2017 Artists Painting the Gardens

Artists Painting the Gardens

Each garden in the 2017 Placitas Garden Tour will feature a Placitas Plein Air artist painting on site. “Plein Air” is a French term for painting scenes on location in open air.   The artists use paints or pastels to transform the garden into a lasting image that tells the story of how the garden was lovingly created and nurtured.  These artists follow the tradition of French painters from the 1840’s using small, portable painting kits on an easel to create an outdoor mini art studio.
photo: Todd & Rozanne Hakala

photo: Todd & Rozanne Hakala

photo: Todd & Rozanne Hakala

photo: Todd & Rozanne Hakala

Each painter has their own distinctive style just as each garden has it’s own distinctive qualities.  You are invited to watch the magic unfold as the artists paint the gardens.   The paintings will be on display and for sale at the Placitas Community Library (Garden #5)  the day of the Garden Tour.  This is a very special opportunity for you to own an original work of art as a wonderful reminder of the extraordinary 2017 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.

The featured artists for the 2017 tour are:

Tom Blazier
Linda Heath
Malinda Menke
Bonnie Mitisek
Dee Sanchez
Betty Temple
Lisa Zawadzki

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:


Drama, mood and atmosphere take center stage in the landscape oil paintings of Tom Blazier. Skies, the source of light, are an important component of his paintings, either as the primary subject or an indirect player in setting the emotional and visual tone for the subject. Tom seeks to convey and enhance subtle nuances of mood through careful observation and skillful application of paint. The result is often luminous and ethereal. At other times the composition is well defined and powerful. Whether the subject is a towering cumulus above a high desert expanse or the yellow glow cast on rocky cliffs at sunset, Tomʼs paintings are an expression of the breathtaking beauty of the Southwest landscape.

Microsoft Word - Blazier short bio.docx

A former newspaper travel section editor, features page designer and illustrator, Tom took a leap of faith and returned to his first love, painting, in 2008. His studio and plein air paintings have garnered many awards, and recent exhibits include Oil Painters of America Annual Juried Show, Scottsdale Salon of Fine Art, and Miniatures & More at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. Paintings can be viewed at InArt Santa Fe Gallery and Big Horn Gallery in Tubac, Arizona. Tom teaches workshops and classes at the New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque and other locations in the Southwest. He is president and signature member of Plein Air Painters of New Mexico. Tom lives with his wife, Suzanne, in Albuquerque, NM.



L. Heath (Linda L. Heath) grew up in New Mexico but after college graduation, worked and traveled all over the world until she permanently returned in 2004. She loves the southwest mountain and desert landscapes surrounding her Placitas home where she enjoys retirement activities of art and gardening.. Her classical art training was obtained at the San Francisco Academy of Art and through intensive workshops in Taos and California.




  • Malinda Menke

    Primarily a landscape painter, Malinda currently works exclusively in soft pastels. In 1999, she began studying with Albuquerque artist, Deborah Christensen Secor, who challenged her to experiment and “paint outside the lines.”  She is captivated by the versatility of the medium and the textural, luminous effects she can achieve by using a variety of surfaces and layering techniques. Malinda often chooses the intimate view of the landscape, simplifying elements to capture the essence of place.


Malinda is a member of the Pastel Society of New Mexico, and her work has been juried into PSNM’s National Painting Exhibitions numerous times. She has exhibited in group shows at Harwood Art Center, Sumner & Dene Gallery, Arts Alliance Gallery and the New Mexico Art League.  Her work can be seen at MATRIX Fine Art in Albuquerque



bonnie-photo-abq-bio-parkMy inspiration for Plein Air Painting is the marvelous effects of changing light and eather conditions in southwest landscapes. The Pastel medium is perfectly suited to spontaneous sketching. I particularly seek out interesting adobe architecture, historical landmarks and plant material to sketch and am often inspired by subject matter just minutes from my home.

Art Education

BFA in Fine Arts, Denison University, Granville OH, certification in Art Education K-12

Studied Painting and Design at Tyler School of Art and Philadelphia College of Art, Phila.,PA.


Professional Memberships

CSANM Corrales Society of Artists of New Mexico

Corrales Art Studio Tour 2015, 2016, 2017

Pastel Society of New Mexico

Plein Air Painters of New Mexico

Shows & Paint Outs

Starry Night Paint Out Show, Corrales, NM, 2014, 2015 1st Place Quick Draw

Corrales Garden Tour Paint Outs and Show 2014, 2015, 2016

Masterworks Show, Albuquerque, 2015, Honorable Mention Miniatures, 2016, 1st Place Pastel Miniatures

International Pastel Show Albuquerque, NM, Small Works 2016



Dee lives and works in the village of Alameda, New Mexico. She is a plein air painter and loves nothing more than taking day trips all over New Mexico and painting luscious oil paintings out of the back of her car.


Dee paints in the alla prima style, completing each oil painting in one sitting – whether it be a small 8×10″sunflower or a large 48×60″ landscape. Her subjects include grand vistas, chaotic masses of wildflowers, and the scenery of small northern New Mexico villages.

She is a daily painter and wants her viewers to be transported to that place and time when she stood out in the mesas and mountains with her paints and brushes and lost herself in the wildness and beauty of the ever-changing landscape.

Dee has been the Poster Artist for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Weems Artfest, and has her work in personal and private collections all over the world.


Having lived in the state of New Mexico for seventeen years, Betty Temple is intrigued by the subtleties and surprises of light. She tries to capture the surprises and subtleties whenever she paints.  The subjects of her paintings many times are untraditional.  Betty paints plein air whenever possible.  Betty has been in juried shows in the states of New Mexico and Colorado.  She received a degree in art from the University of Southern Mississippi.




  • Lisa Zawadzki

A native New Mexican, I paint landscapes which romanticize the places explored when growing up. My landscapes offer a somewhat realistic rendering with an intuitive use of color arising from emotional memory.

A painter by training, a recycle artist by chance and experimentation, an artist by virtue of sensibility, I am engaged by the raw power of color and the exquisite perfection of discovered composition.


I’ve been painting for almost twenty years but involved in artistic endeavors since childhood. I came to study painting as on outlet for expression when I became unable to practice dance.  I had the good fortune to study modern dance under Elizabeth Waters, the founding dance instructor at UNM.  Her pedagogy and insistence on frequent constructive criticism of her student’s choreography, along with the admonition, “if you make a mistake, make a big one…that way you will learn from it,” certainly plays a role in my current artwork.  I am a serious critic of my own artwork, which both frustrates and motivates.

Although still a student of pastel painting, I have sold a small body of artwork. I envision myself as an artist who is a risk-taker, learns from solving problems, and focuses on new ideas that emerge on the canvas.  I struggle with painting regularly, letting go of ideas I have found comfortable but which don’t make for interesting or enjoyable art and strive to play with color in new and satisfying ways.