Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

c. Ben Forgey 

Ben Forgey: Untitled

c. Evey Jones 

Evey Jones: "Homescape in Blue"

c. Barry McCormick

Barry McCormick: "Luna Bathing in the Night Sky"

Signpost featured artists step out

Signpost Staff

Three Sandoval County artists who have been Featured Artists in the Signpost are coming together to present a show with an intriguing variety of media and methods at the Harwood Art Center next month.

Printmaker Evey Jones came up with the idea when she realized that two or three artists exhibiting together tend to attract an unusual mix of viewers—“and how different can people be, than we three?”

“Figure, Abstraction, Myth” juxtaposes the figurative photography of Barry McCormick, the woodwork of Ben Forgey, and Jones’s monochromatic monotypes on silk. The show opens April 3 during First Friday Artscrawl, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and continues through April 24.

Contrast is not the only motivation here; the three friends have also discovered their complementary concerns with surface, texture, form, and light—what McCormick calls “a seductive diversity, a vibration of opinion.”

“We’re artists sharing one universe,” adds Jones. “We can’t help but see and be influenced by the diverse work of others. I think this show demonstrates what can happen in one part of that universe containing just three artists.”

Viewers will have to judge for themselves how that corner of the universe, in southern Sandoval County, may contribute. Jones and McCormick live in Placitas; Forgey in Bernalillo.

“Figure, Abstraction, Myth” will show at the Harwood Art Center, 1114 7th Street NW in Albuquerque from April 3 to April 24. The Center is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, contact Barry McCormick at 771-8913.

Also exhibiting this month is Placitas photographer Fernando Delgado, whose sensuous abstractions of porcelain vases were detailed in the Signpost in December 2006.

In “The Architecture of Nature,” on exhibit at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gallery, Delgado turns his soft, penetrating gaze to the dynamic range of forms found in nature, both familiar and strange.

Nature is the beginning and end of all structure, the Cuban-born photographer writes of the current body of large-scale photographs. By freezing life in motion, photography treats both life and death. He hopes that his exploration of the mysteries of form will “inspire others to appreciate and preserve our fragile world.”

“The Architecture of Nature” shows at AIA Gallery, 202 Central Avenue SE in Albuquerque through March 26. The gallery is open weekdays from noon to 5:00 p.m. More information is available at

Duende Poetry Series hosts prominent poets from Santa Fe and Taos  

The Duende Poetry Series Invitational presents three exciting and visionary northern New Mexico poets on Sunday, March 15 at 3:00 p.m. The poets have just received the New Mexico Literary Arts’ first Gratitude Award for their efforts in the advancement of poetry in the state. The Gratitude Awards were initiated to honor people who have advanced the art of poetry in New Mexico, either as poets, organizers, or activists. The Gratitude Awards are selected, according to merit, by the New Mexico Library Association board of directors.

This is the Duende Poetry Series’ seventeenth reading event in the fifth year of the series. You couldn’t have more New Mexican flavor than they’re serving up at this event. After the three featured poets, there will be a thirty-minute open mic for local poets. There will be a four-minute time limit per poet.

Starting off the reading will be Mary McGinnis. She has been writing and living in New Mexico since 1972. In 2008, she published a collaborative book with artist Mary Gray called October Again, and her full-length collection, Listening For Cactus (Sherman Asher Publishing) will be available at the reading. She writes poems of place, love, nature, and death, and is inspired by the inner and outer landscape of New Mexico. She juggles full-time employment as an advocate at New Vistas with her career as a poet. This remarkable poet is vision-impaired and therefore reads from memory or from Braille.

Peter (Rabbit) Douthit has been writing and performing poetry since his teens. He attended several colleges including Black Mountain College. He has been a bohemian, beatnik, hippie, and World Poetry Bout emissary. He’s performed and lectured at colleges, universities, museums, jazz clubs, bars, supermarkets, festivals, and strip clubs all over the U.S. and Canada. Peter has been part of the commune movement since the mid-1960s. His book Drop City (Olympia Press, 1971) is an underground classic. At the time Peter was at Drop City outside Trinidad, Colorado, we had Drop City South here in Placitas. He was founder of Libre, an artists’ commune in Colorado that recently celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Peter, along with Anne MacNaughton, invigorated the World Poetry Bout Association (WPBA) and produced the World Champion Poetry Bouts of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Peter has six books (poetry and prose) and is a founding member of The Luminous Animal, the jazz/poetry ensemble that has been performing in and around Taos since the early ‘80s.

