It is just a matter of proper viewing technique, which Priester is always eager to demonstrate. “I love it when people see my images for the first time. It is a truly magical experience when suddenly 3D objects appears in what is in reality a flat surface,” Priester explains.  He invites you join him for his Valentine’s Day Artist’s Reception on February 14, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Priester, a Placitas resident since 2000, and whose 3D           Stereogram images are featured each month in the Sandoval Signpost is the co-author of five books of stereograms, three iPad stereogram apps, and a Kindle e-book of stereograms. Priester and co-author Gene Levine have been the sole contributing artists for the past ten years to the popular Japanese stereogram magazine series TJMOOK Magical Eye which has sold close to six-million copies.

(l. to r.) Jim Carnevale, Adrienne Kleiman, Rod Daniel

PAS presents guitar duo and trio of Artists, “One Vision”

—Patt Cain

On February 16, the Placitas Artists Series will present a concert by Duo Noire, the groundbreaking American classical guitar duo of Thomas Flippin and Christopher Mallet. The program will range from classical composers like J.S Bach to the ragtime of Scott Joplin.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m., at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door, one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance ($20/$15).

The PAS is pleased to sponsor the premiere of “'Three Artists, One Vision,” the collaborative works of three artists on one wall of the exhibit with four groupings of each artist’s interpretation of the same image. Jim Carnevale begins the process with a photograph. Adrienne Kleiman paints the image in acrylic and Rod Daniel interprets the image in fiber art. Preceding the concert, at the church, at 2:00 p.m., a reception will be held for February visiting artists Jim Carnevale (photography), Rod Daniel (art quilts), Adrienne Kleiman (acrylic painting), and Geri Verble (jewelry). The reception is free and open to the public. The works will be on display from February 1 until February 28. Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and Sunday.

To Carnevale, photography is about capturing the essence of life with the click of the shutter, so a moment in time can live on forever. His subjects include botanical portraits, Southwestern landscapes, and abandoned New Mexico sites.

Daniel blends fabrics, as if painting, to create quilts with intriguing images that are reminiscent of places and times in the Southwest.

Inspired by the life and landscapes of New Mexico, Kleiman uses acrylic and mixed media to create works that are somewhere between Realism and Impressionism.

Because of Verble’s passion for collecting beads and pendants during her international travel, she has specialized in tribal and ethnic designs to create jewelry that is not only beautiful but satisfies the human spirit.

These artists’ works may be previewed at

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, call 867-8080 or visit

New Mexico VA Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs

Every veteran has some type of creative gift, whether it’s playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, sculpting, painting, or writing poetry. New Mexico’s veterans are invited to show off their talents in the twelfth-annual Veterans Creative Arts Festival, held February 26 through 28 at the Raymond G. Murphy Affairs Medical Center, 1501 San Pedro Dr. SE, in Albuquerque.

Main divisions for the festival are music, art, creative writing, drama, and dance. Local winners go on to compete at the national level via digital images and videotape. Visual arts entries will be on display February 26 and 27 in the Recreation Hall (Building 2) while the Performance Arts competition takes place on February 28 in the Education Auditorium (building 39). First-place winners from local competition may be invited to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival held October 22 to November 2 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For applications or more information, call Barb Tremmel at 265-1711, ext.4208. For Performance Art, call Liz Apperson at 265-1711, ext. 2487. From outside Albuquerque, call toll free at 1-800-465-8262, ext. 4208. Visit for more information.

Ronald Roybal live at Loma Colorado

Terrie Erskine

On February 1, from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m., Ronald Roybal will put on an enchanting concert. The concert, Enchanting Sound of the Southwest, features arrangements of both traditional and contemporary style Native Flute and Spanish Classical Guitar pieces as well as his own original compositions.

Native to the American Southwest, and a descendent of Pueblo (Tewa) and Spanish Colonial peoples, Roybal considers his ability to express both sides of his heritage to be a great gift and responsibility. He is a six-time Native American Music Award nominee and widely respected as a master flutist and guitarist.

The concert is free, no ticket or registration required. The library is located at 755 Loma Colorado Blvd NE, Rio Rancho, 87124. For more information, call 891-5013, Ext. 3033. The concert is funded by The Friends of the Library of Rio Rancho, Inc.

ADOBE Theater

Cy and Jane Hoffman have chosen the musical version of the film, My Favorite Year (which starred Peter O’Toole as the alcoholic celebrity) for the February/March show at the ADOBE Theater. As everyone prepares for a 1954 broadcast, Benjy (played by Bryan Daniels) is required to keep Swann (Tim MacAlpine) sober and celibate. Swann of course has other ideas. A high point in the broadcast is the Three Musketeers sketch. The star resembles Errol Flynn, but can he control that dangerous sword? And can Benjy find a way to reconcile Swann with his estranged daughter? Of course, there is a romantic sub-plot and some lovely songs for a change of mood. The cast includes Ron Bronitsky, Jane Hoffman, Carolyn Hogan, Brynlyn Loomis, and Warren Wilgus. Loretta Robinson is the Music Director and Kiersten Johnson is the choreographer.

My Favorite Year opens February 21 and plays through March 16 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 dollars for adults and $13 for seniors and students. Group rates and SelecTickets are available. Call 898-9222 weekdays for reservations or

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