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Jon William Lopez


Signpost artist of the month: Jon William Lopez

The art in the everyday


Martians invaded Puerto Rico when Jon William Lopez was in high school.

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

Placitas Artists Series presents season premiere


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 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 hour.

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 or by phone at (505) 867-1973. For information on the work of the Earth Care Committee, contact Leland Bowen, chair, at 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 contact 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

New Mexico artists converge
on Grants


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 Lewis, 285-4632.

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 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 studio works.

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

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 country.

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 the state.

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
sun against
flat side adobe,
yellowed brown—

A blue lifting morning,
miles of spaced echo,
time here plunged
backward, backward—

I see shadowed leaf
on window frame green,
close plant's growth,
weathered fence slats—

sage explicit,
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.




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