Sandoval Signpost
An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Lorna Smith

Lorna Smith

c. Lorna Smith

(above) Sword Style, Blue, painting by Lorna Smith, 30” x 30”, oil on canvas

c. Lorna Smith

Venus and Earth Orbit, painting by Lorna Smith
27” x 20”, beeswax, paraffin, microcrystalline, pine resin, and oil on birch

Celtic connections: the art and artistic heritage of Lorna Smith

—Oli Robbins

What did you draw when you were a kid? Maybe you started with crayon scribbles, then tried suns, trees and stick figures. For Placitas painter and printmaker, Lorna Smith, it was stars and daisies. I’m sure Smith was attracted to the joyous energy conveyed by such motifs, but she also saw stars and daisies as patterns, patterns she sought to learn and master by drawing them thousands of times. This commitment to accuracy was instinctual for Smith and had a profound impact on the course of her life as an artist.

“I loved the balance. I loved working at memorizing a design and trying to achieve the balance. And when I looked back on that, I realized that may have been partially genetic because my great grandparents were dyers and weavers in Scotland,” Smith said. Smith’s great grandparents were from Stonehouse, Scotland, just outside of Edinburgh. They immigrated to New York where they continued their craft, working at the Firth carpet company in Cornwall-on-Hudson—the woodsy Hudson valley town where Smith spent her early years exploring nature and becoming fascinated with its many patterns.

Though interested in Minimalism and geometrics from a young age, Smith didn’t start exploring Celtic art until 2002, when she was working on her undergraduate honors thesis for the Union Institute at Montpelier, VT. At this time, Smith was gifted a book by George Bain, a pioneer in Celtic art history, who, as Smith explained, “rectified all the misrepresentations in Celtic art that had existed in academic texts everywhere.” Prior to reading Bain’s work, Smith had been using three long rectangles in her work. After studying the authentic patterns reproduced by Bain, she realized that if she stayed faithful to the proportions, she too could depict obviously Celtic forms.

Smith was astounded that so many books before Bain’s included skewed Celtic imagery and suspects that it may have been ideological. Smith said, “I think it was like that old argument: the high and low argument. People wanted to make a distinction between themselves and primitive cultures. They would malign other people, and primitive was this blanket idea they would toss onto the ‘Other.’”

Smith’s desire to find out more about her family’s history—and subsequently her own artistic heritage—was finally met about a year-and-a-half after her thesis show, when long-lost cousins from Scotland contacted her parents. Still living in the town Smith’s great grandparents grew up in, the cousins sent pictures of Smith’s ancestors’ stone weaving workshop and a variety of patterns produced there. Around the same time, Smith contacted the history museum in Scotland to find out what kind of loom her great grandparents would have used and what sort of patterns they would have woven. The visual evidence she received confirmed that her interest and talent in textiles and Celtic patterns was innate. Indeed, in 2005 the Queen of England herself granted Smith’s family clan status and licensed them a tartan!

When Smith began to show her Celtic paintings and prints, she found that her viewers immediately understood the forms to be Celtic. What is it about Celtic patterns that are so recognizable? Smith theorizes that perhaps Celtic heritage is more global than we think. “I’ve given talks to audiences where there’s a wide variety of people, and I’ve had people say, from all walks of life, that they know they have Celtic ancestors. And by Celtic, they don’t mean from Ireland or Scotland,” said Smith. This widespread, seemingly visceral attraction to Celtic imagery expressed by such audiences drove Smith to look into just how pervasive Celtic culture may be. She discovered that the Celts were active on the Silk Road and went as far as Norway, Yugoslavia, Northern Mongolia, Spain, and Morocco. Archeologists have even unearthed female shamanic mummies throughout the Silk Road, as well as certain patterns that were traded by the Celts—one of which appears in Smith’s oil painting Sword Style, Blue.

In Sword Style, Blue, three sword patterns, blue with red outlines, point toward, and nearly meet at, the center of the composition. On either side of the largest sword are two abstract Buddha figures. The imagery recalls that of the Sword-Style period, a long-lived pan-European artistic movement that started around 250 B.C. Surprisingly, and to Smith’s great pleasure, many engraved swords from this period have been pristinely preserved. Pieces of them were cast off into lakes and streams, and sometimes placed underneath huge boulders on mountain passes. Sword Style, Blue speaks of the process by which the swords were made, depicting them tempering in water, surrounded by bubbles, after having been cast in stone to get their shape. The Buddha figures not only enhance the work’s meditative mood, they also represent the exact pattern that molecules of water in a whirlpool make. And the sword pattern? It appeared in nature long before it was traded along the Silk Road. Smith explained, “I’m looking for where these patterns came from. And it turns out that the sword pattern is exactly the same pattern that water molecules make when they’re rushing through a narrow streambed. It’s one hundred percent the same pattern.” Perhaps then, the connection to Celtic imagery felt by so many of Smith’s viewers is suggestive not only of Celtic culture, rooting itself all over the world, but also of the prevalence of Celtic patterns in nature—after all, nature plays a dominant role in the lives of everyone, everywhere on the planet.

