Seventy artists from Corrales and the surrounding area will exhibit, and hopefully sell, their creations during the three-day Corrales Art and Studio Tour September 10-12. Paintings, sculpture, fiber art, ceramics, fused glass, digital art, pastels and photography will be shown,s will one-of-a-kind jewelry and unique wood dowel wall hangings. A preview gallery at Casa Vieja, 4541 Corrales Road, will introduce tour-goers to what lies ahead. The gallery will open Friday, September 10, 1-4 p.m. and be open throughout the weekend 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Maps of participating studios and gallery locations will be available at Casa Vieja along with a tour catalog. They will also be available from a booth outside the Frontier Mart and other shops in Corrales. Or they can be downloaded at CorralesArtsSudioTour.com. The tour is in its 23rd year, continuously except for pandemic-stricken 2020. Works of art will be priced from the $20 range to several hundred dollars.
This year’s tour features many who have exhibited in the past and several new participants. Among those returning are Barbara Clark, Krysteen Waszak, Sandra Corless, Susana Erling, Ken Duckert, Jeff Warren, Bonnie Mitisek, Lynne Pomeranz, Sue Ellen Rael, Rick Snow and Juan Wijngaard. In addition to those are, in alphabetical order: Chip and Linda Babb, Laura Balombini, Corky Baron, Michael Baron, Kevin Black, Elaine Bolz, John Boyes, Linda Boyes, Lynda Burch, Barbara Burzillo, Candace Cavellier, Christiane Couvert, Diane Cutter, Linda Dillenback, Amy Ditto, Denise Elvrum, Rex Funk, Myra Gadson, Terri Garcia, Doreen Garten, Renee Brainard Gentz, Tricia George, Cherrymae Golston, Roger Green, Karla Hackman, Gail Grambling Harrison,
D.L. Horton, Elizabeth Huffman, Paul Knight, Fran Krukar, Urey Lemen, Victoria Mauldin, Sandra Moench, Rita Noe, Jenn Noel, Sharon Patrick, Martha Rajkay, Leah Henriquez Ready, Liz Roberts, Maggie Y. Robinson, Barbara Rosen, Sharon Rutherford, Dave Sabo, Cristina Sanchez, Peggy Schey, Mickie Sharp, Tricia Simmons, Emily Spykman, Ivana Starcevic, Greta Stockebrand, Gale Sutton-Barbere, Chris Turri, Gina Voelker Bobrowski, Ken Wallace and Beth Waldron Yuhas.
Since the tour began, Corrales Comment has featured two or more artists participating in that year’s event.They and their artwork have been highlighted in a centerfold photospread and their explanation for their creations have been captured through recorded interview. This year, the featured artists are Paul Knight showing jewelry produced in his workshop and Linda Dillenback, whose paintings often depict succulents, while not neglecting rabbits and other critters.
This is Knight’s first year with the studio tour; he will be stationed at Dave Sabo’s studio at the north end of Corrales, rather than at his workshop at the 1.5-acre farm he shares with wife Chris Allen. His metal work is mostly in silver and bronze, but he has produced etchings, illustrations and paintings as well. For the tour, he’ll offer jewelry that can be bought for as little as $25 and other works priced at $300.
The 69-year-old considers himself semi-retired, although he keeps up a routine that some would find grueling. He had recently turned in a report on a field biological survey conducted for the national firm NV5. “I’m doing field studies all the time. I just got done walking two-thirds of the way to Farmington. I run field crews, and I do the reports. I see things all the time that go into my artwork. I get ideas all the time.” The artist, who holds a master’s degree in botany, served 10 years as N.M. State Botanist. His graduate work was in paleo-ethnobotany (the identification of prehistoric plant remains, a subject matter that often turns up in his art.
“In the show, I’ll concentrate on jewelry. I have a lot of different kinds. I will have material that I have collected from the Triassic time period, and Bronze Age jewelry —most people won’t know, but probably every single one of their European ancestors, men and women, for 3,000 years wore only bronze jewelry. Gold and silver generally was not available to people, so bronze was the jewelry from about 2,500 BC to about 500 AD.”
