Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Signpost featured artist: Steve Spaulding

Steve Spaulding in his Placitas studio

c. Steve Spaulding 

c. Steve Spaulding

c. Steve Spaulding

Paintings, by Steve Spaulding

Remembering Steve Spaulding, artist

—Oli Robbins

Steve Spaulding carried many titles—husband and father, furniture maker, car restorer and racer, boat builder—but his lifelong engagement with art seemed to float under the radar. Steve, who passed away on the first day of this year, was a skilled and experienced painter, draftsman, photographer, and sculptor. Only a selection of his friends and family were aware of Steve’s artistic talents, and it is the hope of Linda, his widow, and Dylan and Oliver, his sons, that his art might finally be acknowledged.

Before moving to New Mexico, Steve held several celebrated positions in New York City’s art world. In addition to working as an art conservator and restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—the capital of American fine art museums—he also did work for the Metropolitan Opera, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the Leo Castelli Gallery. While he enjoyed being amid great art, he always longed for his work to be discovered and lauded, allowing him to create full-time. But he never publicized his work.

After moving out of NY, meeting Linda and starting a life in Placitas, Steve satisfied his artistic predilections by working in carpentry and furniture building. He opened a shop in Santa Fe—which was later relocated to Placitas—and completed commission work for both private homes and museums. Steve’s work ran the gamut from furniture, windows, and doors for elegant Santa Fe homes (Gene Hackman was a client) to installations of art objects at museums to panels or display cases for shows at such as institutions as the Smithsonian and Denver Art Museum. He further exercised his creativity by restoring antique cars and building boats. It was no doubt satisfying for him to craft things that were both aesthetically pleasing and able to be enjoyed in the functional realm. Dylan, reflecting upon all that Steve endowed him with, said: “I think that what he gave me was an appreciation for art and craftsmanship and an appreciation of ‘form’ in the artistic sense. That included the car restorations, the boat-building, and, more generally, ways of thinking about how to make something (almost anything) both utilitarian and artistic. That included the value of doing things with my hands—of creating—and of the processes involved.”

Pratt Institute in New York City offered Steve formal art education, and he remained a student of art throughout his life. Not only did Steve produce art weekly in drawing studios in Albuquerque, he amassed an impressive collection of art history and theory books. He taught himself by close inspection of art by the masters and by carefully reading his art history tomes alongside more esoteric art philosophy. His artwork ranges from realistic to abstract, and he experimented with various mediums, favoring graphite and pastels. His most beloved pieces are figurative and feature sketchy, highly emotive nudes that recall the psychologically intense portraits of Egon Schiele and Lucian Freud. Other standouts are his Fauve-like cityscapes and mixed-media narrative portraits. In a 2001 interview with Wes Pulkka, Steve said, “I leave the interpretation of my work to the viewer, but I place clues along the way to help tell a personal story within each piece.”

Steve didn’t often show his work, but when he did, it received the acclaim he sought. He participated in “Contemporary ’97,” an exhibition at Expo NM curated by SITE Santa Fe, and won the award for “Excellence in Contemporary Art.” A few years later, in 2001, his drawings and mixed-media constructions were part of a group showing at the Ortiz Domney Gallery Studio in Nob Hill, where Steve’s works were positively reviewed.

Says Linda, “Steve always wanted to be in Europe or a different time or different place. The art may have been what took him there—that and the armchair traveling through his books.” And even though Steve didn’t get to live in France as an artist in the 1920s, he did enjoy traveling and did so whenever possible. The Spauldings actually took a year off from work and school to sail the North Sea from 1989 to 1990. Steve navigated the family in a 33-foot, live-aboard sailboat from England to Holland, where they wintered. While abroad, they made lifelong friends, one of whom was to be the recipient of Steve’s very last painting, which he was completing at the time of his death. Says Linda, “All three of us appreciate that Steve was a traveler and left us with amazing memories of our family trips and adventures—at sea and on land.”

