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Katherine Irish, in her studio
Photo credit: Oli Robbins

c. Katherine Irish

c. Katherine Irish

Paintings, by Katherine Irish

Signpost Featured Artist

Katherine Irish, skywatcher

—Oli Robbins

Placitas landscape painter Katherine Irish has been a “skywatcher” for as long as she can remember. Her paintings portray snapshots of New Mexico’s abounding, energetic skies. Even though Katherine perceives nature as teeming with movement and intensity, when gazing at the sky her experience is one of quietude and serenity. “Every day, every moment is different. When I look at a sunset or when I’m looking at a sky, I feel a sense of quiet.”

For Katherine, the great power of nature becomes palpable as it is reflected in the sky, whereas on the ground, things seem to move more slowly. And even though the sky is nothing if not vast, connecting each corner of the world, Katherine tends to focus solely on New Mexico. Says Katherine, “When traveling, I’ll see things, but I think I have to be in a place to absorb it, to really do paintings of it... I don’t have that same kind of connection as I have here. It’s kind of that heart connection I feel when I see a sunset.”

Katherine has been painting since her earliest days, and doesn’t remember a time when art wasn’t a part of her life. But, growing up in Decatur, Illinois, she wasn’t often exposed to masterpieces from the history of art and therefore found herself looking elsewhere for inspiration. She pored over the “P” section of her family’s World Book Encyclopedia, marveling at reproductions of world-famous paintings. Then, in the eight grade, one of her teacher-nuns noticed her proclivity toward drawing and tasked her with taking home holy cards to copy and return. She later sharpened her artistic knowledge and abilities at Indiana’s DePauw University, where she received a BFA. During her junior year, she studied at Rome’s Tyler School of art and soaked up Europe’s pervasive aesthetic offerings, journeying on a pilgrimage of sorts. She was especially drawn to the French Impressionists as well as Turner, Rouault, Redon, and Klee.

After college, uncertain whether art could provide her with a living, Katherine moved to New York and pursued a Master’s degree in Art Therapy. She continued to draw and paint, finding the city’s subways and streets replete with fascinating human subjects. Working as an art therapist introduced her to people with various mental disorders, many of whom she studied and painted. But despite the richness of New York’s art scene and its boundless vitality, Katherine opted to move out West, settling in Taos in 1982. “I just started really wanting to get more in touch with nature and be more in touch with nature,” says Katherine. She promptly started painting the skies of Taos, their manifold colors and clouds.

When her son was born in 1988, she continued to paint landscapes, but also developed a box painting business in order to maintain a steady income as well as a favorable schedule for parenthood. A few years later, Katherine moved further south, eventually making Placitas her home. In 1997, she went back to school for Counseling, a field in which she continues to work as both a school counselor and a therapist in a private practice.

Katherine usually works from her own photographs, never leaving home without her camera. She enjoys retreating to her studio to contemplate the evocation of light through color. Early on, she painted in oil, switching to pastels in 2002. She considers pastels more “hands-on” and “immediate” than oils. She’s a Signature Member of the NM Pastel Society and the Pastel Society of America. Her paintings were featured in and adorned the cover of Pastel Journal last summer. Says Katherine, “Skies are a window to a presence much larger than we are. At night, stars and planets remind us that there are many mysteries and of our scale in the larger scheme of existence. Skies teach us of our ever-changing experience in life, a moment never to be repeated, never the same.” Katherine’s paintings can be seen at Marigold Arts Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe and on her website:

Leviathan, mosaic, by Perri Yellin

Mosaic Artists of New Mexico (MANM) presents first group exhibition: Water

Water connects and enables all life on earth. In their first group exhibition, members of Mosaic Artists New Mexico (MANM) honor and celebrate this most precious life source as they explore the theme of water in various ways.

Participating MANM show artists include Barb Belknap, Cate Clark, Joel Davis, Lisa Domenici, Kayleen Dowell, Roger Evans, Jill Gatwood, Doreen Goodlin, Bosha Gordon, Patricia Halloran, Holly Kuhn, Erin Magennis, Laura Robbins, Marina Arbetman Rabinowitz, Riha Rothberg, Gayle Elaine Scott, Scottie Sheehan, and Perri Yellin.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception for Water on June 4, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at New Grounds art gallery, at 3812 Central Ave SE #100B, in Albuquerque. The show will remain available for viewing from June 3 to June 25. New Grounds is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment by calling 268-8952.

Mosaic Artists of New Mexico strives to create a forum which allows members to share ideas and techniques, exhibits and gallery shows, educational opportunities and outreach, and alternative venues for presentation of member’s work to the public. Their goal is to build lasting relationships with local businesses and other organizations for the arts and to explore mosaic as a fine art form.

