Belen artists — exposed

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Belen artists are getting exposure.

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photos: A painting of a cross hangs at the Harvey House in Belen as part of the Belen Art League’s Spring Show. The museum is open from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The show runs through Saturday, June 2.

For the next week or so, local artists from the Belen Art League are sharing that exposure with Valencia County residents who can see a wide range of art mediums.

The show, which is free, is held at the Harvey House Museum in Belen and features everything from photographs and oil paintings to water colors and ceramics. The museum is open from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The show runs through Saturday, June 2.

Chere Holz, an organizer of the event, said the show gives residents an opportunity to see a good representation of mediums.

“I think a lot of people in Valencia County don’t realize what great artists we have and the extent of representation of art we have in this area,” Holz said. “I think this is a really good venue.”

The Harvey House is home to two art league events throughout the year and artists say the museum gives them a good sense of where they are in their progress.

Artist Geni Hatch and others have works that hang on the walls of the Belen Art League on Becker Avenue. But Hatch said this particular contest puts artists together with varying skill levels. Hatch won first place for a water color in the non-professional category.

“When it comes to the show, you know that you are up against certain artists,” Hatch said. “It’s always nice to see what other people think of your work. I am proud of my work, but someone else might not like it.”

Still, some artists say the opportunity to have their work judged is one that is hard to pass up.

Robert Fink, a local photographer, said he didn’t plan on entering any of his works in the show, but managed to enter a few pictures for the spring display.

In April, Fink participated in the Belen Art League’s photography show that featured black and white photographs.

He said one of the goals of artists is to improve with practice. He said a photography instructor once explained that photographers don’t get better by taking pictures on just a few occasions over the course of a year.

“His point is you have got to get out there and take pictures or paint images ― just do what it is you do.”

Another artist, Quanta Hinson agrees.

Hinson said she has helped hang artwork for various shows and said she has noticed improvement among some of her peers. She said the fact that artists receive a ribbon in the spring show is “affirmation that we are improving and doing well.” She said the event gets her blood-pumping to go up against similar competition.

“Boy, can you see the difference in progress from artists from when I came six years ago,” Hinson said. “You can see a difference. It’s practice, practice, practice.”

Some artists say they take classes to sharpen their skills and some use exercises, such as having time limitations placed on a particular piece.

In one drill, artists are timed in one and five-minute intervals to create a piece of art.

Artist Barbara Garrett said techniques, such as painting exercises, can bring new life to certain ways of painting.

She said artists sometimes get hung up on painting things a certain way and need to be reminded that creativity can help.

“Something artists have to do is loosen up,” Garrett said. “(Artists) tend to work tight. When you loosen up, it brings life into what you are doing.”

Garrett said the “homegrown” artwork would most likely not be accepted in areas like Albuquerque or Santa Fe.

She said the art league is a place where Valencia County artists can go and hone their craft.

“The Belen Art League is very supportive for all levels of art,” Garrett said.

“I think what is unique about this show is that it allows non-professionals to show alongside professionals. Beginners can show along with some really outstanding top-quality (artists).”

Hatch, a former Santa Fe resident, said she did not get involved with art until she moved to Valencia County.

“I was never immersed in the art world until I came here,” Hatch said.

Hinson said the Belen Art League is a part of a community that allows its residents to get together with members of the public to share works that might not get seen if there were no art groups. She said the art league gives artists a chance to come up with ideas of how to better showcase their work.

“I can’t emphasize it enough, how important it is.”


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.