The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Bianca HärleSignpost featured artist of the month

Bianca Härle

Bianca Härle in her Placitas workspace: Studio 9 of 1

Härle reflects on life with pastels

Bill Diven

Bianca Härle is never sure which of three artists will emerge when she puts pastel to paper.

One reflects the soothing shape and light of New Mexico, another the high-charge pace of modern life, and the third a mystery, surprises from her subconscious. Yet all bring to the easel Härle’s training in architecture and her eye for form, color, and contrast.

And they have brought her sufficient success in the last two years to risk cutting back on work as an office planner to seriously pursue her art.

“I’m going to give it a year and push very hard to see if I can get to where it at least feeds me,” the Signpost artist of the month said.

A native German and twenty-year resident of northern New Mexico, Härle credits her 1999 move to Placitas just before the annual Placitas Studio Tour with boosting her career.

“Two weeks after moving in, all these signs went up, and I said, “My God, there are artists everywhere,” she recalled. “The art community is very open here.”

Härle (pronounced HAR-lee) opened Studio 9 of 1, working in soft pastels and experimenting with paper until she found one she liked.

“My work is so saturated, and I lay so much chalk on,” she said. “The paper enhances the color.”

Growing up in Europe and visiting her father’s building projects generated an interest in buildings long before Härle completed an architecture degree at the University of New Mexico. Public schools included varied art classes. These were enhanced as an adult by additional training and workshops in Santa Fe.

Her more literal work lifts details from Southwestern architecture, perhaps the iconic adobe church at Ranchos de Taos, then reduces them to simple forms and vibrant colors. Yet one recent work of nineteen by thirty-two inches intersects adobe walls, canales, and vigas in shades of green and blue beneath an orange sky.

“I took great liberties with the colors,” Härle said. “Usually I just step them up or down.”

And then there are the mysterious paintings like one produced on the eve of the Iraq war. “It was full of little doorways, the archetype of where are we going,” she said. “Those paintings to me are really baffling. It fascinates me to no end how we can connect to the subconscious.”

Härle’s work hangs in the Rockin’ R Gallery in Placitas and at the Angus McDougall Gallery and Katrina Lasko Gallery in Bernalillo. Studio 9 of 1 is open by appointment by calling 771-9360.

To view Härle’s pastels on-line, visit the Featured Artist of the Month Gallery.


Moon Over Buffalo at ADOBE

Moon Over Buffalo, an uproarious backstage farce in which hilarious, wild misunderstandings collide with madcap misadventures, will be performed June 4 through 27 at the ADOBE Theater, 9813 Fourth Street NW. Set in 1953, the play centers on George and Charlotte Hay (Lou Mazzullo and Teri Sweeney), a married couple in the autumn of their acting careers. Others in the cast are Katie Taylor as Eileen, Joanne K. Binkley as Rosalind, Vernon Poitras as Howard, Samuel Lindblad as Richard, J. Mark Danley as Paul, and Cyndy Noll as the hard-of-hearing Grandma.

Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor) is the author. The show is directed by Drew Carlin, whose ADOBE productions have included 110 in the Shade, A Man for All Seasons, Clarence Darrow, and The Miracle Worker. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students, with group rates available. Call 896-9222 or e-mail


Carnival of the Arts opens in Corrales, benefits restoration

Carnival of the Arts, a multimedia show and sale, will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on June 5 and 6 at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church on Old Church Road in Corrales. The works of fifty-two artists will be on sale, and a portion of each sale goes to the Corrales Historical Society for restoration and preservation of the Old San Ysidro Church. There is no charge for admission or parking.

Artists and crafters from Placitas, Corrales, Cochiti Lake, and Rio Rancho will include Sheri Burns–paintings, acrylic; Breck Gorman–acrylic paper and canvas; Sandra and Michael Kadisak–clay; Janet Mikkelsen–tiles; Debbie Skilling–jams, jellies, batik eggs; Mel Eisenstadt–jewelry and cards; Hope Grey–gourds, painted shirts, wood; Claire Haberfield–paper, fiber, jewelry; Angel Rose–3-D mixed media; Bob Serier–woodworking; Katy Sheridan–ceramics; Lola Stude–acrylic-painted gourds; Diane Wilhoite–hand-weaving. Exhibitors from the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas will also participate.


“Beau,” the band’s howling dog namesake

“Beau,” the band’s howling dog namesake

Howling Dog Jazz Band plays in front of the new Placitas library’s

Howling Dog Jazz Band plays in front of the new Placitas library’s
temporary location during its grand opening.

Howling Dog Jazz Band coming to Piñon Café

The Howling Dog Jazz Band will play noontime at the Piñon Café in Placitas every Tuesday during June, except June 8. The group specializes in traditional jazz from the thirties and forties.

A look into the band members’ musical history shows that the band’s drummer, Roger Hailstone, played in a well-known East Coast jazz band for thirty years.