For further information about the group, visit

Former gallery owner Linda McClain breaks cake with new owner Wanda Kuprienko of Hoot Art Gallery.

Whooo’s helping with the grand opening?

Hoot Art Gallery takes flight

Placitas welcomed Wanda and Ron Kuprienko last month for the official Grand Opening of Hoot Art Gallery. Linda McClain, the previous gallery owner helped Wanda pass out the cake made by the Range Café to the many people who packed the gallery.

Stephen J. McKibbin of “On a Wing and a Prayer” was there with a Great Horned-Owl, a Barn Owl, and a Screech Owl, and talked about wildlife rehabilitation and educational programs about owls. This Barn Owl showed off her wide wing spread to the delight of the crowd.

Hoot Art Gallery represents more than 100 local and regional artists and is located in the Homestead Shopping Village, next to the Placitas Café and the Merc.

Jane Ellen at Placitas Library

The Placitas Community Library offers the incomparable Jane Ellen presenting “Yip Harburg: Broadway’s Social Conscience” on June 18, at 2:00 p.m. The program is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Yip Harburg was a popular song lyricist who worked with many well-known composers; he eventually became known as Broadway’s social conscience. He was a unique contributor to the American musical tapestry. His works ranged from Brother, Can You Spare a Dime, April in Paris, and It’s Only a Paper Moon to creative concept work on the film Wizard of Oz along with lyrics set to melodies by Harold Arlen to the Broadway triumph Finian’s Rainbow.

A popular instructor of history, religion, and musical programs at both the OASIS and the Osher Institute, Jane Ellen is a published, award-winning composer who shares her passion for music, history, and religious studies with Albuquerque audiences.

ABQ Folk Festival—a happening June 3-4

The Red Light Ramblers of Placitas and Cedar Crest will perform at the Albuquerque Folk Festival on June 4. Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum will headline along with Growling Old Men, and The Mike and Ruthy Band. Back by popular demand are Ryanhood from Tucson. Also performing, are The Bill Hearne Trio, Noseeums from Taos, Antonia Apodoca from Las Vegas, NM, and Maria y Yahví of Las Cruces/El Paso. Other New Mexican and regional performers include Cactus Tractor, Lone Piñon, and Bayou Seco Duo.

The festival presents 120 non-stop events at 15 different venues at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum on June 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Texas singer-songwriter Ray Wiley Hubbard is featured at a fundraising kick-off concert Friday evening June 3 at the Museum. Nonprofits AMP concerts and the Albuquerque Folk Festival have joined to present this wonderfully energetic band. Tickets are at Hold My Ticket.

Designed to be fully participatory and family-oriented, the Festival expects to attract up to five thousand attendees who will have a myriad of opportunities to learn how to sing, dance, play instruments, jam with other musicians, and simply enjoy the extensive variety of entertainment offerings.

Planet Music, which provides instruments from around the world for children and others to play and participatory workshops in song, play, dance, and storytelling, offer a full day for the entire family.

Also available: free instrument checkroom, free bike valet, band scramble, and air conditioners spaces to cool off. Chairs are provided. Local craft, food, and beverage vendors will be available, including beer from local breweries. Buy or sell an instrument at the consignment booth.

A Saturday evening contradance features the award-winning Albuquerque MegaBand. Dance is taught by a FolkMADS dance caller. Also in evening is an international folk dance.

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is located at 9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE, in Albuquerque. There is free parking and free camping with jamming from Friday at 4 p.m. through Sunday at noon.

Tickets are available online from At the gate, ticket prices are twenty dollars for adults, five dollars for kids 12 through 17, $15 Seniors, Military, and Students 18-25 with ID. Children under 12 are free.

Evening shows and dances are $15 dollars. For more information, go to the website (, or call 301-2822.

The Albuquerque Folk Festival is a not-for-profit, 501(c) (3) and 509 (a) (2) public charity, made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Albuquerque’s Urban Enhancement Trust Fund and Cultural Services Department—Mayor Richard Berry; Bernalillo County, Community Services Division; and the New Mexico Music Guild.

c. Michael Andryc

Listening to the Call of the Wild Acrylic on Masonite, 4’ x 2’, by Michael Andryc​

Michael Andryc art exhibit in Jemez Springs

From June 11 to June 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, acrylic painter Michael Andryc will present his art at Jemez Fine Art Gallery, 17345 Highway 4, Jemez Springs.

Michael draws from the imagination, family history, dreams, jokes, and current events in an attempt to “write (his) own version of history.” The end result is usually something that loosely resembles folk art but that he sometimes jokingly refers to as “Folk Art Gone Wrong.”