He’ll also show jewelry made from dichroic glass, which has been coated with certain metals which results in high reflectivity, and art pieces from glass as pendants depicting such critters as bees and dragonflies. Those are more recent artforms. “I started out doing etchings and engravings. Later on, I moved into watercolor, mainly of wildlife that I observed around the country and, to some degree, around the world.”
Knight also produces mosaics and bronze sculpture, large and small pieces. “I love doing bronzes. I like doing bronzes almost more than anything else, but the cost of making them and then selling them can be prohibitive.” He explained that a bronze sculpture would cost a minimum of $2,000 a foot in height, so if the piece is five feet tall “you’re talking about $10,000 just to cast it.” He pulled out some small bronzes, maybe two inches tall. “I thought about trying to sell some of these, but there is a lot of work in doing something like that. I’d probably have to sell that for $200 plus dollars, and it’s a small item, so I’m not convinced that people would want to spend that much on them.” Over the past 35 years, most of his jewelry, such as bracelets and earrings, has gone to family members.
Knight has taken only one art class. “That was because, I used to fence and I got stabbed with a sword. I had trouble with muscles in my arm, so the doctor recommended art. I took one art class and that’s when I started drawing. I had never really drawn anything before that. I found drawing very satisfying.” He tried several media, but found he couldn’t tolerate chemicals in oil paints. “But I’m always experimenting with media. The progression has been from pencils to painting, to bronzes to mosaics, etchings, engravings to glass work. “The only ones of those that I haven’t done recently are the etchings and engravings. Everything else I still do. For subject matter, it is whatever strikes me at the moment.” A possible new departure is combining bronze with glass. “I have some ideas on how to do that.”
Linda Dillenback has shown her paintings during the Corrales Art and Studio Tour for 10 years. Her painting style may be one of the most recognizable among all the exhibitors, given her consistent subject matter, cacti, and a direct, up-close presentation reminiscent of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. Dillenback’s paintings were shown in the Onyxswan Gallery in Old Town until it closed amid the pandemic. She will have four paintings in the Fine Arts Galley at the State Fairgrounds September 9-19. For the last several years, her work has been juried into the Corrales Historial Society’s Old Church Art Show.
For the Corrales Art and Studio Tour, she will display at least 15 paintings, most priced between $300 and $525 for the larger sizes. “I want what I show to be representational of the kind of work I can do. So I’m not going to just give away something that I’m really not fond of. On the other hand, it’s really hard for me to part with something that I’ve worked really hard on, and that I’ve learned something with. So I think ‘Oh my gosh, I’ll never be able to do that again!’”
A native of rural Kansas, she received little formal art training; the schools she attended offered no art classes. On the other hand, “What I did during the pandemic was watch a video or two every day about artists around the United States, in all media. So I kinda took a master’s class in art. I don’t know that it improved me any, frankly, but it was inspiring and kept me upbeat.”
She studied portraiture briefly with Deborah Wilcox, which has influenced her work. “If I can suggest something without putting it down in total detail, that’s a big accomplishment. I work on that. You can get so caught up in detail that you don’t take a nice swipe of paint and put it down and leave it down. What Debbie said was, ‘if you take more than three brush strokes, you’re over-working it. But that’s hard to do!”
“I like to do a lot of cactus. I like to do a lot of faces, especially children and dogs. Rabbits are challenging, and I like challenges like painting fur. I tend to be, but I’m working on expressing a certain amount of detail without actually putting it there.”
“Most artists like to try to capture the personality of their subject, and sometimes it’s whimsical… like the way a cow will look at you.” The artist completes around 15 paintings over a year’s time, all oils. “I’ve experimented with acrylic and watercolor to some degree, but I like oil.” Dillenback described herself as a slow, methodical painter who likes to fix what may be errors as they come up. “I like happy mistakes as well.” Her paintings are almost always crisply defined and meticulous in detail, such as the array of needles on cactus. “I love colors and I love patterns.” She has done a few commissioned paintings; a relative’s dog and friend’s horses.
Dillenback has painted most of her adulthood, although not continually. Wherever she lived, she usually found a group of artists with whom she could paint. Asked which artists had the greatest influence on her, she first mentioned Georgia O’Keeffe. “I have many artists whose work I look at to learn from. Talk about simplicity, with George O’Keeffe you know exactly what she’s painting.”