Anne L. MacNaughton is adjunct professor of English at the University of New Mexico, Taos, past-director of the long-running Taos Poetry Circus, and a performer and founding member of The Luminous Animal jazz-poetry ensemble. Her work has been published in journals and in anthologies, including The Best Poetry of 1989 (Scribner), Robert Bly’s The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart (HarperCollins), and In Company: an Anthology of New Mexico Poets after 1960 (UNM Press).

After the performances, Anasazi Fields wines will be available for tasting and purchasing. In addition to the wine bar, there will be tasty snacks and non-alcoholic drinks available. This event is free to the public, but donations are encouraged to help pay the participants. The event will feature extraordinary poetry, wine, snacks, fellowship, and fantastic conversation. Books, broadsides, and CDs will be available for purchase.

The Duende Poetry Series puts on quarterly poetry readings of note for the benefit of the community of Placitas and others. The poetry series is kindly supported by the Witter Bynner Foundation. For information, contact Jim Fish at 867-3062 or, Cirrelda Snider-Bryan at 897-0285 or Also, you can check out the Anasazi Fields website at The reading after this will be on June 14th and will feature Luci Tapahonso, Navajo poet and storyteller; Hakim Bellamy; and Maria Leyva, both poets from Albuquerque.

To reach the Winery, turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos across from the Presbyterian Church and follow the road to the Winery. For those outside Placitas, take I-25 to Placitas (exit 242), drive six miles east to the Village, turn left at the sign just before the Presbyterian Church, and follow Camino de los Pueblitos through two stop signs to the Winery entrance. All are welcome.

Library presents local author James Raciti

Poet, playwright, author, and educator James Raciti, a Rio Rancho resident, will recite his poetry from a variety of anthologies he has authored, including Charles, Dabs of Myself, and Birdchart Boy, on March 14 at 10:00 a.m. at the Esther Bone Memorial Library. This reading is part of the library’s New Mexico author series.

Raciti will be available to sell and sign his books after the reading and give the audience an opportunity to ask questions. The Library is located at 950 Pinetree Road SE in Rio Rancho. For information, call 891-5012, ext. 3128.


Be entertained by Willy Sucre and Friends

On Sunday, March 29, The Placitas Artists Series will present Willy Sucre and Friends playing cello quartets. Violist Willy will be joined by two violinists, Megan Holland and Kerri Lay, as well as two cellists, James Holland and Dana Winograd. Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.

Megan Holland, originally from Albuquerque, has spent several years in Charleston with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. She recently relocated to the west side of Albuquerque with her husband James Holland, and she is currently a finalist for the Concertmaster position in the Santa Fe Symphony.

Kerri Lay grew up in Austin, Texas before making Santa Fe her permanent home in 1986. Since moving to Santa Fe, Lay has become a member of such distinguished groups as the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and the Santa Fe Symphony.

James Holland hails from Florida and made his home in the southeastern United States for many years. In 1996, he successfully auditioned to become Principal Cellist of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and cellist of the Charleston Symphony String Quartet, a position he held until 2007. He recently relocated to the west side of Albuquerque with his wife Megan Holland, and is the Santa Fe Symphony’s new Assistant Principal Cellist.

Originally from Los Angeles, Dana Winograd lived in New York City for a number of years, performing with the American Composer’s Orchestra and the American Symphony and on Broadway—both in the pit and on stage.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on March 29 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; an artists’ reception precedes the concert at 1:30. 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 Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza in Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 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 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.

c. Bill Skees

Parish Church, Brasilia, Brazil

c. Bill Skees

Antigua, Guatemala

c. Bill Skees

Street, Cap-Haitien

Bill Skees

Artist Bill Skees in his Placitas home.

