Artists Painting the Gardens

2019 Artists Painting the Gardens 9:00 – 4:00 PM  (Scroll down to the Artist Bios to find out their gardens and painting shifts.)

photo: Todd & Rozanne Hakala

Gardens and paintings are similar in that they are composed in harmony with a series of shapes, forms, colors, and textures.

We invite you to watch the artists as they express their vision and interpretation of the gardens with paint and canvas. The Placitas Garden Tour has invited a select group of local artists to paint “en plein air” in each of the gardens. Please enjoy watching their process as they complete a portrait of the garden who has opened their home for the tour. In 2019, the following artists will join us: Laverne Bohlin, Diane Buster, Carol Carpenter, Connie Falk, Carla Forrest, Katherine Irish, Carol Ordogne, and Dianna Shomaker.

Purchase a Painting! All of the artists’ personal works will be on display for sale at the Placitas Community Library on the day of the tour. Purchase a work of art and a lasting memory of the Placitas Garden Tour.

photo: Todd & Rozanne Hakala

This is a very special opportunity for you to own an original work of art as a wonderful reminder of the extraordinary 2019 Placitas Garden Tour. The artists are working in collaboration with the Sandoval County Master Gardeners & the Placitas Community Library to raise funds for future landscape projects & educational programs in Placitas.

Information about each artist is listed below. If the artist has a website you can click on the artist’s name below to visit it:


Laverne Bohlin

Laverne Bohlin will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 5, Infinity Garden
PM – Garden 6, Labyrinth Garden

Landscape paintings by Laverne Bohlin have been described as colorful, serene and peaceful. “I love the outdoors and find a serenity and expansiveness in natural settings that I don’t find elsewhere,” Laverne says. Although her work often depicts ordinary scenes that are experienced by many, looking, seeing and recording the effects of light on the landscape is the essence of her work.

Laverne’s love of art and nature began in a resort town on Lake Erie where she was born and raised. She studied fine art in college and spent summers working as a portrait artist in an amusement park. Her formal art education was at the University of Michigan where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While attending Michigan, her education was directed towards the study of abstract art. Additional workshops with Richard McKinley, Doug Dawson, Jimmy Wright, Susan Sarback, Marla Baggetta, Michael Chesley Johnson and Terri Ford focused on a more realistic depiction of the natural world.


Diane Buster

Diane Buster will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 6, Labyrinth Garden
PM – Garden 8, Sangre de Agua Garden

Diane’s goal is to expand her observation skills and to translate that vision onto the canvas. New Mexico’s mostly sunny climate allows ample opportunity for plein air painting. Camping trips in the four corner states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah also provide opportunities to paint and photograph the southwest scenery she so enjoys.

Diane grew up in Indiana and attributes her sensitivity to the desert’s colors to her upbringing. “I was used to green,” she says, “and my first reaction was that there was a lack of it here.” But that initial response soon changed. She developed a highly perceptive eye. “I began to see all the colors, the nuances, and the light. It was a very different landscape from where I grew up and that got me going as an artist. I began to notice details.”

But capturing that perception is not always easy. “You’re trying to describe a three-dimensional experience in two dimensions,” Buster explains. “And that experience is con­stantly changing.” A small cloud rolls by, the light shifts. A painting has to capture that stream of time-driven visual changes into one captured-in-oil moment. Tricky, yes, but crucial to our understanding of the land­scape.


Carol Carpenter

Carol Carpenter will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 7, Zen Garden
PM – Garden 3, El Jardine en Equilibrio Garden

Carol is a professional artist with over 25 years of experience. She comes from a family of artists. Her interest in painting emerged at an early age when her mother took her along to painting classes. Carol attended Foothill College in Los Altos, California and graduated from the University of New Mexico where she studied art and art history. Carol’s latest watercolor awards include first place in the large painting division and 1st place in the miniature division of MasterWorks of New Mexico. She teaches watercolor at the NM Art League.


Connie Falk

Connie Falk will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 1, Small Potato Garden
PM – Garden 4, Accessible Garden

Connie Falk retired from her academic career at NMSU in 2013 from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business. For 25 years she taught classes and conducted research in sustainable agriculture and small farm economics. Upon retirement, she first moved to Farmington, NM, and then in fall 2017, to Placitas, NM. She began taking drawing and painting classes at NMSU in 2004. Since moving to Placitas, Connie has joined a weekly plein air group that paints landscapes in the Albuquerque area. She concentrates mainly on landscape painting in her studio work as well, although she has several other series going, focusing on animals, flowers, and non-objective designs. She paints primarily in oils but has recently begun to dabble in acrylics.

General Artist Statement
Oil painting is an exploration of interior and physical landscapes. When I paint, I am meditating on values, both values in pigment and what I cherish and mourn. Painting helps me process the world, comment on it, share with others my story, and interpret the beauty and anguish in a world hurtling towards disaster. Painting is both an escape from the world and a dive into its core truths. I hope that my paintings convey something about where I am geographically, emotionally, and philosophically.


