The Camino Real 8


Kristina Medley


Members of the Camino Real 8 come from different places and backgrounds, but they all share a love for New Mexico scenery and painting, a passion which will be featured at the Harvey House throughout the month of July.

“I became a painter because of the New Mexico landscapes,” said Sondra Schlotterback. “It was so inspiring. They don’t call it the Land of Enchantment for nothing.”

The Camino Real 8 consists of eight New Mexico women who meet once a month to exchange feedback, listen to guest art experts and sometimes travel in the state to paint the scenery.

The women have also become good friends and have learned a lot from each other, said Judy Farrow.

“We don’t just share art,” Farrow said. “We share books, magazines, encouragement.” Kristina Medley-News-Bulletin photo; The Camino Rael 8 is a group that meets once a month to share a passion for art and critiques for each other’s paintings. In front, from left, are Lorraine Burleson, Penny York and Jean Stone; in back, from left, are Janice Leach, Judy Farrow, Sondra Schlotterback, Gwen Wilemon, Evelyn Yoder.

The group will present its annual fine art show at the Harvey House Museum in Belen from 1 to 3 p.m. beginning July 16.

The group will also sell small paintings at small prices during the show, and all of the proceeds will benefit the Harvey House for allowing the group to use the building for its annual show.

“We want to make it affordable,” said Janice Leach, “to give back to the Harvey House.”

The women said they enjoy presenting their show at the Harvey House each year, and think the facility is a treasure everyone should visit.

“It’s such a wonderful, under-used building,” Schlotterback said.

Schlotterback said the group was started about seven years ago with the goal of creating a place where artists can share ideas and help each other improve.

“We wanted to be serious,” she said. “We wanted to be a (group where) people can learn and help each other do that.”

The women said getting feedback and different perspectives from other artists is a very important part of the group.

“Through this association, we have all gotten better,” Schlotterback said.

Someone with fresh eyes can often give constructive criticism to the painter about her work to help improve that painting, Leach said.

“The criticism is not judgmental, it’s educational,” she said.

Although a majority of the group’s art is inspired by the New Mexico scenery, some of the members also paint portraits, animals and pictures of other states and countries they have visited.

Penny York is the abstract painter in the group. The other members said they have learned a lot about abstract art from her, while York said she has learned a lot about other mediums from the other painters in the group.

“Sometimes when you’re watching someone else, a light bulb will come on that will apply to your painting,” Schlotterback said. “What you learn in one medium translates to another medium.”

Many of the women are also involved in the Belen Art League and have been artists for many years.

Farrow said painting is a wonderful hobby that gives the women a chance to express themselves in individual ways.

“It’s always been about painting,” Farrow said. “It’s an incentive to get out of the kitchen and into the studio to paint.”

Leach, who also volunteers at the Harvey House, said the art show will be an opportunity for people throughout New Mexico to broaden their horizons and learn more about the history of the Harvey House and Belen itself.

“Some people come in specifically to see the art show and end up seeing the rest of the museum as well, and (vice versa),” Leach said. “It works as a good partnership.”

Each woman in the group has a different source of inspiration for painting.

Evelyn Yoder said painting gives her a chance to travel and take pictures.

York said she enjoys seeing the beautiful New Mexico landscape.

The Camino Real 8 show will also feature five guest artists and will run until July 30 at the Harvey House in Belen. For information, call the Harvey House at 861-0581.


Contact Kristina Medley