The frequency with which Celtic patterns exist in nature led Smith to suspect, and eventually state with certainty, that Golden Ratio patterns were in Celtic patterns. “The golden ratio, which is also called the Fibonacci number, is the ubiquitous key to the universe. It’s found in the branching patterns of trees, and it’s also found in our DNA and in millions of patterns in the natural world. I started to think, well maybe Celtic patterns are in the patterns of the orbits of the planets.” Smith hasn’t been able to substantiate this last theory yet, but she expresses it in her piece, Venus and Earth Orbit.

Smith has lived in Placitas since 1985, but lived briefly in New Mexico in 1979, when she moved from San Francisco to study lithography at the Tamarind Institute. Soon after, she became intrigued by the geometric designs in Native American art, in which she found parallels to her own work. For the past eleven years, Smith has lived in Dome Valley, where she interacts daily with nature. Smith’s home is built in such a way that, even if she tried, she can’t forget nature and its many patterns; she has to go outside if she wants to move from room to room. No wonder she’s so mindful of the most “ubiquitous key to the universe.”

Smith’s work is currently on view alongside that of Harley Kirschner in the gallery of The Range Cafe, 925 Camino Del Pueblo, Bernalillo. The show, “Abstractions in Balance,” will be up until August 31. You can also view her work at the Rockin’ R Gallery (Homestead Village Center, Placitas), where she is the featured artist from September 16 through mid-October. Smith’s studio is open by appointment. Visit for her contact information.

c. Lorna Robbins

House of Song, by Laura Robbins,
clay and glass mosaic, 3’w. x 4’h


¡Globalquerque! poster showcases local artist Robbins

—Signpost Staff

Now in its seventh year, ¡Globalquerque! presents 17 acts from six continents on three stages on September 16 and 17 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Locally known as “New Mexico’s annual celebration of world music and culture,” this year’s show presents not only music, dance, workshops, crafts, and exotic foods, but also fabulous fine artwork.

As an extension of the fine art at the festival, each year, ¡Globalquerque! commissions a different New Mexico artist to design their promotional poster image. Poster artists have included Jan Jackson, Theresa Laferriere, Santiago Perez, Suzanne Sbarge, Jade Leyva and this year’s artist Laura Robbins of Placitas.

Festival organizers Tom Frouge and Jade Leyva had always admired Robbins mixed-media mosaic work and asked her if she would consider creating a mosaic to represent the spirit of ¡Globalquerque! to be photographed and reproduced as the 2011 promotional poster.

“I was so happy to be asked by Tom and Jade to do an image for this year’s ¡Globalquerque!,” Robbins said. “So I started the mosaic with clay work, first making a simple branch-like outline of a house with roots for its foundation. Then the instruments evolved—drums, flutes, stringed instruments—and they became part of the structure of the house.

Robbins explains her finished mosaic “House Of Song” as a celebration of all humans, animals and plants, and the Earth which is our home.

The four-foot-high by three-foot-wide piece will be on display in front of the Journal Theater in the Roy E. Disney Center for the Performing Arts at the National Hispanic Cultural Center for both days of the festival, including during the free day program on Saturday, September 17. Many more artists’ works will be on display in the Global Village of Craft Culture and Cuisine during the weekend event, as well.

For more information and a schedule of ¡Globalquerque! events, visit:

UNM, Rio Rancho seek artists for outdoor art installation

—Peter Wells

The city of Rio Rancho and UNM West are seeking to purchase an existing or commissioned work of art for installation in a proposed outdoor open space corridor that will form the center of the UNM West campus as it develops and be shared by Rio Rancho City Hall.

