Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Kobe Jane at work on her studio table

Clothesline of “Snail 2,” by Kobe Jane

“Short Happy Life,” by Kobe Jane

“I’m Not Lost,” by Kobe Jane

Signpost featured artist

Kobe Jane: the building blocks of art

—Oli Robbins

Certain creative individuals are more hesitant than others to define themselves as “artists.” Some embrace the term and profess to having always been one. Kobe Jane is of another mindset, preferring to consider herself “a person who does art, who really likes doing art, and who finds fulfillment in it.” Kobe, like many other art-makers, has been drawn to art for as long as she can remember. But it was only recently that she discovered a medium that consistently inspires her. Kobe began making clear, bold and reductive linoleum block prints in the last year or so, after having been gifted a bevy of supplies from her brother. Prior to that, she most often exercised her creative spirit by drawing. But drawing always felt unfinished, like it was meant to be part of something larger. Now, it is. “Drawing,” says Kobe, “has become one of the building blocks of making a print.” And those building blocks are important to Kobe, who values process as paramount to the final product.

Although Kobe has spent a lot of time in New Mexico over the past decade, she only moved here in a more permanent capacity last year. She hails from Michigan, where she attended a small liberal arts school—assuming that after taking all of her prerequisites she would discover a major that spoke to her. But after her sophomore year she realized that formal education failed to endow her with significant determination and purpose. Having traveled to NM in high school for a youth trip, Kobe always wanted to return. So, during what would become a lasting hiatus from college, she spent a summer in Gallup, working for a family with a special needs child. This began both her adult relationship with the state and her engagement with high-needs education. For the next several years, Kobe continued to work for the Gallup family seasonally, while also working in programs—in New Mexico, Michigan, and Oregon—for adults with disabilities.

Kobe is primarily a self-taught “artist,” the extent of her formal training taking place in high school in the form of elective art classes. Even then, printing generated her interest, but she regarded it as a medium that was best done outside of the home. “So,” says Kobe, “I just enjoyed it while it lasted.” It wasn’t until last year that she rediscovered the craft. She was home in Michigan for several months, spending time with her brother before he left to work as a fisherman in Alaska, when the duo came upon his stockpile of printmaking goods. “I was feeling sad that he had left, so I decided to try out the materials.”

Because Kobe has been drawing for so many years—sometimes to fill time or simply relax, other times for commissioned advertisements—printmaking proved to be an easy transition. “My drawing style is a lot like my printing style—very bold, clean lines. Carving is really fun for me, to take the drawing and make it into something elevated. Now I draw things with a vision of printing them, or sometimes convert drawings into prints. It’s not hard to transfer the styles since I already draw in a very black-and-white kind of way.”

She works at home without a press, sometimes using household objects—like hairspray bottles—as makeshift presses. She admits that working without a press means more errors and less usable prints, but she enjoys the accidents as well as the process of discovering balance in inking. “I tend to do a lot of animals because I’m attracted to the details in them—the feathers, fur, or shells. It’s nice to visualize, taking a complex thing, like a real chicken in your yard and transferring that to paper... I like to do lots of simple detail.” She enjoys the open future of creative possibilities offered by block printmaking. For example, last Spring Kobe commenced work on a snail print (shown above), which she transformed into a four-color, three-block print last month. Unlike drawing or painting, which usually demands that you complete the piece just once, printmaking means duplication or even the re-imagining of a design.

The past year has broadened Kobe’s relationship with art in a variety of different ways. In addition to ushering in a passion for printmaking, it has found Kobe in a new role as an art educator. Kobe became the Art Specialist at Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions camp in the foothills of the Zuni Mountains—her first job directly related to art. “In all my caregiving and work in group homes, I’ve personally taken a lot of art into the job, but it’s never been a required part of it.” She cursorily considered studying art therapy and education, but shied away from pursuing traditional paths that would lead to art teaching.

At the Gulch, Kobe found a niche, where she was encouraged to introduce children to the boundless possibilities for, and conceptions of, art. Since Cottonwood Gulch is centered around nature, it followed that Kobe experimented with the ways in which art and nature can relate. Each day she led two three-hour-long art sessions, which focused on a broad selection of mediums and techniques like bookbinding, pottery (coil and wheel), metal-smithing, leather working, weaving and, of course, printmaking. “I did many vague and imaginative projects that are really fun to do with kids—that help them appreciate art and teach them that it doesn’t have to be something that you’re traditionally good at. A lot of kids came in saying they’re not good at art, that they’re not artists. They thought that they had to be able to see something and draw a picture of it. But that’s not true. Art can be whatever you want—like being outside and drawing pictures of a tree as a monster.”

