Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Glass artist Nancy Couch, circa 1985—featured artist with Jon Couch for the 2016 Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Craft Sale

Celebrating 35 years at the Placitas Holiday Sale Art Fair

~Nancy Couch

The renowned Holiday Sale is celebrating 35 years as one of the most entertaining arts and crafts fairs in New Mexico. This popular event is a beacon to art enthusiasts who want to discover new fine art, crafts, and treasures off the beaten track. Back in 1982, the Placitas Mountaincraft and Soiree Society had the foresight to start the Placitas Holiday Sale to help local artists get visibility to sell their work. Year after year, the show kept getting better and better and soon had a reputation that attracted top artists locally as well as from other artistic communities in New Mexico and Colorado.

As the show features work from over eighty juried artists, visitors can expect to see an eclectic mix of all types of art. Always held on the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale is a fun festival combining the arts with delicious food, wine tasting, and an art raffle that benefits the kids’ art program at the Placitas Elementary School. The Placitas Holiday Sale will come to Placitas on November 19 and 20, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Talented artists will fill the three central sites in the village of Placitas with a wide array of art.

More than a third of the artists are from Placitas. Painters, printmakers, ceramic and glass artists, woodworkers, silk painters, photographers, gourd artists, jewelers, metal artists and more will bring their incredible work to sell. Homemade clothing, leather goods, painted drums, pottery, hand-carved furniture, and much more will be on display at all of the three central locations: Site #1, Anasazi Fields Winery; Site #2, The Big Tent next to the Presbyterian Church; and Site #3, The Placitas Elementary School.

The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale is spotlighting Nancy & Jon Couch as their 2016 Featured Artists. Longtime Placitas artists, the Couch’s create glass water prisms that produce brilliant rainbows by the refraction of sunlight. Used to produce special effects in film and on stage as well as making rainbows in thousands of homes, their prisms have been sold worldwide. The couple also works in stained glass and makes unique mandalas, pyramid lamps, jewelry boxes, sun catchers, and other wonders of glass art. The Couch’s have exhibited in all 35 annual shows of the Placitas Holiday Sale and have helped in organizing this art event for the last 17 years. They will be showing their glass art at Site #2, The Big Tent.

The show draws people to the picturesque setting in the village of Placitas, with its cozy, fun, and intimate atmosphere. The size of the fair, which is limited to around eighty artists, is less intimidating than most shows of the season, giving patrons a chance to enjoy the splendor of the art and talk with the artists about their creations.

Site #1, the Anasazi Field Winery, has always been a popular and inviting venue with its rustic decor and crackling fireplace. For wine lovers, Anasazi Fields Winery will be serving cups of hot, mulled cranberry wine. This year they will be featuring a new release of their American Cranberry Table Wine, the perfect complement to a holiday dinner.

Site #2, the Big Tent east of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, has a fun, festive feeling and becomes alive with laughter and conversations between artists, patrons, and friends getting together amidst the creative wonders of the Placitas Holiday Sale.

Site #3, the Placitas Elementary School, is a popular location, with the largest venue of almost fifty exhibitors. Booths fill the gym and some of the halls, giving this site a colorful and cheerful market-like environment. The school is also where you will find the Holiday Sale Art Raffle. The artists of the Holiday Sale have raised more than $15,000 dollars in the past thirteen years for the Placitas Arts in the School program. The Placitas Holiday Sale will be donating 100% of all money from the raffle to this program to buy art supplies for the children of the Placitas Elementary School. The public can purchase tickets for one dollar for the chance to win a nice piece of artwork. All raffle items will be on display at the School.

Delicious food will be available at all of the sites.

For more information, go to the website to become familiar with the artists and see where they will be set up this year.

The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale is organized by several local artists and sponsored by the Placitas Mountaincraft and Soiree Society, a nonprofit 501c3 organization dedicated to serving the community, the arts, and artists.