The tuba player, Chuck Campbell, played in another well-known band—Die Polkaschlingel polka band— for twenty-five years and has played with several groups in Albuquerque.

Banjo player Bill Cochrell grew up playing banjo and has been active in the Albuquerque jazz scene for six years. He is currently the president of the Rio Grande Jazz Society.

The band’s trumpet player, Chris Williams, played in the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corp and with several groups in Albuquerque as well.

Trombonist player Richard Moore took lessons from Robert Schultz, who had played in the band of John Phillip Sousa. Moore also played with a former trombone player from Count Basie’s Band for a year and a half and has been active in the Albuquerque jazz scene for the last six years.

The band’s clarinetist is very experienced as well and has played jazz in Corpus Christie for several years.

“Our singer “Beau,” who is one cool dude and is the inspiration for the band’s name, has a great sense of rhythm, but is still shy about singing (howling) in the presence of an audience,” said trombonist Moore. “However, at his house, where I live, he really launches into it when jazz is playing.”


To answer Gayl’s question ...

Greg Leichner

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was a Manson girl, and to this day she defends Charlie. She still sees him as a misunderstood musician and visionary.

She is not sorry that in September of 1975 she scared the (bleep) out of President Gerald Ford with her assassination attempt. Her gun had four bullets in the clip, no round in the chamber.

I Googled the Squeakster and found a black-and-white photo of a small lake. All of Squeaky was submerged except for her right hand, which held a length of dowel with a small American flag stapled to it.

Tonight I went to an art gallery opening with Squeaky Fromme on my mind. The show’s theme was “Distances.” Most of the pieces were icons honoring animals and landscapes. The artist’s statement read, “My work calculates the distances between humanity and nature. I find that, in my own life, I am both an animal lover and a carnivore.” Squeaky Fromme would reject such hypocrisy and spit on the artist.

Rabid radicals make lousy stand-up comics. If I had been Squeaky Fromme I would not have brandished a gun at the President. I would have gently bounced a gold ball off Gerald Ford’s chest, in solidarity with all those American citizens he frightened and injured with his errant drives from the tee. If I had been Squeaky Fromme I would love animals, eat meat, and hop up and down and rub my belly at the same time.

Squeaky Fromme wants out of prison. If she walks free among us again she will, according to her Web site, immediately join the militant Earth Liberation Front. Yes, she has a point. We the people are “constantly agitated appetent organisms” and leave in our wake oceans of trash, clear-cut forests, smog, nuclear waste and landfills full of sheetrock, particle board, plastic grocery bags, the thousands of carcasses of roadkill and the bloody bony slop from our slaughterhouses.

The part of me that loves animals agrees with the Squeakster. We the people need corrective shoes, and maybe even a little quiet time in the corner. Still, here’s hoping the parole board keeps the Squeakatollah in prison, at a distance, forever. We the people are not ready for drastic changes. We’re not even close.


Swing Swang Swung by Laura Wacha

Swing Swang Swung by Laura Wacha

Laura Wacha—“Aniles Fabulae

The Katrina Lasko Gallery in Bernalillo will feature paintings by Laura Wacha in a show opening on June 12 and running through July 22. These strange, dark, scary works were shown in the Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts "SO Que" show in early 2004. Here are some of the artist’s statements about her work:

    Painting as though I were God; creating a population, giving them personality and life, and then tripping them up for my own amusement. I can give my charges an extra head, an octopus can enter the room, a baby can fly. A man smoking four cigarettes is in no danger of cancer, except in the mind of the viewer. Actually, it's not quite that simple, even for a god. Often a subconscious truth appears, unintended, but higher, better than my conscious brain is capable of. Not so much painting as though I were God, rather painting as though I were a really good psychiatrist.

    Once when I was on line at the bank, a man was giving me the eye, apparently noting my paint-smeared overalls.

    "Are you a painter?" he asked.

    "Yes", I replied.


    "What kind of rates do you charge for residential exteriors?"

    That I was a house painter and not an artist was a fair assumption, I suppose. After all, I was making a deposit.

    Maybe all creative people entertain some desire to be rich or famous or immortal. To obtain the admiration of others and leave some sort of mark. Well, why not? Life is too short not to aspire to something, but, ultimately, I do my paintings for myself. Sometimes to vent my spleen, sometimes to explore my psyche, but always to entertain and exercise my brain. My paintings generally amuse me, and I enjoy solving the technical and artistic puzzles that they present. For me, the best parts of creating a painting are at the conception and the near-completion. I enjoy the initial fleshing out and playing with an idea, as well as the "what is wrong with this picture?" phase.

A public reception will be held for the Wacha show on Saturday, June 12, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The Katrina Lasko Gallery is at 336 North Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo. The gallery is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. For more information on this exhibit, call 505-867-2523 or 505-570-2523, or visit




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