By Meredith Hughes

Two pandemically affected Corrales artists in the painting/drawing division of the online 32nd annual Old Church Art Show, October 1-31, recently have completed works inspired by COVID-19, more or less. Mary Sue Walsh’s piece “View from My Kitchen with August Bouquet” sums it up for many: indoors, yet peeking out at a garden, no guests at the table. Victoria Mauldin’s heron, a peaceful but alert “Bosque Dweller,” hot off the easel, seems to be carrying on carrying on.

As one must. Or as the more than 50 artists must, as well as the tireless volunteers of the Corrales Historical Society and the Corrales Society of Artists who make possible the Fine Arts Show each year. This year’s show while online, is not as yet interactive as in a Zoom event, though it’s possible elements of such could be added.

Organizer Carol Rigmark explained that contact information for the artists as part of their bios or artists' statements is posted on a new website made possible by the labors of artist and gallery owner Barb Clark. The platform used is likely familiar to artists who use FineArtStudioOnline, aka FASO, a Texas-based marketing web tool established in 2001.

Once you’ve clicked on the url, visit the tab labeled 32nd Annual Fine Arts Show and scroll through the artwork. Click on a piece, and then enjoy two elements —“zoom,” in the old fashioned sense of getting closer, but also “room,” wherein the art is pictured on a wall, and you, the viewer even can choose from a limited range of subtle wall colors. And in addition of course there are prices, links to the artist, websites pertaining to them and so on.

Rigmark explained that the online show was considered “a gift we should provide for the artists, especially during this very difficult  year. Our two primary goals were to highlight New Mexico’s fine artists and to raise some badly needed funds for the Old Church.” She salutes Diane Cutter, Cheryl Cathcart and Rachel Dushoff, all Corrales artists, as well as Clark, for their contributions to the event.

As noted by Debbie Clemente, publicity volunteer for CHS, “Artists need venues, online or otherwise, to showcase their work. When they sell a piece at this show, 25 percent of their sales are donated toward preservation and maintenance of the Old Church so that this 150-year-old historic structure will be around for centuries to come.”

And, she adds, “to reward the winning artists in each category, we will create a special show of their works,” to be on display in historic Old San Ysidro Church “once we can all meet again.” Mary Sue Walsh, a competitor in dressage, a horse, dog, and chicken owner, and a Corraleña since 1990, has three pieces in this year’s show, one of a horse titled “Beau Regards.”

Beau was a race horse from Missouri, “with a sad story.” He had been raced too soon, then inexplicably was "locked up in a 10x10 stall for two entire years.” He came into Walsh’s hands as a rescue, and lived out his days happily, one assumes, in her Corrales pasture.

Walsh, born in Minneapolis, earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing and painting from the University of New Mexico. And has always worked as an artist, supplemented with gallery work, both in Los Angeles and Santa Fe. For years she has used a camera, often an old Canon, as a sketch book. “I take photos every day, of this cloud or that plant,” but she also does sketches in pastel, “to capture the emotional color of a scene.” She switched from working in oil to acrylic once she discovered that some element of oil painting, whether the turpentine, the linseed oil or another ingredient, was making her ill.

“And I might give watercolor a whirl, though it’s daunting, almost intimidating,” she said. As for subject matter, “people are the hardest, then animals!” She does both, especially commissioned work, often done in pastels as “they enable me best to recreate the soft skin of both humans and animals.”

COVID-19 restrictions have pushed Walsh to get assistance creating a new website, to making her art more marketable, including giclee prints and a line of themed cards. And she has joined Art Under Quarantine, an initiative by Jada Griffin of Tesuque, which is described as “a global, multi-media platform for creatives. We are diverse and inclusive, and we welcome your offering. If you’d like to join the conversation, email soul@avant-garde- art.com.

Walsh laughed describing the sight of a winds-propelled porta-potty tumbling along I-25, a recent event that made social media, “and really sums up the situation in 2020!” As for goals? “Some day I really would like to sculpt an animal in clay, and then cast it in bronze.” Visit her current website.

Victoria Mauldin’s piece in the show, “The Challenge,” was an encounter years ago between an older elk and a young wannabe, whom she saw from a window in her then home in Ruidoso. “I love seeing an experience and turning it into a painting,” she said. “I could hear their antlers cracking together, and that drew me to the window. There was no violence.”

Mauldin too, like Mary Sue Walsh, jettisoned oil painting after discovering it gave her vertigo. And while she always had loved art, her long career was as a teacher, and then an elementary school principal. A native of Alabama, Mauldin moved at age six to Texas, so she describes her accent as a fluid combo of both places. “As you may know, teaching takes all a person’s energy, so I was only able to paint occasionally.” In pursuit of that, Mauldin and her husband, a psychologist, moved to Ruidoso, “an artsy place,” where they enjoyed about a dozen years. Until… “we were standing on our mountain top, looking over at the next range, where the Little Bear fire was raging. We thought, that could be us, if it jumps.” That fire in 2012 burned 44,000 acres.

