ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fall glitters Placitas’ rolling hills and mesas, signaling the time for the 33rd Annual Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale.
Next weekend 80 New Mexico artists will be selling paintings, prints, clay, glass, wood, silk, photographs, gourds, jewelry and metal in three central locations: the Anasazi Fields Winery, the big tent next to the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and the Placitas Elementary School.
Bill and Vangie Dunmire are this year’s guest artists. Bill is an award-winning author of books about the life, people, places and plants of New Mexico. Watercolor artist Vangie illustrates his books. The show includes many Placitas artists, as well as those from Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Corrales, Kewa Pueblo, Santa Fe, Taos and Tijeras.
Silk painter Bunny Bowen has been showing her work in the holiday show for 30 years. Bowen works in batik and rozome, a form of Japanese batik.
Rozome incorporates the dyes used to create kimono silk. The dyer steams the fabric, then dry cleans it to remove the wax that creates the patterns.
Much of Bowen’s imagery features water and wildlife.
“By the Waters” was inspired by her Colorado cabin near Marble, where the Crystal River flows.
“A lot of my scarves have the inspiration of the river in the desert,” the Placitas artist said. “I’ve been in New Mexico since 1967, so I’m well aware of the environmental impact. And blue is my favorite color.”
Wax formed the lace-like foam on the waves in the framed piece. Bowen starts by making a charcoal drawing on the back of the silk to serve as a template. It may take her 20 cycles of drawing and waxing or up to a month to complete a single work of art.
“I just like the slow development of the piece,” she said.
“Celtic Crane” reveals both her love of wildlife and her interest in the Irish Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels.
“Cranes fly over our house out here in Placitas,” she said. “And it’s a wonderful image.”
For that piece, she cut a stencil in the bird’s shape and waxed through it onto the fabric with a mop applicator.
“It’s really a Japanese dish scrubber,” she said.
Bowen served as a registrar at a 2005 batik conference in Boston, where she met many artists. She’s also traveled to Japan multiple times to study her art. She exhibits her work at Arte de Placitas.
Oil and pastel artist Lyle Brown lives in Bernalillo. He’s shown his work in the holiday show for “three or four years.”
“I’ve always been involved in the visual world,” he said.
Brown traded the overcast skies of upstate New York for New Mexico 20 years ago. He ran his own architectural business for 30 years, but had been drawn to painting since winning an elementary school poster contest. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute for one year before moving to the Southwest. He was instantly drawn to the interplay of man-made structures with the angularity of rock formations.
“Being in New Mexico, you can’t help but get involved in art,” he said. “We did a trip to Moab (Utah) last year. I was enthralled by the rock formations.”
The trip produced “Vermilion Cliffs,” an interpretation of Arizona’s painted escarpments.
He produced “Blue Wagon” after a winter outing in Santa Fe. He drove around the city searching for a scene. The painting shows a wagon parked before an adobe wall and entryway.
“I think it was the light,” he explained. “It just hit me – the combination of the pueblo style house with the blue wagon in the corner. The composition was interesting.”
Brown has sold more than 110 paintings in 10 years. He shows his work at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa.