February art walk will feature four galleries

Mike Easterling

FARMINGTON — Tim Jones is an audiologist with his own local hearing aid practice. So being considered an artist is still something of a foreign concept to him.

Tim Jones has only been creating hand-crafted wooden bowls and pots like this one for a little more than a year.

Still, anyone who envisions him being motivated by a muse when it comes to his creating his segmented, Southwest-style bowls and pots quickly will be disabused of that grand notion.

"It's my winter project when I can't play golf," Jones said flatly, describing his entry into the woodworking field a little more than a year ago.

It's hard to look at Jones' work and imagine they're designed to merely serve as a distraction to keep him occupied while he waits for local fairways to green up in the spring. And once he's prodded a little, Jones acknowledges his dismissive, off-the-cuff description of his work may not be entirely accurate.

"I've made furniture before, and I love doing woodwork," said Jones, whose work will be featured in an exhibition opening this weekend at the Three Rivers Arts Center, 123 W. Main St. in Farmington, as part of the February art walk. "Some of the bowls I've seen around here are just beautiful, and I thought, 'Maybe I could do this.' But it's harder than it looks."

Jones was moved to give it a try after spending the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday with a friend who had a woodworking shop.

"I played in his shop the whole visit and had a blast," he said. "I came home a month later and bought a bunch of equipment and started turning out bowls."

To say Jones quickly found his way as an artist might be something of an understatement. TRAC Board President Sue Johnson recalled being wowed by his work the first time she saw it.

"Oh, I loved it, and I was absolutely knocked off my feet when he said he'd been doing it for less than a year," she said.

Since then, Jones has become the newest member of the TRAC co-op, meaning his work will be shown at the nonprofit organization's gallery on a regular basis.

"It looks like he's been doing them for years," Johnson said. "He is extremely talented."

Johnson asked Jones if he would be willing to serve as the gallery's featured artist for the February art walk, and she said he agreed after some hesitation.

Jones insisted his initial unwillingness had nothing to do with being nervous. He takes a very matter-of-fact approach when it comes to public approval.

"If you like it, great," he said drily. "If you don't, I don't care. I'm still going to do it."

Jones is planning on displaying five or six pieces in the show. He said he uses several types of wood, including many exotics, and he favors Southwestern patterns exclusively over more contemporary styles.

The skills he honed as a furniture maker have translated somewhat to his new field, Jones said, adding that a big down side of the former was the way his new work tended to eat up space.

"I ran out of furniture to build," Jones said. "I built so many coffee tables, the house is still full of them. The thing about pots and bowls is they take two or three weeks to make, so I'm not overwhelmed with them yet. But my office is getting full."

Among other artists, local singer-songwriter Eric Campbell will perform at TRAC during the art walk.

Photographer Darby Donaho specializes in macro photography and landscapes but says she'll shoot anything that captures her interest.

Photographer Darby Donaho, the featured artist at the Artifacts Gallery, 302 E. Main St., is relatively new to the Four Corners, having moved here from the Houston area 15 months ago to take a job teaching on the Navajo Nation. She was in process of moving to Aztec last week as she prepared for her first exhibition as a featured artist.

Donaho is also somewhat of a newcomer to the art world, picking up a camera and focusing on macro photography four and a half years ago. She said she liked to spend a lot of time at the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science capturing detailed images of the specimens there.

"I had no idea I had the talent," she said. "But someone told me, 'You need to get a real camera' because I was only using a point and shoot. What I really had to learn was that post-processing was just as important as the image itself."

While she's too far from Houston to visit that butterfly exhibit these days, Donaho said she has made a few trips to Scottsdale to visit a similar facility there. The images she has accumulated from both those places will make up her show at Artifacts.

She'll also be showing off her new self-published book, "The Butterfly Book," which will be available for pre-order during the art walk. Donaho said it consists of approximately 80 images spread out over 100 pages.

An exhibition of photographs of butterflies by Darby Donaho will be featured at the Artifacts Gallery as part of the February art walk.

Every image in the book was shot in color, though Donaho said she actually favors black-and-white work.

"Black-and-white is so sexy, but through my watching people react to my work on Facebook, it's clear that the ones in color will get five times more attention," she said. "But I think the black-and-white images are more powerful."

Artifacts owner Bev Taylor said Donaho is highly skilled at composition and contrast. She said the two met shortly after Donaho moved here from Texas when the photographer came by her gallery to show Taylor some of her work.

"I told her, 'You need to leave some things here (to sell),'" Taylor said. "She just has a really good eye for detail. And she's really good at using (Adobe) Photoshop to make things pop and eliminate details she doesn't want."

Donaho also enjoys shooting the landscapes of the Four Corners, one of the reasons she moved here. She's especially fond of capturing images of the desert just after it has rained, explaining that she finds the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness a compelling location for those kinds of shots.

Darby Donaho says her collection of photographs opening at the Artifacts Gallery this weekend captures butterflies at all different stages of their existence.

She also has an extensive catalog of images of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and said she spent one recent sunny morning photographing contrails created by passing jet airliners.

"Lots of my friends are very specific on what they shoot," she said. "But I like to shoot anything that interests me."

Even so, butterflies long have captured her imagination, partly because their life span is only two weeks long.

"You can capture butterflies in every stage of their development," she said. "And then they're gone."

Her exhibition at Artifacts will feature butterflies at all stages of that cycle, from specimens just emerging from the pupa stage to those with tattered wings.

"I just find butterflies magical," she said. "When I was a kid, there were millions of butterflies, and that's not the case anymore. I remember walking through a pasture, and there were thousands of butterflies all around."

Donaho said her landscape and macro work are not entirely different, but she really enjoys in the meticulous nature of photographing an image up close.

"You see things in macro photography you don't take the time to see otherwise," she said. "Photography teaches you to look harder. Seeing things through a lens is a whole new way of viewing. … I realize I've taken (mental) snapshots my entire life, but I never held a camera in my hand until four years ago."

Artifacts also will be featuring "Sweet Things," its monthly themed show. Taylor said she expects at least 15 local artists to submit work for that exhibition.

Jewelry by Lou Mancel will be featured at the Hubble & Barr Galleries during this weekend's February art walk.

Hubble & Barr Galleries, 206 W. Main St., will be featuring paintings by Rod Hubble, wood work by Steve Barr, ceramics by Don Ellis, jewelry by Lou Mancel and scarves by Michael Billie during the art walk.

Studio 116, 116 W. Main St., will be showcasing original pieces by local artists that were created for the art walk fundraiser "Dogs," as well as decks of playing cards that feature images of those pieces. The gallery also will be selling other work, including painted mannequins.

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

If you go

What: The February art walk

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10

Where: Four galleries in downtown Farmington