An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Gary Sanchez
Gary Sanchez stands in front of his oil and pastel on sandpaper, Taos Morning

Sunset in Truchas, Gary SanchezSunset in Truchas, oil on canvas, by Gary Sanchez Corn Dance, by Gary Sanchez
Corn Dance, pastel on paper, by Gary Sanchez

Signpost featured artist of the month
Sanchez devotes himself to art, teaching

It can be difficult to separate student from teacher in the Algodones Elementary School classroom of painter Gary Sanchez.

About 150 kids from age four through grade five pass through the portable every week for art instruction that spills over into other areas. Mixing colors becomes a lesson in fractions; filtering light through a prism creates a rainbow and a discussion of Sir Isaac Newton.

Based on research showing that children exposed to art and music become better students, it's a curriculum grown from an after-school program four years ago to a regular part of the Bernalillo district's grade schools. Even the teacher learns.
“I try to give them the fundamentals,” the forty-four-year-old Belen native said. “Then they'll do something different, and I'll say, 'Why didn't I think of that?'

“They teach me every day. It's made me a better artist.”

Beyond the lesson plan, teaching allows Sanchez to devote himself full-time to art, a goal set as he walked through a Dallas cultural neighborhood in the early 1990s.

“I saw an artist doing portraits and decided I want to get back,” he said. “I got reinterested in art.”

From his own childhood, Sanchez remembers art as a self-prescribed therapy after death severed the close relationship with his grandfather. His mother supported his talents, enrolling him in art classes; he had his first one-artist show at age seventeen and won an art scholarship.

Art school lasted a semester—he didn't like what they were teaching—so instead he earned degrees in public affairs and urban planning and was deep into a career as planner and budget analyst when he took the fateful stroll in Dallas. Seven years ago he moved back to New Mexico and began taking classes from well-known masters.

Since then his paintings have appeared in galleries and shows and on festival posters and a billboard, won a first place at the New Mexico State Fair, and entered public and private collections.

While he often works in oil and acrylic, many of his images rise in layers, a sketch and underpainting of watercolor with an over-painting of pastels providing detail and depth.

“Working out the underpainting is critical,” Sanchez said. “Sometimes I have a clear idea of what I want to do, and sometimes the painting takes over.

“That's why I try to keep it loose in the beginning.”

Drawing inspiration from the Spanish Baroque painter Diego Velazquez, many Sanchez images are classically New Mexican, from a Pueblo corn maiden to the large-scale landscape Taos Morning, where the Sangre de Cristos rise in the distance while a horse pauses in a pasture. His largest images, a triptych of three adobe churches titled La Iglesia Nuevo Mexicana, currently grace an American Home Furnishings billboard at San Mateo and Lomas, in Albuquerque.

Locally, Sanchez's work can be seen at the Range Café and Prairie Star Restaurant, the Indigo Gallery in Madrid, and in Albuquerque at de Colores in Old Town and American Home Furnishings. He also shows at the annual Contemporary Hispanic Market in Santa Fe.

A sample of his painting can be seen by visiting and clicking on the Featured Artist link.

Darryl Willison to celebrate birthday with his art, friends

America’s Drawing Cowboy, Darryl Willison, will be celebrating his birthday by sharing his vibrant new work with patrons of the Range Café, in Bernalillo, on Saturday, March 11.

Darryl’s work just completed an exhibition at the Booth Western Art Museum, in Cartersville, Georgia, forty-five minutes north of Atlanta.

“It was truly an honor to be appreciated as a unique Western artist by the museum,” said Darryl. “Now it is your turn to see the art that made the Georgians smile.”

The art show and sale will be from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Darryl invites you to take advantage of dinner at the Range, soak up the live entertainment, and see his show. For further details, call Art Gallery 66, at 867-8666 or the Range Café, at 867-1700.

New Bernalillo art co-op features the work of plein-air artists

In mid-February, the new Plein Air New Mexico gallery quietly opened its doors in downtown Bernalillo. It is a cooperative venture of about thirty local artists. The Plein Air New Mexico group shows representational work that is done from life. The works are primarily landscapes done outside but also include some still-life and figure work, done from live models.

The new gallery is in the Old Town Shoppes of Bernalillo, at 733 Camino del Pueblo. The Old Town Shoppes area is rapidly becoming a focal point for downtown specialty stores and will participate in the city's renovation plans. The gallery is about a block and a half north of the Range Café, on the west side, and will be directly opposite the new RailRunner Center.

Plein-air painting, from the French en plein air, means painting in outdoor daylight and was popularized in the eighteen-hundreds by the French Impressionists, such as Claude Monet. However, landscape painters actually started painting outside in Italy prior to that, in the late seventeen-hundreds; in France, as part of the Barbizon School; and here in America, at the famous Hudson River School in New York. Plein air became especially popular in the early part of the twentieth century, when it was influenced by the California Impressionists. The movement has grown so that now many plein-air groups exist in different states and countries around the world.

With our incredible landscapes and large artist population, it is fitting that New Mexico now has its own plein-air group, called, appropriately, Plein Air New Mexico. A Placitas resident, Deborah Paris, started the organization in October, 2004, with twenty-five members. Now with members numbering more than 120, including some nationally known artists, the group is starting to receive regional and national recognition. (See member and show information at

The opening event for the PANM Gallery is an evening reception on Friday, March 17 (Saint Patrick's Day), from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Regular hours until summer will be from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Expect to hear more from this fast-developing group of New Mexico artists.