The call is open to all professional artists or artist teams who are residents of New Mexico. The budget is $29,000 and is to include artwork, fabrication, and installation expenses. Project prospectus and application for RFP#12-Pa-003 is available now on Rio Rancho’s website

Artists are encouraged to visit and view the central open space and walking communal open area. The selected artwork my use any or all of the available space adjacent to the southwest portion of the UNM building and street but must be free standing and not adhere or be incorporated to the building. Proposal information must be submitted by September 28 to the Rio Rancho City Clerk’s office. The project will become the property of UNM.

The artwork will be chosen by a local selection committee comprised of three UNM officials, two Rio Rancho Arts Commissioners, and two Rio Rancho citizen volunteers.

More information is available at the City of Rio Rancho IFB/RFP Postings and the Rio Rancho Arts Commission websites or contact Jonathon Daniels, City of Rio Rancho Purchasing Manager at or 896-8769.

A composite of the images: "It Was a Very Good Year," painting by Meg Leonard, and "Women in Flight," wood sculpture, by Jim Fish. 

Dance through change: A Collaboration of Fluidity

—Signpost Staff

It all began with a trade four years ago—his sculpture for her painting—each a personal response to the rhythm of local land.

The works of Meg Leonard and Jim Fish will be on display at Anasazi Fields Winery in the Historic Village of Placitas from September 25 through October, 2011. The artists invite you to join them at the winery for an opening reception on September 25 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Placitas artist Meg Leonard provides impressionistic oil and pastel landscapes in her distinctive colorful palette. The intimate new work guides the viewer along cottonwood-banked rivers, through the Bosque forest and Ojito Wilderness as summer slips into fall, fall into winter.

Jim Fish gives new life to old trees using dead limbs, stumps, and fence posts, many collected in ancient orchards of the Village of Placitas. By exploring negative space, he reveals the wood’s natural beauty and fluidity of growth and grain in imaginative sculpture. From some of these same trees and their offspring, he crafts the uniquely complex fruit wines of Anasazi Fields Winery and adds another dimension to the endless spiral of life.

Together, the works by these two artists span a spectrum of magic in the land they love.

Together, they offer an invitation to dance through change.

The show will be open during normal winery tasting room hours from noon to five p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, as well as on Monday and Tuesday, October 3 and 4 (during Balloon Fiesta). Admission to the show is free. The artists are donating ten percent of the sales of their art during the show to watershed restoration projects following the New Mexico wildfires during 2011.

Alvaro Cardona-Hine

Alvaro Cardona-Hine of Truchas

Amalia Madueño

Amalio Madueño of Embudo

Duende poetry reading at Anasazi Fields Winery

—Gary L. Brower

The third reading of 2011, sponsored by the Duende Poetry Series of Placitas (now in its seventh year), will take place on Sunday, September 11 at 3:00 p.m. at the local Anasazi Fields Winery. The featured poets will be two of New Mexico’s major writers, both well published and experienced: Alvaro Cardona-Hine of Truchas and Amalio Madueño of Embudo.

Cardona-Hine has published nineteen books of poetry, prose, and literary translations. He is also a playwright, composer, and a visual artist whose paintings can be found in private collections and museums around the world. He is, in fact, a sort of Renaissance man and publishes both in Spanish and English. His poetry has appeared in many well-known poetry journals such as: Kayak, The Nation, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crazy Horse, Chicago Choice. His poems have also been included in a number of anthologies: Contemporary World Poetry; The Pushcart Prize Anthology (IV); The Poet Dreaming in the Artist’s House; The Other Side of a Poem; and, If Dragon Flies made Honey. He has also been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Council and the Bush Foundation. Some of his books include: The Gathering Wave; Agapito; Four Poems about Sparrows; A History of Light; Spring has Come (A translation of Pre-Renaissance Spanish poetry); The Curvature of the Earth, which he published with his friend, the late poet Gene Frumkin (UNM Press, 2007); and a memoir, Thirteen Tangos for Stravinsky. Cardona-Hine has just finished a long novel and a new musical composition.

Amalio Madueño lives on the Embudo River near where it connects with the Rio Grande. He was associated with The Taos Poetry Circus during the entire 1990s and performs his work in readings, workshops and seminars throughout the West. Along with sixteen chapbooks, he has published extensively in poetry journals such as: The Pedestal; Poetry (Chicago); Prairie Schooner; Sin Fronteras; Malpais Review; Border Senses; Exquisite Corpse; Más Tequila Review; Askew; Pageboy; Wandering Hermit; Between Sleeps; Chokecherries and Desert Shovel Review. His last feature-length book, Lost in the Chamiso, was published by Wild Embers Press (2006). His next book, Spider Road, is forthcoming from Mouthfeel Press in El Paso. He is the founder of Ranchos Press and the Border Poets Consortium, and grew up on the U.S. side of the Tijuana/San Ysidro, California border, and considers himself a fronterizo (border) poet. His latest chapbook is Corua, which, like many of his works, he writes in a mixture of Spanish and English. He directs a new poetry series at the Vivac Winery in Embudo.