SITE #1—ANASAZI FIELDS WINERY, 26 Camino De Los Puebilitos

Free Wine tasting; Hot Food by Little Smokies—Salmon on a stick with lettuce and cheese, shrimp & chicken tacos, stuffed mushrooms, drinks

  • Terry Adams—Southwest and contemporary wall art and sculpture
  • Martha Alcantar & Gadiel Ramirez—varietal honey, Southwest decor & honey soaps
  • Sallyjane Bolle—wire-wrapped minerals, fossils, & gemstone jewelry
  • Nancy Coonridge & Andy Coon—organic goat cheese from our own free-range goats
  • Melicent D’Amore—clay jewelry
  • Jim Fish—wooden sculptures, walking sticks
  • Colleen Constance Franco—one-of-a-kind ceramics, stamped & painted crosses, mirrors, boxes & wall hangings
  • Jeff & Kari Keenan—artisan small batch chocolate nuts, fruits, bars & gifts
  • John LaRosa—multi-layered fused glass plates, bowls, platters, sculpture, & pendants
  • Christina Miller—modern icons 2-D acrylic paintings
  • Iva Morris—dry pastel paintings
  • Mary Steigerwald—eco-print wall hangings, table runners & cotton/silk clothing & scarves
  • Mike Stoy—wheel-thrown decorative & functional pottery
  • Nancy Wood Taber—colored pencil drawings of animals & silver chain maille & animal jewelry
  • Erica Wendel-Oglesby—jewelry, photography & mosaics
  • Suzanne Woodworth—sterling silver, gold filled & semi-precious jewelry
  • Walter Wright & Kim Del Margo—handmade art boxes


Hot Food at the Presbyterian Church-Chili Pepper Café—Breakfast burritos, tamales, pulled pork sandwiches, beans, cole slaw, green chili by the quart, brownies and drinks

  • Jeanine Allen—original pastel paintings on handmade surface, cards, & ornaments
  • Linda Running & Kipp Bentley—hand-woven wool rugs
  • Dona Calles—copper repousse, etched copper & mixed media image transfers
  • Nancy & Jon Couch—glass water prisms, pyramid lamps, mandalas, sun-catchers, ornaments, & jewelry boxes
  • Denise Elvrum—fused glass home decor art & dichroic, iridized jewelry
  • Myra Gadson—unique handmade jewelry designs
  • Lazaro Gutierrez & Aurelia Gutierrez—jewelry of silver, brass, & copper with semi-precious stones & inlay
  • Olaf Heintz—fine wood, small furniture & home accessories, rocking chairs, tables & cabinets
  • Joan Hellquist—wildlife images hand-painted on drums, cards, latest book
  • Elizabeth Jenkins—hand-woven clothing & silk scarves
  • Elzbieta Kaleta—paper cutouts & collage designs mounted on museum board
  • Das Lanzilloti—handcrafted jewelry using mixed metals set with natural stones
  • Sarena Mann—paper-mache mobiles & sculpture figures
  • Adrian Martinez—all natural wood inlay pictures
  • Judy McCullough—jewelry with international beads
  • Michael McCullough—acrylic & watercolor paintings
  • Dana McDaniel & Ron McGowan—mixed metal jewelry with copper, aluminum, pearls, set stones, & found objects
  • Bertha Medina—carved, burned & painted gourds
  • Kae Willow Milane—crocheted knit wire jewelry, wearable art, & collage embellished postage stamp pins
  • Karen Murry—quilted wall hangings & wearable quilted jackets scarves, purses & totes
  • Dana Patterson Roth—photography of botanicals, landscapes, & people who get in the way
  • Kandy Tate—oil paintings of New Mexico landscapes, garden scenes & fun animals on canvas
  • Patricia Wyatt—watercolor, colored pencil & oil & pastels


Bernalillo Thespian Club—Posole, green chile stew, Frito pie, breakfast burritos, baked goods, and drinks