Skees explores edges of creativity

—Keiko Ohnuma, Signpost

Bill Skees makes it all look so easy, you almost begrudge him his many talents until you realize that it is all part of his artful approach to life: following the path of least resistance.

Witness the room full of exquisitely rendered watercolor paintings and ink drawings from 2008, so perfect in their internal proportions that they look almost like photographs—except that the brush work is such an obvious part of their appeal.

In fact, these paintings are photographs, in a sense. Skees engineered his own artistic medium when he brought a lifetime of photography skills to the frustrations of beginning drawing.  

“When I started taking drawing lessons, I said, ‘Bill, I don’t think you’ll make it as a drawer,” he relates in his mellifluous Kentucky drawl. “I had been a professional photographer and wanted to go in my own direction, so I let photography be the jumping-off point.”

Skees decided to “paint” over his own photos using a computer drawing tablet set to his digitized medium of choice—usually watercolor or pen-and-ink. When he is satisfied with the results, he outputs them on an inkjet printer using art inks and watercolor paper. He demonstrated the technique at last year’s Placitas Studio Tour.

“I’m old, and I’m not going to live forever. I wanted to do something that would work for me,” he says. The print/paintings that line the walls of his house offer a dizzying gestalt between photography and traditional watercolor, raising postmodern questions about the role of the hand, eye, and mind of the artist—not exactly what you’d expect from a man who turns seventy years old this month.

Skees allows that most illustration done on computer graphics tablets is not considered fine art. But he notes that photography was not considered art for most of the last century either.

“I’m not going to argue about it,” he says pleasantly. “I wanted to make beautiful images that would last after I died.” And he seems to understand intuitively that this is what makes him an artist—just as he is a writer and a musician—simply because he admires and seeks to create beauty.

He confesses a particular weakness for the female form, immediately apparent in his racy detective novels and commercial portfolio of female nudes. But he makes no apologies for following the path of least resistance.

In his career, too, Skees went with his instincts. Math came easily to him, he says, and he lucked into a job at IBM at the dawn of the computer age. Before long, he was consulting to employers around the globe, teaching large corporations, universities, and government agencies how to use the mysterious new technology.

That left him a wealth of time for more creative endeavors: writing novels, shooting photographs, playing the organ, and sailing around the Caribbean with his family for five years. Pinch-hitting between left and right brain comes naturally, he says, from the standpoint of appreciating beauty.

“If you look at famous mathematicians, what struck them about it was the beauty. My favorite composer, Bach—he saw the beauty in math. I really believe they are one.”

The same unitary approach marks his engineering of new media through the hands and mind of a computer expert. Musically, for example, Skees digitized his 1970s-era Rodgers theater organ with samples of historic recordings; these he assembles and “plays” in quirky renditions of musical standards.

“Painting” or “playing,” Skees loves the fact that he can delete, undo, and save—actions that come as naturally to him as the bow to a violinist. But that has been his way with everything: a focus on the glory of the ends, rather than quibbling over means. On the back cover of one of his self-published detective novels, Skees describes himself as a writer, poet, essayist, sailor, delivery boat captain, computer scientist, advisor to presidential appointees, professional photographer, mathematician, artist, and traveler.

“It wasn’t hard to do,” he says of the transition from shooting photos as a hobby to hanging out his shingle in the 1980s. A model in his drawing class who worked as a doula introduced him to pregnant women who wanted nude portraits of themselves in swollen splendor. Soon he had a commercial portfolio of pregnant nudes and home births, as well as fitness queens and body builders.

Why the demand for such a thing?

Skees says he doesn’t know—and holds up a hand to indicate he doesn’t want to go there. He started out studying psychology in college, “but when I found out the things people ask, I realized I didn’t want to know,” he says simply.

Likewise with the many avenues of his creative spirit. He didn’t think that not being a musician should keep him from making music, as long as he records only what is in the public domain.

As for writing novels, shoot, anyone can find time to write, he says. “You can be writing just standing in the kitchen!” It’s not his excess energy that leads him down all these avenues, he says. Rather, Skees feels he’s lucky to have lived as long as he has, and that there must be a reason for it—though the thought of heaven lights up his face with an odd, beatific smile.