The Spauldings invite the community to celebrate Steve—the artist—on the afternoon of March 28, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., at their home (09 Dos Hermanitas) in Placitas. This open house/memorial will be an art retrospective of sorts, with Steve’s pieces adorning the home and turning it into a gallery. Friends will finally get to see the fruits of Steve’s artistic dedication.

For more information, email Linda at:

Poets Tani Arness and Charles Potts

Duende Poetry Series launches new season

On March 8, starting at 3:00 p.m., Duende Poetry Series will welcome Tani Arness and Charles Potts to Placitas to kick off the new year.

Tani Arness is from Albuquerque but grew up in rural Poulsbo, Washington, before moving to the desert. The beauty of nature has always been a refuge for her and plays an important part in her sensitive work. A collection of her poems can be found in Tzimtzum: 5 contemporary poets lend us their hearts by Mercury Heartlink Press. Her poetry also appears in literary publications, including Malpais Review.

Charles Potts of Walla Walla, Washington, has authored 34 books, his latest is The Source. He’s a board member of Malpais Review and two of his books were published by Albuquerque’s West End Press.

For all Duende Poetry Series readings, wine, free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are available. The event is free, although donations are encouraged to pay the poets. For more information, contact Jim Fish at the winery at 867-3062 or email to To reach the winery, take I-25 to Placitas Exit 242, drive six miles to the old village of Placitas, then turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos, opposite the Presbyterian Church. After two stop signs, turn left into the winery parking lot.

c. Judith Roderick

Fabric art quilt, by Judith Roderick

Quilters show work at Placitas library

—Joann Fredrickson

Six Placitas quilters will be showcasing their work at the Placitas Community Library (PCL) during the month of March in celebration of National Quilting Month. The New Mexico Quilters’ Association (NMQA) invites you to a free, public reception to meet with the quilters on March 13, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Colin Room at the Library.

A featured quilter is Roderick who was recently honored as the monthly featured artist for the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) internationally, and will be the featured artist at the upcoming Albuquerque Fiber Arts exhibit in May.

Judith also exhibits at the Placitas Artist Series. She has been involved in silk painting for thirty years and has transferred that love to her hand painted quilts that often include many, many buttons. Other quilters in the exhibit and their representative works are Patty Bracht—Flowers & Vines Trio; Kathy Weil—Vista de Naranjo; Jo Kobler—Millenium Song; Maris Mason—Navajo Wedding Basket and Primary Geometry; and Jo Anne Fredrikson—Heavenly Sunflowers and Las Flores.

The NMQA guild in Albuquerque is hosting similar displays in public libraries throughout the Albuquerque metro area, including the East Mountains and Belen. NMQA members create and donate more than 750 quilts to area nonprofit organizations annually to provide comfort and joy to needy and sick children and adults, and to organizations as raffle items to support their causes.

Call for artists—Placitas Artists Series 2015-16 season

The Placitas Artists Series (PAS) invites all artists and craft-persons 18 years of age and older to submit three electronic images of their work and a completed application (found online at by April 1, 2015, to be selected by jury for a monthly exhibit during the PAS 2015-16 season. The application contains all instructions, and the fee is $15 dollars. First preference is given to residents of Placitas and Southern Sandoval County, and then to all other New Mexico residents. For additional information, contact Vicki Gottlieb, PAS Visual Arts Chair at 404-8022 or

For almost thirty years, the PAS has been bringing excellent art and music to 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,

Defiant requiem at PCL

Artistic expression has always had the capacity to transform hearts, minds, and behavior. Defiant Requiem, a 2013 feature-length documentary film, illuminates the extraordinary, untold story of the brave acts of resistance—through musical and creative expression—by the Jewish prisoners at Terezín, a World War II Czech Republic concentration camp and prison. 