  • Catherine Alleva—wheel-thrown pottery, mugs, bowls, sake sets & pitchers
  • Roxanne Blatz & Roger Preston—photographic images on giclee, calendars, & greeting cards
  • Bunny Bowen—matted & framed batik landscapes, silk scarves
  • Sonya R Byrnes—metal outdoor sculptures, wall art, & jewelry
  • Cate Clark—mosaic sculptures, wall panels, nightlights & organic body products
  • Merle Dallison—gourd art with inlaid stones & weavings
  • James M. Gay—scenic and floral photographs
  • Sandy Johnson—bold contemporary, mixed media jewelry, pins & bags
  • Sandy & Michael Kadisak—handmade, hand-painted fine art functional pottery, Little People and Animal Spirits
  • Marta Lichlyter & Guy Watson—fused glass plates & bowls
  • June Malone—one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry
  • Kay Marcotte—impressionistic style paintings of New Mexico
  • Melissa Merritt—New Mexico, nature inspired watercolors & mixed media paintings
  • Mardi Meshejian—custom-made knives
  • Carol Mullen—collage painting whimsical abstract
  • John Newell & Brian Webb—aluminum jewelry & metal home decor art
  • Christian Olsen—hand-carved & handmade beads, pendants, & clasps
  • Gwen Entz Peterson—serigraphy with Southwest themes
  • Riha Rothberg—crocheted hats & slightly skewed accessories
  • Glo Smith—kiln-formed glass wall pocket vases, spirit women & sweater pulls
  • Aquila Stanley—fine gemstone & sterling silver jewelry
  • Caitlyn Velazquez-Fagley—handmade bead embroidery, bead weaving, metal-smithing & leather jewelry
  • Fehrunissa Willett—glass collages, mirrors & jewelry


  • Joseph Coriz—turquoise necklace jewelry, earrings, & bracelets
  • Lyra Fisset—handmade jewelry made with precious metals & gemstones
  • Claudia Fluegge—hand-painted silk neckties, scarves, shawls, jackets, painted velvet scarves
  • Renee Brainard Gentz—wearable fiber art, hand dyed silk scarves
  • Mario Hinojo—hand-carved gourds, & jewelry made of cut pieces enhanced by beads
  • Mary & Karl Hofmann—functional pottery
  • D.L. Horton—petroglyph etched stemware & fused glass dichroic jewelry
  • Maaike Hurst—handmade artisanal soaps, body butters & bath bombs
  • Rachel Nelson—wreaths & ornaments made from pinecones & other plant materials
  • Carol Ordogne—impressionistic, colorful paintings, landscapes & still life
  • Finley Rice—functional pottery, teapots, mugs, platters & bowls
  • Al Woods—angels, monks & antique tin tile, mirror frames & boxes
  • Karen Melody Shatar—hand-built porcelain pottery with glass glazes & fused glass accents
  • Mary Louise Skelton—gourd art, carved, inlaid & painted
  • Laura Tuzinowski—recycled wooden cigar boxes & handmade, hand-painted wooden trays
  • Geri Verble—contemporary tribal & ethnic jewelry
  • Lyle T. Yazzie—sterling silver jewelry

Plein air artist Carol Ordogne with her pastels
Photo credit: —Oli Robbins

Plein Air Painters of New Mexico entry, Summer at the Pond, 20 x 24, oil, painted at Shady Lakes in Bernalillo

The (Not So) Still Life, 11 x 14, pastel

Signpost featured artist
Plantin’ and paintin’: Carol Ordogne

~Oli Robbins

Placitas painter Carol Ordogne shared the following quote with me: “I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God than in church thinking about the mountains.” That sentiment, penned by naturalist John Muir, is one that Carol keeps close to her heart. Carol grew up with religious, Dutch-Reformed parents who took her to church every week. She turned to drawing to pass the time during many long church services—likely dreaming up the nature to which Muir refers. There was little artwork inside her church walls (since the religion viewed art as idolatry), but she keenly observed the church’s tropical plants. Says Carol, “Today, I still consider studying and drawing nature to be a spiritual experience.”

Carol grew up in Southern California, across from a University. Says Carol, “I would play on the grounds making fairy boats of flowers, leaves, and ferns that I would sail on their pond. I think studying nature led me to being an artist.”

