Signpost artist of the month:
Jon William Lopez
The art in the everyday
Martians invaded Puerto Rico when Jon William Lopez was in high
Armed with an eight-millimeter home-movie camera, he recorded
the action one frame at a time. But first he had to draw it.
“All through high school I copied cartoon characters,”
Lopez said. “I copied from TV, especially Popeye, who was
in black and white.”
The drawing never stopped, progressing to a classical-art education
at Pratt College, in New York, where his student animations won
awards and a job in a production studio. There he animated everything
from toilet paper commercials to Berenstein Bears, and picked up
an Emmy directing a TV special during the 1976 Bicentennial.
When work slowed, he carried his portfolio to California, and
the drawing continued through several production companies, the
legendary Disney and Dreamworks studios, and credits including Mulan,
Sinbad, and three seasons of The Simpsons. As a key assistant, he
specialized in special effects, fogs, fires, explosions, anything
not involving characters.
Thirty years was a good run, but it couldn't last forever.
“Working on feature films was a dream come true,”
Lopez said. “I'm glad I got in on it when I did.
“Then they all switched to computer animation.”
The end of traditional hand-drawn animation and the overseas outsourcing
of jobs, his among them, prompted a decision to downsize, relocate
to the Santa Fe area, and reinvent himself. And it led to his accidental
discovery of Placitas, when a home purchase at Cochiti Lake fell
through at the last moment.
“I'm really struck not only by how many talented people
there are here but how open and receptive they are,” Lopez
said. “It's 'Let's see your work,' not ‘Have your people
call my people,' or 'Who's your agent?'”
He also embraced computers, not as an animator but as a digital
photographer recording the natural beauty and abstract images surrounding
his new home. Explorations and a chance remark also led to becoming
a partner in the Morning Calm Gallery in Corrales where his work
hangs among an eclectic assortment of Southwestern, African, and
Oriental art, jewelry, textiles, and objects.
“I try to find the art in the everyday,” Lopez said.
“I photograph what catches my eye.
“All those years of layout and animation transfer to photography
and looking for good composition and colors.”
He prints and frames his own images large and small, ranging from
landscapes where big sky dwarfs the Sangre de Cristos or Cabezón
to abstract details of a wooden door in Madrid or a latticed bench
and its shadow. Sunrise colors play off stucco and glass in his
own patio, and he has sold multiple prints of a stained-glass window
illuminating a chapel in Old Town Albuquerque.
“First the images are for me,” he said. “There's
always a thrill if someone else likes it.”
In addition to the Corrales gallery, Lopez’s photos or cards
can be found at the Roller Gallery in Placitas, the Schelu Gallery
in Old Town, and Traditions, on I-25, at Budaghers. His work also
can be seen at www.placitasartists.com.
Placitas Artists Series presents season premiere
—GARY LIBMAN, PLACITAS ARTISTS SERIES
The Placitas Artists Series is starting its 2005-2006 season in
typically great fashion on September 25, at 3:00 p.m., at the newly
renovated Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in Placitas.
Willy Sucre and Friends are coming back to play string quartets
of Beethoven (String Quartet in G Major, op. 18 no. 2), Adagio,
by Samuel Barber, and Dvorák's String Quartet in G Major,
op. 61. Willy Sucre, on viola, will be joined by friend violinists
L.P. How and Anthony Templeton as well as cellist Joan Zucker—four
outstanding and accomplished musicians. The concert is sponsored
by the PAS Board Members and will be in memory of Emily Sharp.
There will be an artists reception before the concert, at 1:30
p.m., featuring Barbara Henson, Karl Hofmann, Elizabeth Huffman,
and Jeanne Weitz.
Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour
before the concert, or may be purchased ahead of time a La Bonne
Vie Salon and Day Spa, in the Homestead Village Shopping Center,
in Placitas (867-3333). Tickets may also be purchased online at
The prices for the concert are $15 for general admission and $12
for seniors and students.
Now is also the perfect time to purchase season tickets for the
entire nine-concert series, which will include five Willy and Friends
concerts as well as saxophone and piano music, a holiday Broadway
performance, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and a concert of baroque
music “from the courts of Europe.”