Carla Forrest

Carla Forrest will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 3, El Jardine en Equilibrio Garden
PM – Garden 5, Infinity Garden

I approach art as an observer of the soul, enlightening the viewer about the presence, wonder, and dignity of nature and life. I want the viewer to value place and person in a space of spirit and heart and bring this illumination into their personal environments. While painting en plein air, I think about scale and how insignificant and unimportant we are in relation to the natural elements like mountains, rivers, foliage, and fauna. I think about light—warmth and cool—and the play of highlight and shadow, and how nurturing our sun is in the cycle of life. This direct observation of nature and presence inspires my spectral luminescent works. My impasto pieces are created through a complex alla prima painting process starting with brushes and then layering tiles of color and incising lines using pallet knives. My palette and three-dimensional form comes from what I see in the Southwestern landscape—full spectrum colors and stellar shapes, not just greens, blues, and square angles. I just love New Mexico! It is a painter’s paradise.

A portion of my artwork sale proceeds are donated to nonprofit environmental organizations, such as Albuquerque Open Space Alliance, New Mexico Biopark Society, and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, which align with my personal artistic mission.



Katherine Irish

Katherine Irish will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 8, Sangre de Agua Garden
PM – Garden 2, Huertas Canyon Farm

Katherine Irish knew she was an artist from an early age. She earned a BA in art at DePauw University and attended the Tyler School of Art in Rome and in New York. She earned an MPS in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute. Her desire to pursue a career in art led her to New Mexico in 1982. Previously painting in oil, she began to work seriously in pastel in 2002. She joined Albert Handell’s Mentorship program in 2013. Katherine is an award-winning artist who exhibits in juried and invitational exhibits across the country.

I have made a conscious decision to contribute beauty to the world through my art. I find camaraderie with landscape artists who work to reflect the beauty of nature despite a backdrop of world crisis. Skies are a window to a presence, much larger than we are. Stars and planets remind us that there are mysteries and a larger existence. Skies teach us of the constant and of a moment never to be repeated. What intensely bittersweet moment would be missed if a sunset did not complete its course? My art points to experiences beyond our normal preoccupations. I learn.


Carol Ordogne

Carol Ordogne will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 4, Accessible Garden
PM – Garden 1, Small Potato Garden

Carol has lived in many beautiful places including California and Hawaii. But the first time she visited the Southwest, the amazing vistas with its everchanging light and colors captured her heart forever.

Ordogne earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Hawaii and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. She worked as a landscape architect designing gardens until retiring in 2013 and became a full-time artist.

For Carol the special thing about plein air painting is the mindful immediacy. She is totally in the moment observing the quickly changing light, noticing subtle color variations and capture the scene in a kind of visual shorthand before it is gone. In a garden, artists see colors magnified in a way that other people do not usually see, and a camera can never capture. That is what she hopes to share with the viewer when she creates a painting.


Dianna Shomaker

Dianna Shomaker will be painting at the following gardens:
AM – Garden 2, Huertas Canyon Farm
PM – Garden 7, Zen Garden

Following careers as a nurse and university administrator, Dianna Shomaker turned her lifelong passion for painting into a third career in art. Her inventive abstractions, in oil, acrylic and encaustic have garnered innumerable awards in regional and national exhibitions. Her fluid brushwork and joy in exploration are clearly apparent in her vivacious and open-ended images. “Art is magical for the viewer,” says Dianna, “it should speak to your capacity to wonder, to dream, and to delight in mystery.”

Dianna Shomaker grew up on a small farm in western Washington State during the 1930s. A child of the depression, she created her own hours of play with whatever she could find; inspiring in her a tremendous creativity that fuels her art to this day.

In the 1950s, she was a scholarship art student at Central Washington University. It was there that she took my first formal art classes and, although she loved them, she left art school to pursue a more practical career in nursing. Dianna earned a Diploma in Nursing at Los Angeles County General Hospital and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Colorado where she also minored in Art. She married and had four children and soon earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Washington.

Dianna and her young family were lucky enough to live abroad in the early 1970s, enabling her to study abstract painting with Dr. Sachweh in Zweibrucken, Germany. Upon her return to the United States she became a nursing professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, which allowed her to take multiple art workshops at UNM and with wonderful teachers like Sam Smith, Virginia Cobb, Ted Hogsett, Charles Dunbar, Katherine Chang Liu, and Ellen Koment. She also pursued other academic interests, earning an MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from UNM in the early 1980s.

From there Dianna became an Associate dean in UNM’s College of Nursing and continued to pursue my art career on a part-time basis. Upon retirement from higher education in 2000, she was finally able to devote herself to a full-time art career.

Dianna Shomaker currently shows at the Corrales Bosque Gallery in Corrales, at the OnyxSwan Gallery in Old Town Albuquerque, and the Shomaker Studio & Gallery in Placitas.