When she was reimagining all those ferns and vines on campus and during church services, she didn’t know that decades later she would be working in landscape architecture, highly educated in a variety of species of plants. Before that though, Carol completed an art degree in Hawaii, where she moved after honeymooning there in 1975.

“I always wanted to be an artist,” said Carol. “My career tests in high school always came out artist or architect. It’s funny that I ended up being both.” At first, it wasn’t financially viable to make enough money with her art degree, so Carol allowed her love of nature to guide her toward a similarly creative career path. “I loved plants and sculpture and gardens, so landscape design was a good way to still be an artist of sorts and make a living as well.”

She had moved to Louisiana and earned her Landscape Architecture degree after finishing her undergrad in Hawaii. She began practicing when her third and final child turned three. Says Carol, “I worked in a nursery at first and eventually started my own design/build practice. Working out of my home was ideal—my slow seasons coincided with my children’s vacations.”

Landscape Architecture proved a fulfilling alternative for Carol, and her practice specialized in designing gardens—or “living sculptures” as she likes to call them. “I loved picking out all the plants, fountains, and accessories to make something relaxing and beautiful for my clients,” she said. “I loved getting to know them and being of help. It was a fun, rewarding and a good creative outlet.”

While working, Carol enrolled in painting classes at LSU, building upon her many previous years of artistic training from high school and college. In 2001, she took her first plein air workshop with Leonard Wren, which prompted her ongoing study of the technique. Says Carol, “I love painting animals and landscapes. I often paint outdoors to really see the colors correctly. A photo reference is so dull in comparison.”

Before picking up a brush, Carol spends time closely discovering her surroundings. “I walk around looking for something that enchants me. I use a viewfinder and sketchpad to plan exactly how I want to present what I see. I move things around in my mind and on my sketchpad to arrange all the elements into a pleasing abstract design of big shapes and values.” Only then does she begin to paint with a brush and thin paint, slowly mixing colors and blocking in the big shapes, which are later broken down into smaller, more detailed ones. Her expertise in landscape architecture provides her with the ability to deeply understand her natural subject matter. Says Carol, “I am very sensitive to the color and texture of plants and their silhouettes.” Her still lifes and landscapes bare her connection to nature, but aren’t tight and exacting. Rather, they seem to reflect Carol’s immediate but resounding experiences with her subjects

New Mexico became a dream location for Carol and her husband, Paul, in 1997, when the duo traveled here on vacation. At the time, a move wasn’t possible since they were rooted in Louisiana. One of their daughters relocated to New Mexico following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and, upon retirement, Carol and her husband followed. They are recent residents, buying their Placitas home four years ago and living here full-time for just two years. Like his wife, Paul is bound to the outdoors and acts as a guide at the Rio Grande Nature Center and the Albuquerque Open Space. Carol currently finds herself playing with pastels and working with clay—a medium she hasn’t touched since college. Says Carol, “After years of working and living in a city, I am thrilled to be out in the wide-open spaces. Every day I see either a beautiful sunrise or sunset while walking my dog out on the mesas. I also use that quiet time to think about future paintings or to analyze the colors I am seeing.”

Last month, Carol was a featured artist in the Placitas Artists Series, and her work will be on view at several upcoming events. One of her oil paintings was juried into the Plein Air Painters of NM exhibition at Santa Fe’s Sorrel Sky Gallery (open from November 3 to November 27). Several of her works are featured at Hoot Art Gallery in Placitas, and one of her pastel paintings will be hanging in the 25th Annual National Pastel Painting Exhibition at EXPO NM’s Hispanic Arts Center (October 29 to November 27). You’ll also get the chance to meet Carol (and eighty other artists) at the Placitas Holiday Sale on November 19 and 20; she’ll be inside the Elementary School.