PAS will continue its exchange policy: any unexpired ticket may
be exchanged in advance at the door during the same season for tickets
for upcoming concerts, as available.
For further information, please call 867-8080 or visit www.PlacitasArts.org.
As a reminder, purchase of season tickets not only offers price
savings for these great concerts, but season-ticket holders also
are entitled to preferred seating (the first six rows) at the concerts.
Placitas Artists Series concerts and art exhibits are made possible
in part by the National Endowment for the arts and New Mexico Arts,
a division of the Office of Cultural Affairs. There is free care
for children under six and handicapped access. Las Placitas Presbyterian
Church is six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242).
Poets sought for winter-solstice reading
The Las Placitas Earth Care Committee, which since 1998 has organized
a candlelight poetry reading at the winter solstice, is seeking
new poetic voices to participate in the celebration this year. The
reading will be held in the sanctuary of Las Placitas Presbyterian
Church, beginning at 7:00 p.m. on December 21. The event lasts one
In recent years, up to one hundred people have been attending
and the poems selected (featuring, usually, about twelve readers)
are collected into a handsome chapbook that is given as a memento
to those attending and in multiple copies to participating poets.
Local writers interested in participating should contact Charles
E. Little, program organizer, for guidelines. Requests may be made
by e-mail to email@example.com
or by phone at (505) 867-1973. For information on the work of the
Earth Care Committee, contact Leland Bowen, chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (505) 867-2731.
7 ensembles will play at free Chamber Music Albuquerque concert
On September 8, Chamber Music America, in partnership with Chamber
Music Albuquerque, will present a showcase concert of ensemble music
by the Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band, Jupiter String Quartet, Prairie
Winds, San Francisco Guitar Quartet, Edward Simon Trio, Nashville
Mandolin Ensemble, and Del Sol String Quartet. The seven ensembles
were chosen from more than thirty applications for the exceptionally
high quality of their performance and demonstrable readiness to
tour the Western Arts Alliance conference venues.
Among the composers who will be represented at the concert are
Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, Tito Puente, Aaron Copland,
John Williams, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney.
The concert, to be held from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the El Rey Theater,
is an unusual opportunity for the general public to join arts professionals
in hearing an array of top jazz and classical ensembles from around
the nation, as it is an affiliated event of the WAA convention being
held in Albuquerque September 6 through 10.
The El Rey Theater is at 622 Central Avenue, in Albuquerque. The
concert is free and open to the public.
Call for entries: Harwood Poetry Anthology
Harwood's literary arts programs have had a long and fluid history,
during which they have had the honor of working with many poets,
both established and emerging. Now, Harwood is proud to be publishing
a poetry anthology designed by JB Bryan of La Alameda Press and
with support from the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund. Send your poems
for consideration.Submissions should include no more than three
poems, any length, any style. Please include name, address, and
contact information at the top of each page, and a self-addressed
stamped envelope for notification. Postmark deadline is September
23, 2005. Send submissions to:Harwood Art Center, ATTN: Poetry,
1114 Seventh St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102. For further information
or call 242-6367.
Gallery juxtaposes past and present
Art Gallery 66 breaks gallery tradition in creating a "time
capsule" environment that juxtaposes varying art movements
and presents them in exhibits that often provide the same theme
as that effected by the social consciousness that pervaded their
individual time frame.
A landscape show could include imagery from the Hudson Valley
School side by side with postmodernism, lowbrow, outsider, and other
contemporary expressions. The purpose of this juxtaposition is to
allow the viewer to see and understand the effects on the creative
vision in a social matrix, bringing to the same table the realities
we create in response to the realities society and social morays
demand we create.
Rosemary Drexel, a veteran of the art world and one of the gallery
directors stated, "Art Gallery 66 wants to deliver a museum-level
impact to its patrons by creating relationships between the worlds
of the artists and patrons. The goal is to remind the viewer that
art is not separate from life.”