March arrives with string quartets

The Placitas Artists Series presents Willy Sucre and Friends in a program of string quartets on March 5. Violist Willy Sucre will be joined by violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Kerri Lay and cellist Joanna de Keyser. The program will include the “Lark” String Quartet in D Major, op. 64, No. 5, by Haydn; Franz Schubert's Quartettsatz in C Minor, and the String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1, by Johannes Brahms.

The concert is generously sponsored by First Community Bank.
New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Krzysztof Zimowski and Joanna de Keyser, UNM professor emerita and Seraphin Trio member, are familiar returning “friends.” Santa Fe violinist Kerri Lay performs with such distinguished groups as the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, and Santa Fe Pro Musica. She teaches violin, and founded Bellissima, a music-contracting service specializing in classical ensembles for weddings and other special events.

Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for March exhibiting visual artists Dorothy “Bunny” Bowen, Sylvia Eisenhart, Renee Brainard Gentz, and Anna Goodridge.

Working on silk with dyes resisted by molten wax, batik artist Bunny Bowen creates distinctive works of art. In addition to batik pieces, Bowen works in the ancient Japanese technique of rozome.

Sylvia Eisenhart works in watercolor, acrylic, and oil, as well as producing mixed-media pieces. Eisenhart enlarges and brings into view shapes, color, and light sources that are often overlooked. She explains that “as light is integrated, the canvases come to life, giving the feeling as to space and time molding one's thoughts, words, and color into a finished canvas.”

Fabric and collage artist Renee Brainard Gentz dyes and paints cotton and silk fabric, which is then cut and reassembled, using repetitive patterns so that the colors become the focus. Quilting and dangling threads add yet another layer of color contrasts to her award-winning creations.

Anna Goodridge works with oils, multimedia, and collage, painting with a layering of oils. “My paintings are windows for imaginations to wander,” she says.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on March 5; the artists' reception begins at 1:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center, in Placitas; at Gatherings, 9821 Montgomery NE, in Albuquerque; or online at Prices are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students.

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 six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242.) For more information, call 867-8080 or visit

Edward Gonzales receives award

Artist Edward Gonzales is the 2006 recipient of The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Arts Award. Gonzales will travel to San Antonio, Texas, on March 3 for the presentation, during the AAHHE national conference. Past award recipients of the award include painter Amado Peña and playwright Luís Valdez.

“This award has been established to recognize Latinos/Latinas who have contributed significantly to our understanding of our Hispanic community and culture through a medium in the arts or performing arts. Six awards are presented annually by AAHHE to honor key leaders, scholars, teachers, and artists who have advocated, supported, and championed Latinos in higher education.”

Many of Gonzales’s paintings have been published as posters that promote learning and literacy. Gonzales has his studio and gallery in Corrales.

Corrales June art show calls for entries

Artists are called to enter the Fourteenth Annual San Ysidro Carnival of Arts, a New Mexico multimedia show and sale, to be held in Corrales June 3 and 4 at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church. The show is presented by the Corrales Visual Arts Council. The deadline for mailing entry forms, fees, and photos of work is Saturday, March 25. For details and an application form, please phone Deb Kennedy, at 344-2110, or Hope Grey, at 897-3942.

Count Basie Orchestra

Count Basie Orchestra

Count Basie Orchestra coming to Rio Rancho

The world-famous Count Basie Orchestra will play at Rio Rancho High School Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 8, at 7:00 p.m.

The concert, presented in partnership with the Band Boosters of Rio Rancho, will benefit the Rio Rancho High School Band program. Outpost Production will assist in the concert directed by Bill Hughes and featuring Butch Miles.

With seventeen Grammy awards, two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, and nine DownBeat Readers and Critics Poll Awards, the Count Basie Orchestra is one of the most famous and long-lasting big bands in jazz history. The band's nineteen musicians grew up with the Kansas City Swing style of Count Basie and have added their own voices to this tradition. Several members were hired by the legendary Count himself. Playing over two hundred dates each year, the band still tours worldwide, spreading the highly identifiable Count Basie Kansas City-style musical heritage.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door (no Outpost member discounts for this benefit performance) and may be purchased in advance at the Outpost Performance Space; Baum's Music, 2908 Eubank NE, near Raley’s; Grandma's Music and Sound, 9310 Coors Boulevard NW, at Paseo del Norte; and the Rio Rancho Chamber of Commerce, 4001 Southern Blvd SE, near Walgreens.

The Rio Rancho High School Performing Arts Center is at 301 Loma Colorado NE, Rio Rancho.

For further information, call 268-0044 or visit

Folk-art workshop in Oaxaca this July

This summer, local artist Julianna Kirwin, with Noel Chilton and the Sachmo Art Center, will present a Mexican folk-art workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico, geared for teachers, professional artists, and students. The class will be from July 10 to 21 and will be limited to fifteen people.

Attendees will travel to nearby villages to visit some of Oaxaca's most famous weavers, potters, and wood-carvers and learn from them how to create some of the folk arts for which Oaxaca is known.

At seven thousand feet, Oaxaca City is home to famous artists such as Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo, and serves as a center for indigenous art as well as thriving contemporary art forms. The bilingual Sachmo Art Center is in the heart of Oaxaca City. Its workshops, library, and studio spaces draw in young and old, oaxaqueños and visitors, amateurs and professional artists.

For a complete itinerary, costs, and more information, visit or call (505) 771-0590.






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