They’ve lived in Corrales about three years, an artsy place that suits them both. Ninety-five percent of her work is from her own photographs —she, too, has had an old Canon— though her newest pursuit, “imaginative realism,” began with a vivid dream. “It was a dream I had about three years ago,” she said, “And I had to paint it. Of course you cannot force dreams, so, I am figuring this all out.”

A favorite picture of hers, “Day’s End,” came about when she and her husband were driving to Texas from Roswell, and he said “We’re not stopping until we get to Tiny’s in Tatum!” Turns out that Tiny’s, a burger joint, had a bunch of old photos on the wall, and one caught Mauldin’s attention. It was of Tiny’s adopted son as a youngster, in cowboy boots and hat, plopped down on the ground exhausted. “I asked her if she could photocopy it, but Tiny said, “I have no way to do that so take it with you, sure.” Mauldin got it done, returned the photo and recreated the picture. “Again, turning an experience into a painting.”

Pandemically unable to welcome people to her home gallery, Mauldin welcomes inquiries. And also sells her work in giclee prints. One of her most powerful is an immense close-up portrait of a bison peering between some slats at her. “They usually look so fierce,” she said, “But this one seemed simply curious.” Explore Mauldin’s work through her online portfolio.

And do visit the show. As the CHS website reminds, “We cancelled two large events (Mudding Day & Heritage Day) and this eliminated our opportunities to raise funds by selling items from our docents' Shop-in-a-Basket. Many of our usual revenue-generating events such as concerts, open houses and rentals were also cancelled. The fall situation remains unknown... and, meanwhile the Old Church keeps getting older and still needs care.”

The five blue ribbon winners are: Painting/Drawing: Tie between Jay Parks of Albuquerque, Title: “Rio Grande Gorge Showers” and Jeff Warren of Tijeras, Title: “Excalibread;” Photography: Ken Duckert of Corrales, Title: “Monument Valley Sunrise;” Sculpture: Chuck Cook of Albuquerque, Title: “Nurture;” Mixed Media/Collage: Molly Mooney of Albuquerque, Title: “Cin Cin Vest.”

Corrales Artists in the show are: Barbara Clark, Sandra Corless, Linda Dillenback, Ken Duckert, Susanna Erling, Joan Findley, Rex Funk, Diane Gourlay, Gail Harrison, Sue Hoadley, Ken Killebrew, Barbara Marx, Victoria Mauldin, Jude Rudder, Tina Stallard and Mary Sue Walsh.

Other 2020 juried exhibitors are: Brandon Allebach, Painting/Drawing; Reid Bandeen, Painting/Drawing; Lynda Burch, Painting/Drawing; Gary Chaffin, Sculpture; Barbara Clark, Painting/Drawing; Carl Coan, Photography; Neala Coan, Photography; Chuck Cook, Sculpture; Sandra Corless, Photography; Jeffrey Danneels, Photography; Judy Deater, Photography; Linda Dillenback, Painting/Drawing; Ken Duckert, Photography; Susana Erling, Painting/Drawing; Joan Findley, Painting/Drawing; Myles Freeman, Blown Glass; Rex Funk, Sculpture; Diana Gourlay, Painting/Drawing; Roger Green, Painting/Drawing; Kelly Haller, Photography; Gail Harrison, Sculpture; Nancy Haseman, Photography; Sue Hoadley, Painting/Drawing; Katherine Irish, Painting/Drawing; Jonna James, Painting/Drawing; Teresa Johnson, Painting/Drawing; Ken Killebrew, Painting/Drawing; Nancy Kozikowski, Printmaking; Fran Krukar, Painting/Drawing; Barbara Marx, Painting/Drawing; Tony Mattson, Photography; Victoria Mauldin, Painting/Drawing; Jack McGowan, Painting/Drawing; Barbara McGuire, Painting/Drawing; Lee McVey, Painting/Drawing; William Monthan, Painting/Drawing; Molly Mooney, Collage; Rita Noe, Sculpture; Jay Parks, Painting/Drawing; Richard Prather, Painting/Drawing; Martha Rajkay, Painting/Drawing; Kerry Renshaw, Painting/Drawing; Jude Rudder, Painting/Drawing; Tina Stallard, Painting/Drawing; Mary Sue Walsh, Painting/Drawing; Jeff Warren, Painting/Drawing; Marilyn Wightman, Painting/Drawing; Judith Zabel, Photography; and Lisa Zawadzki, Painting/Drawing.

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