After spending five years sailing around the Caribbean islands while he jetted off to give his computer seminars in distant locales, Skees’s wife Carol announced that she had had enough, and was going “as far as I can from here,” Skees relates. That’s how they ended up in Placitas in 2004. Since then, he has contented himself with multifaceted creative endeavors, da Vinci or not.

He can’t name any particular artistic goal to this activity, except maybe that “I want to feel my children will be proud to have my paintings”—a thought he immediately shrugs off as unlikely.

“They’ve always thought their dad was crazy,” he says of his three kids. “They probably wished their dad was more like the others.” His youngest son learned to walk on a boat, and started screaming when they first put him on dry land. For Skees, too, there are things he might have done, but for the fact that married life is composed of worthwhile compromises.

He confesses there may still be one more creative venture left for him, however—one that he keeps in reserve, a boat he will pilot to a distant shore, where awaits the last paradise of beauty.


Artists display work for community

On Sunday, March 29, The Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Jan M. Bennett, Barbara Clark, Vangie Dunmire, and Roberta Wellems with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The works will be on display from the first Saturday of the month of March through the first Friday of the following month.

Jan M. Bennett does photography stills with film and then prints on traditional photo-chemical paper. Though she travels the globe capturing the culture and sprit of interesting and unusual people and places, she enjoys capturing the essence of New Mexico—especially traditional aspects that are disappearing.

Barbara Clark prefers to paint plein air and mostly in pastels, although sometimes she paints indoors. She also likes to likes to experiment with papers, pastels, and techniques. This includes experimentation with other media, such as acrylic and oil paints.

Vangie Dunmire has worked in several painting media but now focuses on watercolor. She paints mostly in her studio where she often refers to photographs taken while traveling by car or on foot, enjoying remote trails. She says watercolor application can be fast, but the paint may find its own design field on the surface by flowing into the wet paper and creating its own pattern.

Roberta Wellems says, “The past sixty years have been an experience of learning how to paint… Sometimes such exploration leads me to a deeper and better understanding of the abstract fundamentals of all art. Then, I think, I have a successful painting whether it is a watercolor, acrylic, oil, or mixed media and I think the joy of it shows in my work.”

A reception for the artists will be held at 1:30 p.m. on March 29, prior to a concert by Willy Sucre & Friends playing Cello Quintets. 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 Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza in Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 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. 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

Call for artists’ entries

The Placitas Artists Series Visual Arts Division is calling for artists to exhibit their works for the 2009-2010 season. Four artists, ages eighteen and over, are selected by jury for each month from September through May 2009-2010. The works must be original, not from kits or copied. All media are accepted.

Each month there will be three artists whose works hang on the walls of the gallery and the fourth artist will be one whose work is free-standing or sits on a table, e.g., sculpture, weavings, jewelry, pottery, etc. All artists receive a year’s exposure on our website.

The application process closes May 1, 2009. Notification will be by July 15, 2009. For a prospectus, send a SASE to Judith Roderick, 72 Overlook Drive, Placitas, NM 87043 or download a prospectus from our website at

Esther Bone Memorial Library opens art exhibit for Pat Berrett

On March 7 at 10:00 a.m., the Esther Bone Memorial Library will hold a reception for featured artist Pat Berrett. Mr. Berrett will be available to discuss his techniques and his work with attendees. Refreshments will be served.

The exhibition, entitled “Dancers in the New Mexico Landscape,” will show from March 5 through May 7 at the library. Two of Berrett’s passions are photographing dancers and the New Mexico landscapes. Combining the two genres, the artist asks his models to perform dance outside in a variety of settings, capturing light and background.

The Esther Bone Memorial Library is located at 950 Pinetree Road SE in Rio Rancho. For information, call 891-5012, ext. 3128.

