‘Expressions’ of Camino Real 8

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Encouragement and growth.

For nearly 10 years, that’s what the Camino Real 8 has practiced with its group of artists who create art with everything from pastels to watercolors.

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo: Members of Camino Real 8 are hosting a show through Wednesday, July 25, at the Harvey House Museum in Belen. Pictured are, in front, from left, Lorraine Burleson, Janice Leach and Sondra Schlotterback; in back, from left, Jean Stone, Judy Farrow, Gwen Wilemon and Penny York.

The group, which branched out from the Tomé Art Gallery in 2004, expects to completely fill the main room of the Harvey House Museum in a show where a portion of the proceeds will go toward the museum.

The group has more than 60 pieces of art that are currently hung at the museum in Belen through Wednesday, July 25. Admission is free.

“We are all continuing to learn and grow and encourage each other,” said Gwen Wilemon, a member of the group. “It’s been an amazing journey.”

Wilemon, along with other members of Camino Real 8, meet once a month to critique each other’s work and have formed a special bond over the years to get better in their craft as artists.

Members of the group paint everything from landscapes to portraits and say they appreciate one another in order to improve.

Members include Lorraine Burleson, Judy Farrow, Janice Leach, Sondra Schlotterback, Jean Stone, Gwen Wilemon and Penny York. Another member, Evelyn Yoder, had to leave the group for medical reasons.

Members say the tips they give each other might not be what the artists want to hear, but that most criticism is constructive and helpful in one way or another.

“We all stand up to a real stiff critique,” said York. “I mean, we don’t baby each other. If we don’t like something, we let (the person) know.”

This month’s show, called “Expressions,” is another way for members to get an idea of how their work stacks up against the competition. Every artist in the group painted about eight pieces that is at the Harvey House Museum for visitors to see.

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo: This painting, called “Exercising Wiggles,” is on sale for $495 at the “Expressions” show at the Harvey House museum in Belen.

Most of the works are on sale for the public to buy. Prices range from $35 to $600.

Schlotterback said the show allows the group to connect with residents and to attempt to evoke emotions from local people who might share something in common with a landscape or a portrait.

Members treat their annual show as an educational process to continue to learn and grow.

Schlotterback said the group’s monthly meetings are a way for her to keep producing artwork and honing her skills.

“It’s the expectation that I can’t let my friends down,” Schlotterback said. “It’s a really good motivator.”

Still, there are times when one artist will critique another and that particular person may not see have to improve that aspect of their craft for months.

Leach said “Expressions” helps members move forward.

“It’s a good place to study artistic styles and techniques,” Leach said.

At times, Leach said members don’t realize the work that each other have accomplished in between shows. The group hosts one to two shows per year.

“We always think that we aren’t going to have enough because there is just eight of us,” Leach said. “But when we get ready to hang the show, we always surprise ourselves.”

According to its members, the regular meetings help the artists learn different color combinations and different ways to paint objects. Having the right proportions are important to make paintings aesthetically pleasing.

Leach, who painted St. Francis Xavier, changed a portion of her work after she noticed a white pigment was too stark for the rest of the work to stand out. She said she added a brown color to balance out the piece.

Schlotterback hopes to have a connection with residents that see her work. She said works that resemble New Mexico views can evoke emotion that give people a great feeling.

“It’s inspiring,” she said.


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