Salmon Ruins staffer starts art classes

Mike Easterling

FARMINGTON — Nancy Sweet Espinosa has graduate and master’s degrees in archaeology, which she puts to use every work day in her role as the curator and education coordinator at Salmon Ruins Museum west of Bloomfield.

But she also has earned a bachelor’s degree in art and two-dimension design, and is an accomplished ceramics artist.

It’s her education in the latter that she’ll be calling on over the next several weeks as she introduces a series of twice-a-month art sessions, dubbed Paint Date at the Museum, that get underway Thursday.

“My first love is fine arts,” Espinosa said, explaining her motivation for starting the series. “This is just a great way to make get my brushes back out. So I thought I’d try it and see what the response is.”

The sessions are open to adults of all skill levels. During the classes, participants will be asked to create an image based on a set-up, a photograph or an image projected by a digital projector while receiving instruction from Espinosa.

She expects attendance to vary from session to session, so the amount of coaching each participant receives depends on how many people take part. There is no cap on the number of participants for each session, but Espinosa expects to be able to spend time with every student.

“It’s just a casual, relaxing, learning experience for everyone,” she said.

This isn’t Espinosa’s first foray into the instructional side of art. She’s taught drawing, painting and pottery classes through her personal studio, as well as through continuing education classes at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.

Espinosa started out working in ceramics as a student before moving on to painting. She said she was relatively successful in the former, selling enough of her work to help her pay for her education.

She said she chose Thursdays for the art sessions because that seems to be a day most people don’t already have another activity planned. She thinks the every-other-week format will give those attending the sessions on a regular basis time to work on their own on the lessons they learned during class, then come to the next session prepared to apply them.

For those who are interested in learning to paint or draw but who think they aren’t up to the challenge, Espinosa said she’s living proof that it’s never too late to learn.

“I didn’t start as a full-time university student until I was 42,” she said. “And by the time I was 47, I had earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree.”

She said there’s no reason for anyone to be intimidated by the idea of cultivating their creative side.

“This is a casual class, and we’re all learning, no matter what our level is,” she said. “Brave that first time, and you’ll be fine.”

Each session costs $15, half of which will be returned to Salmon Ruins. Espinosa asks that participants call in advance to reserve a space so she knows how many people to prepare for, but walk-ins will be accepted.

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610 and Follow him @measterlingdt on Twitter.


What: Paint Date at the Museum

When: 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month beginning Thursday, Oct. 1

Where: Salmon Ruins Museum, 6131 U.S. Highway 64 west of Bloomfield

Cost: $15 per session, and participants will need to provide their own materials

To reserve a spot: Call 505-632-2013