Our current exhibit, Out in the Open, continues thru June 30.
On Saturday, May 23, between 9 and noon the gallery will host a special
one-day event: The Plein Air Paintout! The public is welcome to witness
the artists as they create their original artworks on site throughout the
Mesilla area. After noon the artists will bring their paintings to the gallery
to be judged by participating artist Mary Zawacki. Paintings selected will
then be displayed in the gallery.
In addition to the plein air artwork, the gallery exhibits work from its select
roster of accomplished local and regional artists. Here are examples along with
some info about our artists.
Mary Beagle attended the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford,
Bloomfield CT where she majored in painting with a minor in graphics,
receiving a five-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors.
Mary is a highly respected painter and stone sculptor, and comments:
"Art releases my spirit. It can cheer me, calm me, and give me
and give me a feeling of happiness and accomplishment." – Mary Beagle
Nancy Begin is a nationally recognized master of watercolor and oil painting,
woodblock printmaking, and sculpture. Nancy says of her work:
"As an artist I am constantly on a voyage of discovery."
Nancy has a gift for seeing beauty in the simplest of scenes and
objects, always striving to see "with new eyes"!
Carolyn Bunch has lived a life guided by her art. Carolyn was born in the midwest,
but has lived most of her life in Las Cruces where she has been honored both for her
artwork and her many years teaching. Carolyn and her husband, Henry, have owned
and operated fine art galleries, most prominently a series of "Adobe Patio Galleries"
that have featured the work of the area's most respected artists for 30 years.
In her artwork Carolyn has been moved by the faces of the Mexican native peoples,
and the portrait continues to be the favored focus of her special talents.
Brian Cobble says of his work: "Often it is not untouched nature that attracts me
as an artist as much as the raggedy places where the “natural” overlaps the man-made,
the darkness on the edge of town— those places in the American landscape that have
been altered by a civilization that can look shockingly out of place, like it was dropped
from the sky last week into the wilderness. Yet even in these most mundane of places,
light and shadow can elevate the ordinary into something almost profound."
A native of Las Cruces, John Garrett learned to weave in a class at Scripps College
in Claremont, California, in 1970. Intrigued with the materials and technologies involved,
he pursued a graduate degree at UCLA in fiber and design. His early interest in reusing
and repurposing materials has continued to today. He transforms found and collected
objects with industrial materials to produce sculptures and wall hangings.
Tom Gerend is a much admired, much collected watercolorist. Tom comments on
this painting: "Lincoln, New Mexico is just a small spot on the map,but is loaded with
history and charm. What a place to paint!"
Living in New Mexico, tapestry artist Linda Giesen is influenced by the rich south-
western cultural traditions, and inspired by the high desert landscape. The beauty
found in a desert mesa at sundown, a stretch of white desert sand against a dark sky,
or an ancient image carved into the land touches and moves me. "It is these moments
that I wish to capture on my loom. Weaving for me is not simply a journey through color
and form, but also a journey of self-discovery and expression. In creating my tapestries
I achieve a deeper understanding of myself." – Linda Giesen
Winfrey Hearst comments on her work: "During the time that I lived in Montana,
I started painting outdoors with friends. We didn't call it plein air painting back then,
we just enjoyed getting together and going to different destinations in the area. I have
been doing that still since I moved back to El Paso. I prefer to begin my work on location
since the light, the colors, and the surroundings are so important to the experience.
I attempt to express a feeling, a mood, a time of day, a sense of mystery perhaps."
Kelley S. Hestir is a nationally recognized sculptor whose works range from whimsical
to serious, but always executed utilizing the skills of a master artist. Kelley returned to
New Mexico in 1995 after many years of teaching and working in Hawaii. Kelley co-founded
the Art Forms Artist's Association and the annual "For the Love of Arts Month" festival
in Las Cruces NM. Kelley is especially famous for portraying cats in her sculptures,
to the delight of everyone who has had the pleasure of viewing her work!
"Although I have made my living in commercial art, the love of printmaking has always
been a big part of my life. A few years ago I retired from my job as Art Director of the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and I again began to make prints. The focus of my work has
been to depict something about the American experience, no matter how ordinary,
and to say it in an aesthetic manner with tactile surfaces, color and composition."
Judy Licht became hooked on silk painting ten years ago, and continues to find this medium
fascinating and ever changing. Working with dyes and silks gives her the opportunity to explore
the intense colors of the dyes and the sensuous quality of the silk. Judy's lifelong passion for color
and her feelings for the natural world informs her art work, as she explores a variety of silk painting
techniques for her scarves and wall pieces.