Most recently, he has done indoor shows at the Fuller Lodge Arts Center in Los Alamos, the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals (Fall and Spring), the NM Arts and Crafts Fair, and he is looking forward to his first Balloon Fiesta Show in October. He has recently joined the Jemez Fine Art Gallery in Jemez Springs. You can see more of his work at: or

An artist’s reception will be held on June 11, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the gallery. Open to the general public, free, family-friendly venue, overflow parking available in the Jemez Springs Village lot.

c. Sean Moon

Drawing, by Sean Moon

Sean Moon at the Placitas Community Library

The drawings and paintings of young artist Sean Moon will be featured at the Placitas Community Library.

He states, “When it comes to creating, I’m eclectic. I do many things very well and would prefer not to be put into a box. So far I’ve worked with pencil, colored pencil, acrylics, airbrush, and tattoo ink. My art can be found on canvas, paper, walls, shoes, clothes, and people. The genres of art I have explored are realism, cartooning, surrealism, abstraction, and design. The things that influence my art are beauty, social injustices, challenges, and resilience. I understand that all my tribulations and choices have led me to this moment. I want nothing less than to leave a positive mark on the world with my creativity.”

An artist reception will be held on June 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Collin Room. His solo exhibit will run from May 31 to June 30.

c. Linda Heath

Plum Time, still life painting, by Linda Heath

Heath exhibits still lifes

—Linda Heath

Two of my still life paintings will be displayed at the New Mexico Art League’s show from April 30 through June 4. It’s called The World in a Still Life and is located at the League’s building in Albuquerque, 3409 Juan Tabo NE. Hope you have time to stop by and enjoy it. For more information, go to

Free events for adults at Esther Bone Memorial Library

Route 66: art and photography exhibit

Come to Esther Bone Memorial Library to see the artwork and photography of the Rio Rancho Art Association. The art will hang from May 5 through July 7.

Bookworms book clubs

Esther Bone Memorial Library’s morning Bookworms club will meet on June 10, at 11:00 a.m., to discuss The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander. The Tuesday Bookworms group will meet on June 14, at 4:30 p.m. to discuss a favorite book, author, or genre to introduce attendees to something new.

Beginning drawing

Sue Hanauer of the Rio Rancho Art Association will teach the nine fundamental laws for drawing that create that illusion of depth on June 18, at 10:00 a.m. All materials will be provided. Registration is required and starts thirty days prior to the program. Sign up at, by calling 891-5012, ext. 3128 or by stopping by the library information desk.

Route 66 in New Mexico

Bruce Shaffer, a member of the New Mexico Route 66 Association, will be speaking on June 21, at 6:30 p.m., about the history of the 2,448-mile Route 66, and the impact it had on developing America.

The library is located at 950 Pinetree Road SE in Rio Rancho. For more information call 891-5012, ext. 3128.

Loma Colorado Main Library free programs for adults

  • June and July: Route 66 themed summer reading program
  • June 13-June 25: Test your knowledge about Route 66
  • June 14: color, craft, and chat with a group of like-minded adults from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. For adults (18 and up).
  • June 15: Route 66 card craft 6:00 p.m.
  • June 13-July 29: Spirit of Route 66: Amy Ditto Fine Art Images
  • June 16: art opening of Amy Ditto’s Spirit of Route 66 exhibit with a concert from Peter Chase’s Americana Folk music from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • June 22: Historic architecture of Route 66 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • June 23: Medicare basics at 6:00 p.m.
  • June 25: Route 66 creative writing workshop from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Register online at, or call 891-5013 ext. 3033, or stop by the information desk.
  • June 28: Police Information Exchange: Chief’s Night Out from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Meet Rio Rancho’s Chief of Police Michael Geier.
  • June 29: Flying saucers: the evidence, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Call for artists for the annual Renaissance ArtsFaire in Las Cruces

—Kathleen Albers

The Doña Ana Arts Council is seeking artists and high-quality crafters for the 45th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire that will be held November 5 and 6, at Young Park in Las Cruces. Interested artisans are encouraged to apply online at, “Renaissance ArtsFaire 2016.” Application deadline is July 15, 2016.

This juried event is organized by the Doña Ana Arts Council, a 501(c)(3) organization that has supported the arts in Southern New Mexico for more than 45 years. All income generated by gate receipts, booth fees, and beverage sales goes to support arts in education and other Arts Council programs throughout the year. The Renaissance ArtsFaire features approximately 180 vendor booths, and is recognized as one of the finest of its kind in the Southwest. The event is widely promoted throughout the region in print, radio, television, and direct mailings. Attendance is 13,000 to 18,000 visitors each year.

The Doña Ana Arts Council offices are located on the second floor of the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main Street, Las Cruces. For clarification or additional information, visit or contact Linda Moore, at or 575-523-6403.

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