Fernando Delgado

Fernando Delgado in his Placitas studio.

c. Fernando Delgado

"Anthurium No.1" and "Orchid No.2"

Fernando Delgado: the architecture of nature

—Melody Mock

Three of the photographs in Fernando Delgado’s exhibition are of a giraffe’s vertebra. Viewed from different angles, each contains a shape which fills the picture plane. One resembles an angel facing the viewer with wings outstretched, a rather oversized head, and arms extended. The graceful angel-like image is further emphasized by the pale tones of the bone.

In his other two photographs of the vertebra, titled “Personage, Homme” and “Personage, Femme,” it is almost impossible to tell that it is the same object captured from different angles. The bone’s design has provided a multitude of planes, angles, curves, and protrusions which the artist has explored with his camera.

These three pieces are in an exhibition of twenty photographs by Fernando Delgado titled “The Architecture of Nature,” currently on view at the American Institute of Architects Gallery in downtown Albuquerque.

For this show, Delgado has presented a cohesive body of work, with each photograph focusing on a particular object or group of objects from nature. He began the series several years ago when his brother sent him a box of live flowers. In these first photos, intensely vivid orchids and anthuriums float on dark backgrounds. From tropical blooms, he moved to plants of the desert. His “Palm Yucca Triptych” contains a close-up of a single unopened blossom surrounded by two photos filled with yucca blooms. Missing from the image are the pointy yucca spears.

Delgado moved from New York to New Mexico four years ago. He has spent twenty-five years as an art director, pursuing a career with Macy’s, Avon, Bloomingdale’s, Bonwit Teller, and Young & Rubicam Advertising. Working with some of the best talent in the industry informed and shaped his vision. He believes that he has instinctively always been a photographer; however, he became serious about taking photos in 2004. After his years of designing for others, he found himself behind the camera, making his own images.

Last year, Delgado presented “Compositions,” a photographic exhibit composed of abstract shapes at Artspace 116 in Albuquerque. Divided into three parts, the show explored shades of black, white, and colors. Although “Compositions“ was the initial body of work that he chose to present, “The Architecture of Nature“ contains pieces which were his first foray into photography. There are similarities between the two series. Graceful curves fill the surface and the play with light and shadow is evident. The Nature series, however, focuses on specific objects rather than pure shape. Jagged edges, though natural, provide tension. The surfaces are filled with bones, live plants, antlers, seashells, rocks, and leaves. There are many close-ups, and some are partially abstracted, but the items are still recognizable.

Through these photographs, the artist says that he is trying to get into the soul of the objects. Following the teachings of Arthur Wesley Dow, he attempts to fill the space with beauty. As he moves through the process of elimination and emphasis, he finds that universal symbols emerge in his images.

“Victory” is an anthurium leaf that he watched dry out until it finally took the shape that he ultimately photographed. It does indeed bear a resemblance to the Greek “Winged Victory of Samothrace.” The leaf’s veins, curls, and wrinkles and the texture of the Greek statue’s gown and wings have a recognizable similarity, as do the overall shapes of both pieces. A piece of a cedar root found at Ghost Ranch became “Icon,” a shape which resembles a person, or perhaps a crucifix. In “Eternal”, a pair of deer antlers is positioned vertically and seems to turn into the shape of a tree with branches intertwined.

Working with available light, Delgado often uses mirrors to reflect daylight onto his subject. He finds that the light in New Mexico is different than anywhere he has been. “The sun in the high desert—a huge bank of light without obstructions—brings a clarity and a definition to form that is very attractive and exciting to me.”

He cites the artist Karl Blossfeldt as an influence. Through his images of plant forms, Blossfeldt sought to link the designs of the natural world to the world of art. The photographs of Imogen Cunningham also come to mind, with her interest of plant forms.

As Delgado explains, “Architecture by definition is the structure of anything. Consequently, nature is the beginning and the end.” Through his images, he wishes to foster a renewed appreciation for life and the beauty and energy that surrounds us.

Delgado still travels to New York on art director assignments, although he now considers New Mexico home. You can see more of his work during the Placitas Studio Tour, to be held on May 9 and 10.  

“The Architecture of Nature“ is on display through March 26 at the AIA Gallery at the American Institute of Architects office, located in downtown Albuquerque at 202 Central Avenue SE, Suite 103. Gallery hours are 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, call 242-9800.






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