Respected painter, printmaker, and jewelry maker Joyce T. Macrorie comments:
"I want to evoke the mystery of our natural world and our human place inside it.
In my experience, all art has to offer a somewhat different trip, a new or at least
a compelling experience with each encounter. This means artwork has to be
complex while seeming simple."
Bonnie Mandoe says of her work: "I am fascinated by oil paint, its texture and colors
and ability to make something out of nothing. I use oil paint to explore whatever
attracts my interest, things as varied as cotton gins, literary themes, the mystery of dreams.
All my life I envisioned painting full time some day. This is that time!"
Honored painter Julie Ford Oliver comments: "Painting directly from nature
for many years has allowed me to also embrace the art of Landscaping. Moving
a tree or a building a few feet to enhance the integrity of the painting is part of
the joy I experience."
Anothony Pennock is nationally recognized for his landmark public art. A native of
southern New Mexico, Anothony is currently investigating the mytho-poetic magic
of native New Mexican rock art in his latest mosaics and drawings.
Sam Peters, born in West Virginia and resident for many years in Maryland, has lived in
Las Cruces for 14 years. He received an MFA from the University of Maryland and taught
printmaking at The Maryland Institute, College of Art. He has shown his work nationally
and internationally. His works include mixed media sculpture, photography,
printmaking, and painting.
Artist Oween Rath comments: "I've grown up under the magnificent skies of the Southwest
making it inevitable that my love of the outdoors drew me to plein air painting. My paintings
are a glimpse of a moment in time found when the glow of light falls on a subject. There is so
much beauty in the world and capturing it in a painting is a great pleasure. I love travel,
so my paintings have become a documentation of the wanderings of my life . I am pleased to be
able to share my paintings with you."
Painting is like the scale and notes are to a musician and words are to an author.
I am inspired to pick up a brush and dip into a puddle of paint when I see a beautiful
landscape, a spectacular sunrise or sunset, a flower in glorious bloom, and many other
subjects that strike a chord in me. When I travel I carry an abbreviated kit of supplies for
painting on location. Sometimes I just make quick color studies in my sketchbook which
become larger studio paintings, other times I will complete a small painting on site.
Penny Thomas Simpson says of her work: "I'm a New Mexican artist that doesn't do
much traditional "Southwestern" art. I work primarily in watercolors and acrylics and
I'm a signature member of the New Mexico Water Color Society. I've been lucky enough
to win quite few awards in art shows both locally and nationally. I most enjoy doing
pieces of art that are bold, very realistic and full of light."
"I have painted in this area for area for almost 20 years. My work focuses on landscape
and river scenes, calming water and reflections. The scarcity of water in our desert
makes these flowing rivers even more appealing."
Ouida Touchon is as well known for her printmaking as for her oils,
and is a master plein air painter. Ouida is driven to create her art, and likes
to say she is "living life as art".
Arlene J. Tugel uses watercolor to capture the luminosity and brilliance of the day.
Her landscape paintings reflect magical moments when light, form, shape and color
come together to reveal marvelous wonders of the world around us. Arlene's paintings
lead the viewer to look closely at the many forms and shapes that make up
the natural landscape.
Tranquility and peacefulness are strong themes throughout Nina’s paintings. Nina has
a very strong sense of color use and pallet. Finding the harmony and the connection is both skill
and emotion, to use it -- to feel it and find the freshness and sparkle of the transitions which
are continually sought after . Plein Air painting is a wonderful tool which helps to make the
connection with nature and to see clearly. No matter what we do in life art connects us with others
in a communal and personal manner.
Scott Weaver's fine art photography consists of landscapes, still lifes, and nude studies,
on occasion combining several of these genres! Scott responds to images that reveal
"universal consciousness". Duality, sequential progression, challenging traditional
concepts of beauty, and seeing something where there is 'nothing' have been interests.
When I paint, I really want to say more than, here is a pretty scene! I would like the viewer
to be impacted from across the room: Big, sometimes sweeping brushstrokes, looking as if
they were placed with reckless abandon... But they were not!
Daphne Wirthlin's remarkable paintings emerge from her imagination, combining
her southwest experience with the private elements of her life. Daphne's art
brings together drawing and painting in a completely unique style. The creatures
of the desert, including the occasional human creature, inhabit her landscapes,
portraying daytime as a dream.
Mary Zawacki recently moved to Las Cruces from Los Angeles where she had a long-standing
career as an advertising art director working for the major movie studios. Mary holds a Bachelor of
Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan. She teaches art in Las Cruces. "The Southwestern
culture, desert life, mountain views and huge skies in southern New Mexico provide endless
possibilities for creativity in my pastel and oil paintings."