Defiant Requiem was named Best Feature Length Documentary at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City and received the Audience Award in January 2013 at the Palm Springs Film Festival. The Placitas Community Library Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Group is grateful to the Defiant Requiem Foundation for providing the DVD to show free of charge on March 29, at 1:30 p.m., at the Placitas Community Library. All are welcome.

c. Hadassah Robbins

Painting by Hadassah Robbins, a student at Explore Academy, to illustrate Strauss’s orchestral tone poem Death and Transfiguration

Albuquerque Philharmonic concert to feature Rio Rancho student artwork

In what has become an annual tradition, students at four Rio Rancho schools have been hard at work on original works of art to illustrate an upcoming Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra concert series.

The Albuquerque Philharmonic will perform at the V. Sue Cleveland High School Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6, with a second concert at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 8 at the Hiland Theater in Albuquerque. The concert features works by Alexander Borodin, Johann Hummel, and Richard Strauss conducted by Byron Herrington with trumpet soloist Brynn Marchiando. Admission is free, and donations are accepted.

Students at Colinas del Norte, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rio Rancho Elementary Schools and at Cleveland High School, along with students from the Explore Academy, are creating original artwork—drawings, paintings and photographs—to illustrate the Strauss orchestral tone poem Death and Transfiguration. The original works are photographed and projected on a huge screen suspended above the orchestra during the concert. The art is also displayed in the lobby and can be viewed before and after the concert and during intermission. Students from RRPS’s Shining Stars Preschool are also creating art for the project which will be displayed in the lobby only.

For further information about the concert or to make a donation, contact the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra via their website,, or by calling 505-433-PHIL(433-7445).

c. Lynda Burch

Painting, by Lynda Burch

Placitas Artists Series March 2015 music and arts events

The 28th season of the Placitas Artists Series continues on March 22, with a 3:00 p.m. concert featuring Willy Sucre and Friends performing two clarinet quintets and a cello solo piece.

The program includes the Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115, by Johannes Brahms; Clarinet Quintet by Richard Rodney Bennett; and Cellist of Sarajevo by David Wilde.

Joining violist Willy Sucre are James Shields on clarinet, Roberta Arruda and Justin Pollak on violin, and Joanna de Keyser on cello.

The concert is generously sponsored by BJ and Alan Firestone and The Firestone Family Foundation.

Prior to the concert, a 2:00 p.m. visual artists reception will feature the art of Lynda Burch, acrylic and watermedia; Judith Roderick, fiber art; Lynne Peckinpaugh, watercolor; and Dennie York, pen and ink. Their works, which are for sale, are on display from February 28 to March 27.

Lynda Burch’s work often features old cancelled postage stamps, antique maps, or even wine labels which are woven into the art in an unusual way. She calls that collection her Recycled Art since she uses one of her old paintings in each one.

Judith Roderick has been painting on silk for over 30 years. She currently paints mostly scarves and banners; each year she does a series of Art Quilts, which are shown both locally and in national juried quilt shows.

Lynne Peckinpaugh says that art and creativity have been a thread throughout her lifetime beginning with her childhood dream of becoming an artist.

Dennie York is a certified Zentangle© teacher—a method of drawing repetitive patterns in a meditative manner. She now pursues and teaches this art form in the Albuquerque area.

The concert and artists reception both 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.

Tickets for the PAS concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert or may be purchased for twenty dollars in advance at The Merc Grocery Store in Homestead Village Shopping Center, Placitas; Under Charlie’s Covers Fine Used Book Store at 120 E. Highway 550, Bernalillo; or on-line at Tickets at the door are twenty dollars for general admission and $15 dollars for students with ID. Music students through high school are admitted free with a paying adult.

Placitas Artists Series projects are made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information call 505-867-8080 or visit

Top of Page

Ad Rates  Back Issues  Contact Us  Front Page  Up Front  Animal News   Around Town  Sandoval Arts   Business Classifieds  Calendar   Community Bits  Community Center  Eco-Beat  Featured Artist  Gauntlet Health  Community Links  Night Sky  My Wife and Times  Public Safety  Real  People  Stereogram  Time Off  Youth