Contact the artist at and visit her website ( to view several galleries of paintings.

c. Peter Böhringer

Whispers of Past Times, by Peter Böhringer

Placitas Artists Series features piano, violin, viola, cello, and art

For the second time in two years, the Placitas Artists Series welcomes acclaimed pianist Ivonne Figueroa to the stage in a concert titled, “Duo, Trio, Quartet.” This third concert of the series’ thirtieth season held on November 20 is an evening concert, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Ms. Figueroa, based in Puerto Rico, will be joined by her brother Guillermo Figueroa, well-known New Mexico-based violinist and newly appointed principal conductor for the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; Willy Sucre, violist with the New Mexico Philharmonic and organizer of the familiar “Willy Sucre and Friends” chamber music concerts; and cellist James Holland, who performs with many New Mexico music organizations. Ivonne and Guillermo Figueroa have performed together many times as The Figueroa Duo.

The concert is generously sponsored by Dianna and John Shomaker.

Prior to the concert, a 5:00 p.m. visual artists reception will feature works by Peter Böhringer, photography; Vicki Bolen, mixed media and paper arts; Amy Hautman, oil; and Pam Neas, watercolor.

The concert and visual artist reception 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.

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.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door one hour before the concert, subject to availability. See page 2, this Signpost. For details, email, call 867-8080, or visit

San Antonio Mission holiday faire

A Holiday Faire will be held on November 19 and 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, at the San Antonio Mission on Avenida San Antonio in Placitas. Find a holiday gift for yourself or others. Artisans will display jewelry, photography, pottery, fiber art, and other mediums. Light refreshments will be available. Take Exit 242 from I-25, go east for seven miles on Route 165, turn right onto Avenida San Antonio, follow the red holiday stocking signs.

c. Barbara Clark

Livin’ Large, painting, by Barbara Clark, exhibited at the Freight House

“Views from the Train”

The Freight House in Bernalillo is switching up their artwork to feature Barbara Clark, a plein air painter of magnificent New Mexico landscapes. Barbara’s canvases are teeming with colorful landscapes from marshlands to rolling hills, villages, and desert mesas. This is a new art concept for the Freight House: four-to-six artists will be featured throughout the year, showcasing magical vistas in New Mexico. The Freight House is at 200 S. Camino del Pueblo, in Bernalillo.

“Mission Whispers and Native Voices”

Linda L. Heath will display a solo art show at the Placitas Community Library from October 29 to November 26. The public opening reception will be on October 30, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The paintings and prints reflect the various Native American and Spanish Mission spiritual traditions in New Mexico. Overlaid on NASA Hubble digital photographs, they invoke an uplifting pathway from Earth to eternity, led by our ancient spiritual guides.

Growing up in New Mexico, Linda has always been fascinated by the blending of ancient cultures here. The future has beckoned brightly to her through images from NASA’s space telescopes. Now, with the next chapter of private space exploration developing rapidly, Heath has been inspired to create a new type of art called “Fusionism” or “Fusionist Art”—“a new art movement that blurs the lines among different cultures, fuses old and new painting media, and mixes human versus machine-generated work.”

Albuquerque to host Olga Kern Piano Competition

Albuquerque will shine even brighter when some of the best young pianists in the world travel here for the inaugural Olga Kern International Piano Competition from November 13 to November 20. Representing 15 countries, the 24 chosen competitors will vie for more than thirty thousand dollars in prize money. All competitive events are open to the public, and admission is free for the first round on November 14 and 15, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC). Admission is ten dollars for the second round. Tickets may be reserved at 724-2771. The finalists will perform along side the New Mexico Philharmonic’s “Stars of the Future” concert at 6:00 p.m. on November 19 at Popejoy Hall. For details, visit, call

Coro Lux to sing

The Oratorio Society of Coro Lux, a new select chorus under the direction of Bradley Ellingboe, will perform Morton Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna on November 6, at 3:00 p.m., at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1100 Indian School Road NE (at University Avenue), accompanied by members of the New Mexico Philharmonic. The award-winning Rio Rancho High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Rebecca Talbott, will also perform on All Saints Day, the feast in the Christian calendar that honors those who have passed away during the previous year. Tickets may be purchased at

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