One of Kobe’s favorite projects involved a handful of clay, which each student worked with for just twenty seconds before passing it to the person seated to the right. Every participant presented a story about their creation and, says Kobe, “surprisingly, I saw a lot of the same ideas come up from different groups of kids. In the end, you have a flower and a dinosaur, like six different things that everyone touched and interpreted differently.” This fostered the idea that art can be loose, and does not have to be indelibly connected to something finished or unchanging. To contact Kobe, or visit her website at:

Tom Schuch as Einstein tells a joke
Photo credit: —John Malo

Einstein once said that had he not been a scientist, he would have been a musician. “Life without playing music is inconceivable for me,” he declared. “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.”

Placitas Artists Series presents unique Einstein collaboration

For its January 17 concert, the Placitas Artists Series will present “Einstein’s Favorite String Quartets,” featuring Willy Sucre and Friends. The event involves a unique collaboration: among Sucre’s “friends” for this performance is actor Thomas Schuch, appearing as Albert Einstein. The role comes naturally to Schuch, whose acting credits include an international tour of the one-man show Einstein: A Stage Portrait by Willard Simms.

Sucre will also be joined by Krzysztof Zimowski, violin; Shanti Randall, viola; and Lisa Donald, cello. They will perform selections from string quartets by Beethoven, Hayden, Mozart, and Schubert.

The concert is generously sponsored by Vicki Gottlieb.

Prior to the 3:00 p.m. concert, a 2:00 p.m. visual artists reception will feature the art of Mary Rawcliffe Colton, tapestry; Diana Martin, beaded jewelry; Terry Mulcahy, photography; and Suzanne Visor, painted silk. Their works, which are for sale, are on display from December 26 to January 29.

The concert and visual artist reception will take place at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village of Placitas, located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). The facility is completely accessible. To learn more, visit or call 867-8080.

Sawtooth Lake with Mist, by Ralph Williams

Ralph Williams exhibits in Placitas

The Placitas Community Library’s January art exhibit will feature local Placitas resident Ralph Williams. His artwork will be on exhibit from January 3 through January 28. The Placitas Community Library is delighted to host a free reception on January 8, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

Mr. Williams has been exploring and photographing the landscapes and natural environment of western North America since the early 1970s. These explorations have included nearly all of the western National Parks and Monuments, approximately three hundred designated Wilderness Areas, the summits of over forty 14,000-foot peaks, and many more obscure and out of the way locations in between.

His photographs include work in both color and black and white using small format (35mm film), large format view cameras (4x5 inch film) and, of course, digital imaging in more recent years. For more than twenty years Mr. Williams maintained a darkroom for traditional photographic printing but all of his recent printing has used modern digital technology. Other than taking one short course on basic darkroom technique, his knowledge of photography has been mostly self-taught, though he has drawn inspiration from the works of many past and present classic outdoor Western photographers.

Oiling the hinges of history

—Placitas Library staff

Can Vietnam veteran, CIA analyst, and historical fiction author Robert Kresge share the podium with Peace Corps Volunteer, architect, and fiction author Greg Comer? Come find out as they read from recent work and share their writing experiences on January 30, at 2:00 p.m., at the Placitas Community Library. Whether you enjoy writing or reading historical fiction, this program will provide you with energy and entertainment, and perhaps inspire you to revisit that draft novel gathering dust in a desk drawer.

Robert (Rob) Kresge is the author of the (so far) five-volume Warbonnet, a Wyoming historical mystery series, and the Hillerman award-winning stand-alone Civil War spy thriller Saving Lincoln. He is a founding member and former president of the Albuquerque chapter of the national mystery writers organization Sisters in Crime, and a CIA writers group.

Placitas resident, Greg Comer’s, Winner Take None takes place in post-Civil War Montana. Deuteronomy Seebea is growing up too fast in a Western town full of thieves, prostitutes, and an awfully mean cat. Survival, love and greed are all in play in this quirky, action-packed novel.