Art Gallery 66 opens its doors September 3 with "No Boundaries,"
a New Mexico-artist group show, and will break tradition again in
providing an artist reception that will last throughout the entire
month of September, with each weekend providing as many surprises
for the viewers as will the show.
The gallery sits in Bernalillo, at the crossroads of commuters
from Jemez, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Placitas, with
its two galleries housed inside a historic adobe, and an art emporium
that offers Western, pop-art, and other vintage collectibles. Workshops
and lectures will be available soon.
Art Gallery 66 is at 367 North Camino del Pueblo, just north of
Highway 550. Open Mondays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00
p.m.; Sundays from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. For further information, call
867-8666 or go to www.artgallery66.com.
New Mexico artists converge
—L. HEATH, ARTIST
In mid-August, the Plein Air New Mexico group completed an exciting
“paint out” in and around the Grants area. About thirty-five
members and visiting artists painted the incredibly varied scenes
in northwest New Mexico. Popular spots were El Morro National Monument,
the Los Gigantes hoodoo rock formations, La Ventana Natural Arch,
El Malpais National Monument, Zuni Canyon, the Sandstone Bluffs
area, and Casamero Chacoan Pueblo Ruin.
The more than one hundred high-quality paintings produced at the
paint-out will be shown through late September at the Mission Gallery
in downtown Grants. The opening for the show, on August 12, was
well attended at the El Malpais Visitor Center and the Mission Gallery.
Contact information is through gallery owners Michael and Peggy
So what, exactly, does “plein air” mean? “En
plein aire” is a French term that means painting in the open
air. Plein air was popularized in the 1800s by the French Impressionists
(such as Claude Monet). However, landscape painters actually started
painting outside in Italy in the late 1700s and in France as part
of the Barbizon School, as well as 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. Today, plein-air groups exist
in many 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, Plein
Air New Mexico. A Placitas resident, Deborah Paris, started the
organization last October with twenty-five members. Now, with more
than 115 members, including some nationally known artists, the group
is starting to get regional and national recognition. See www.pleinairnewmexico.com
for member and show information.
Plein-air artists have “paint-outs,” with many artists
converging on one spot, or at least within a specified area. Each
artist captures the scene in a favorite medium, such as charcoal,
oils, acrylics, pastels, or watercolor. Their work generally is
required to be 80 percent completed at the site, with only minor
touch-ups and framing done in the studio. Many people consider plein-air
painting superior to studio pieces in that they capture the moment
better by reflecting the temperature, weather, and general emotional
feeling of the place. However, these images are small and portable,
anywhere from eight by ten to twelve by sixteen inches. After a
paint-out, the works are often exhibited in a group show. Many artists
use their plein-air pieces as studies for larger and more refined
The Grants paint-out was the first big public event for the PANM
group, and Sandoval County was well represented, with seven artists
from Placitas and Rio Rancho. Braving the alternating heat and thunderstorms
were Maggie Price, Bill Canright, Linda Heath, Deborah Paris, Steve
Whalen, Judy Bromberg, and Lynn Hartenberger. Other local artists
who were not able to attend this particular paint-out but who participate
in other events are: Bianca Harle, Bob Warnall, Linda Eichorst,
and Thais Haines. Many other fine artists from Albuquerque, Rio
Rancho, Santa Fe, Cloudcroft, Timberon, Denver, Tucson, and Texas
traveled the distances to be part of this large gathering. Photos
from the August paint-out may be seen online at www.pleinairpaint.com.
The next big upcoming event for PANM is an invitational juried
show in Santa Fe, at Ventana Fine Art, on Canyon Road, December
9-12. It will include works from twenty-five nationally known plein-air
artists, including Walt Gonske, Kevin Macpherson, and Ann Templeton,
all of New Mexico. There will be a chance for up to thirty additional
artists to be included through the jurying process. There will be
a $5,000 Best of Show award, as well as other awards totaling $10,000.
Eric Rhoads, publisher of Plein Air magazine, will judge the awards.