For all Duende readings, wine, free snacks, and nonalcoholic drinks are available to the audience. The event is free, though we encourage donations for the poets. For more information about the event, contact Jim Fish at the winery at or 505-867-3062.

The Duende Poetry Series of Placitas sponsors four readings a year, and the last reading of this year will be held in October (details forthcoming at a later date). To reach the winery, turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos from Highway 165 in the old village of Placitas, across from the Presbyterian Church. Drive past two stop signs and then turn left into the winery parking lot. From outside Placitas, take I-25 to Exit 242, drive six miles to Placitas, and follow Camino de los Pueblitos through two stop signs to the winery.

Anna Goodridge and Sonya Coppo

Artists Anna Goodridge and Sonya Coppo

A joint adventure

—Placitas Library

It makes sense that Anna Goodridge and Sonya Coppo have joined together to share their art with the public at the Placitas Community Library for the month of September. Three years ago they met and commented that they were each being mistaken for the other, even for sisters. Each has short white hair, both wear glasses, and both are on an artistic path. These experienced artists have become a great support to each other in their art and spiritual journeys. Although some confuse the two, each has her own individual, distinctive abilities, and expressions.

Both are members of a Placitas art group called Creative Spirits, which encourages the individual creative process. They also support the arts in Placitas by providing children’s programs at the library.

Goodridge thinks of herself as an artistic facilitator and allows her creations to reveal themselves to the viewer. Her process is being still and going within. Anna’s intention is for her art to inspire a spiritual experience for the viewer. Working in oils, encaustic, and collage on canvas, she loves the paint, texture, light and mystery of each work. More of Anna’s work can be seen at her studio and her website:

Coppo works on canvas using acrylics and inks to create both functional and decorative art. She is known for her canvas handbags, floorcloths, tablerunners, and Plains Indians Parfleche wall art. Her abstract paintings are reminiscent of Kandinsky and abstract expressionism. Love of color and texture expresses itself in her palette. More of Sonya’s work can be seen at her studio and her website

Join Anna and Sonya at their artists’ reception, Friday, September 23, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Placitas Community Library.

Corrales Society of Artists

Art in the Park, a series of fine arts and crafts shows sponsored by the Corrales Society of Artists, has taken place the third Sunday of each month in the Village of Corrales since last May. The final scheduled date for 2011, is September 18.

Hours for the event are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at La Entrada park (northwest corner of Corrales and La Entrada roads). Parking and admission is free. There will be a youth tent wherein selected artists will work to teach children the basics of various mediums of art, ranging from painting and drawing, to bead-making.

For information, visit their website at

Erica Hoverta

Erica Hoverter

Public art selection made for city entrance

Albuquerque artist Erica Hoverter’s winning design for public art was selected at the July 27 meeting of the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) for the Unser Boulevard corridor that serves as an entry into Rio Rancho, New Mexico’s third largest city. The selection committee praised Hoverter’s mural designs made from recycled tempered glass and permanently sealed surfaces, which represent New Mexico scenes, flora and fauna. The artwork will cover approximately 220 square feet on three 11- to 14-foot-tall monument structures and an additional one hundred square feet of artistic work along a portion of the four-hundred-foot-long wall structure being constructed for flood control. The work should be completed by December 2011 and will be maintained by the City of Rio Rancho (CORRO)

”A flood wall can be remarkably plain, so we felt responsible for making it beautiful and emblematic of the surrounding New Mexico landscape, particularly since this location is a gateway into Rio Rancho,” said SSCAFCA Chairman, Mark Conkling. “SSCAFCA is grateful for the leadership provided by the Rio Rancho Arts Commission in selecting the artist.”

The selection committee’s members included Linda Laitner, Project Manager (RRAC), Mark Conkling and Steve House (SSCAFCA), Jay Hart (CORR), Margaret Oster (RRAC), Peter Smith-(Public Representative), and Carol Tulenko (Presbyterian Rust Medical Center).