Despite divergent personal and professional backgrounds, both writers have chosen to write historical fiction set in the American Civil War and post-war eras.

Call for artists for the Placitas Artists Series 2016-17 season

The Placitas Artists Series (PAS) invites all New Mexico artists and craft-persons, 18 years of age and older, to submit three electronic images of their work and a completed application found online  by March 31, 2016, in order to be selected by jury for a monthly exhibit during the PAS’ Thirtieth Anniversary Season (September 2016 through May 2017). The application contains all instructions, and the fee is $15 dollars.

The PAS presents inspiring art and music in a welcoming venue located in the Placitas foothills. An opening reception is held on the day of each monthly concert; and selected artists receive publicity and a year’s exposure on the PAS website,

For additional information, contact Vicki Gottlieb, PAS Visual Arts Chair at 404-8022 or

Call for artists: PAS annual brand competition

The Placitas Artists Series (PAS) is sponsoring a competition for their annual visual arts brand for the PAS website banner, ticket brochure, program book, and publicity. The winning artist receives a $150 dollar honorarium and a one-month exhibit selected by the artist from the PAS’ thirtith nine-concert season, which runs from September 2016 to May 2017.

The PAS presents a unique combination of visual and performing arts, which has delighted concertgoers and others who visit the monthly, juried visual arts exhibits at its Placitas performance venue.

A relatively recent addition is an annual branding competition for New Mexico artists only. The following criteria apply:

  • The artist must be a New Mexico resident.
  • The artwork must evoke Placitas in some relatable way.
  • Artwork must include a statement about how it evokes Placitas and the inspiration or process that led to its creation.

Deadline for submission of digital artwork image and statement is February 15, 2016. Time is of the essence. For more information on requirements and submission details, see and look on the left sidebar for the call for branding link.

Calling local artists for the nineteenth annual Placitas Studio Tour

Artists will open their studios on May 7 and 8 for the nineteenth annual Placitas self-guided tour. The Studio Tour has been a great success for 18 years because it offers a peek into the many fascinating and varied studios and artisan workshops spread throughout the diverse areas of Placitas.

Artists have a chance to join a creative community and share their energies. Beyond paying a two hundred dollar entry fee, artists are required to provide a high-quality digital image of their work and attend a mandatory orientation meeting. This year, artists will be required to sign up for a team/committee to ensure more active involvement in the tasks necessary to produce the event.

The Studio Tour is open only to artists and artisans who are Placitas residents or who maintain their working studios in Placitas. This year’s application with detailed guidelines will be posted on our website on February 1. Visit the website to get more information and print your application. Deadline to submit your application is Valentine’s Day, February 14, with no exceptions.

(Black-and-white photograph): White House Ruin is composed of two parts: a larger room block on the canyon floor that rose to four stories high in the back, and another set of rooms built in a rock shelter immediately above. The upper rooms could have been reached from the fourth-story roof of the lower structure. The bulging, stained walls of the rock face above the rock shelter have made the site a favorite photographic subject. Timothy O’Sullivan photographed the site in the mid-1870s, and it has been well photographed ever since, including by Ansel Adams.
Photo credit: —Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1929.

(Color photograph ): White House is harder to see now because of the additional vegetation. This is the only site in Canyon de Chelly that is accessible without a guide and is by far the most visited ruin in the canyon. A hiking trail leads to the site from a parking lot on the rim above. A pedestrian bridge over the wash can be seen, as can the hiking trail. Tour trucks and jeeps park at the ruin-end of the bridge.
Photo credit: —Adriel Heisey, 2008.

Oblique views: archaeology, photography, and time

—Steve Cantrell

During 2007 and 2008, flying at alarmingly low altitudes and slow speeds, Adriel Heisey leaned out the door of his light plane, and holding his camera with both hands, re-photographed some of the Southwest’s most significant archaeological sites that Charles Lindbergh and his new bride Anne photographed in 1929.

For the first time, in Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time, large prints of Heisey’s stunning images will be paired directly with the Lindberghs’.

In this exhibition, the Lindberghs’ grainy black-and-white shots are a record of how the sites appeared before later excavations, development, or time altered them. Their images are an excellent yardstick for evaluating changes on many levels over the last eighty years, especially when viewed side-by-side with Andriel Heisey’s recent photographs. The exhibition runs through May, 2017, at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, 710 Camino Lejo, in Santa Fe.

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