The opening reception will be Friday, December 9, from 4:00 to 7:00
p.m., at Ventana Fine Art, one of the best-known galleries in the
Robert Creeley honored with reading
“Why poetry? Its materials are so constant, simple, elusive,
specific. It costs so little and so much. It preoccupies a life,
yet can only find one living. It is a music, a playful construct
of feeling, a last word and communion.”
—Robert Creeley, Selected Poems, 1945-1990
Anasazi Fields Winery of Placitas announces the third reading in
its Duende Poetry Series, this time to honor and celebrate the work
and life of one of this century's most innovative and influential
poets, former Placitas resident Robert Creeley. On Sunday, September
18, at 5:00 p.m., Bobby Byrd, from El Paso, along with Gene Frumkin,
Larry Goodell, Margaret Randall, and Karen McKinnon will share poems
of homage, anecdotes, and favorite Creeley poems. There will also
be an open mic at the end for others who wish to read something
by or about Robert Creeley.
Robert Creeley died of pneumonia early on the morning of March
30 in Odessa, Texas. A remarkable poet whose work found a wide audience,
he also inspired numerous poets of various styles and was a generous
supporter of other poets and artists.
Robert Creeley was born May 21, 1926, in Arlington, Massachusetts.
He lost his father, and his left eye, in an accident before he turned
five, and was subsequently brought up on a farm in West Acton. After
a stint at Harvard, he spent a year with the American Field Service
in India and Burma. On his return, he married, in 1948, moved into
the bohemian community of Provincetown, and then unsuccessfully
tried to farm in New Hampshire. Lured by the promise of cheap living,
the Creeleys moved with their three children to Mallorca in 1951
where they founded the Divers Press.
In 1954, Creeley taught at an experimental college in North Carolina
and edited The Black Mountain Review.
In 1957, he headed west to San Francisco, and was on the scene
at the time of the city's “Poetry Renaissance” alongside
Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and
others. He always had an itch to be where “it was happening.”
In 1959, Creeley settled in Albuquerque. He taught at Albuquerque
Academy and attained an MA from the University of New Mexico in
1960. Between 1963 and 1969, he was primarily living in Placitas
while a lecturer at UNM.
After moving to California in 1970, Creeley had another sojourn
teaching at UNM and returned once again to live in Placitas, but
eventually left for good to become the Samuel P. Capen Professor
of Poetry and Humanities at the State University of New York, Buffalo.
Fortunately, he often returned to New Mexico to visit and gave memorable
readings at the Living Batch Bookstore, UNM, and other venues throughout
Creeley's pared-down poems are activated by halting line-breaks
determined by breath and a bop jazz sense of measure. Terse and
elliptical, each work is a finely tuned lyric set into motion. In
his poems scrupulous attention gets paid to the processes of both
mind and heart, coupled with an existential, almost confident, uncertainty.
He sought value in
“the intimate, familiar, localizing, detailing, speculative,
emotional, unending talking that has given my life a way of thinking
of itself in the very fact and feeling of existence. God knows
one wants no end to that ever.”
He was more than a minimalist; there was always a lingering resonance
from his spare, beautifully paced early poems to the longer ponderings
in his later work. He loved pith as well as rhyme, and a wry sense
of humor usually pervaded.
Prolific and influential, tireless as a promoter of poetry and
supporter of “a company” of poets young and old, Robert
Creeley will be sorely missed. Duende Poetry Series wishes to celebrate
him as poet and friend, and as a distinctive resident of Placitas.
(There will be an array of delicious snacks and wine tasting.)
For more information, call Cirrelda Snider Bryan, 897-0285, or
Jim Fish, at Anasazi Fields Winery, 867-3062.
My New Mexico
for Gus Blaisdell
Edge of door's window
flat side adobe,
A blue lifting morning,
miles of spaced echo,
time here plunged
I see shadowed leaf
on window frame green,
close plant's growth,
weathered fence slats—
the veins, hands,
lined faces crease,
Oh sun! Three years,
when I came first,
it had shone unblinking,
sky vast aching blue—
The sharpness of each
shift the pleasure,
pain, of particulars—
All inside gone out.
Sing me a song
makes beat specific,
takes the sharp air,
echoes this silence.