SSCAFCA is the agency responsible for providing flood and erosion protection for people and property in southern Sandoval County, including trails and recreational facilities, which add to residents’ quality of life. The agency oversees two hundred square miles or nearly 128,000 acres of land, bordered on the east by the Rio Grande River and on the west by the escarpment, the dividing point that drains rainfall toward Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, and Corrales, instead of the Rio Puerco. More information is available on

Kiln-formed glass class in Placitas

Kiln-fired glass is an ancient art form that employs special glass called dichroic glass, which sparkles with the metals with which it is made. Two layers or more provide a canvas that displays every color of the rainbow. “Fused glass jewelry pieces are easy to create,” says Cathryne Richards who will be presenting a beginner’s class and open workshop on the second and fourth Tuesday, starting September 13 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Placitas Community Center (41 Camino de Las Huertas). Participants will learn how to cut glass, design, lay up the pieces, and with a special kiln, fire them into jewelry pendants, brooches, bracelets, and earrings. Materials will be available for a small fee at the first class, and a field trip is planned to gather supplies and ideas on September 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This year there will be a special guest speaker once a month, an artist’s show and tell, and specialists who will present a variety of topics on how to work with glass in creating objects of beauty. Everything from working with crushed glass called frit, firing or molding your pieces in the kiln, to finishing and marketing your jewelry will be presented over the course of the classes.

To reserve your space in the beginner’s class beginning on September 13, call the Placitas Community Center at 867-1396.

Willy Sucre & Friends—La Catrina Quartet

The Placitas Artists Series will present Willy Sucre & Friends—La Catrina Quartet—on September 18 at 3:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242.) Violinist Willy Sucre will be joined by La Catrina Quartet members, Daniel Vega-Albela and Blake Espy, both on violin, Jorge Martinez on viola, and Cesar Bourguet on cello. The program should include: Alberto Ginastera’s “String Quartet No. 1,” Silvestre Revuelta’s “Musica de Feria,” and Antonin Dvorak’s “Viola quintet in E flat Op. 97”.

Hailed by Yo Yo Ma as wonderful ambassadors for music, the La Catrina String Quartet is one of the most sought after ensembles on tour today. Their unique blend of Latin American and standard repertoire has proved enormously entertaining for its diverse audiences, catering to the more traditional concertgoers, while still attracting the next generation of listeners. Their infectious personalities infuse into their playing, creating truly compelling performances. The Quartet has a triple mission: to perform the masterworks of the string quartet repertoire, to promote Mexican and Latin American music worldwide, and to work closely with composers in order to promote the performance of new music.

The Quartet is currently Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. They tour regularly throughout the United States and Mexico and have received important awards and recognitions. They have premiered works by composers Thomas Janson and John Ferriot at Kent Blossom Music Festival in Ohio, and Zac Munn at the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Tickets are 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, or Ah!Capelli Salon and Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza in Rio Rancho, or online at Advance ticket price is $20. At the door prices are general admission $20 and students $15. For additional information, call 867-8080 or visit their website.

Placitas Artists Series features September artists

Preceding the Willy Sucre concert on September 18, the Placitas Artists Series will hold a reception at 2:00 p.m. for September exhibiting visual artists, including the art of Preston Photography, Nancy Dean Kreger, Dianna Shomaker and Geri Verble.

Preston Photography is the combined work of Roger Preston and Roxanne Bebee Blatz. They have traveled much of the country as well as overseas. While experiencing the same subject matter, each sees and captures a unique view with its own essences. In this season’s exhibition, they are featuring images close to home.

Nancy Dean Kreger has a BFA in Visual Design. She found a passion for vibrant watercolors while painting with Evelyne Boren in Provence, New Mexico, and Tuscany. She is the poster artist for Santa Fe Wine Festival 2011 at Las Golondrinas. She has had many one-woman and group shows in New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Europe. Posters of Santa Fe, Samuel Design Group, and Museum of New Mexico Foundation all carry her work.

Dianna Shomaker grew up in Seattle. The thrill of the artistic experiment is what captures her attention: using new materials, techniques, and surfaces. The experimental application of color in a variety of ways often creates a stronger statement for her than the more traditional methods. She believes art is a means of learning to see and appreciate the world that surrounds her.

Geri Verble, a Placitas jewelry artist, specializes in tribal and ethnic jewelry. Verble developed a passion for collecting ethnic beads. She majored in Theatre Arts in college, and this sense of design has influenced her work in creating one-of-a-kind, exceptional designs.

All the artists work will be on display at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church located six miles east of I-25 on 165 (exit 242) from the last Saturday of August through the last Saturday of September.




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