Art blossoms this spring

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A new season brings new art and artists showing at Vertu Fine Art Gallery, where a new exhibit, "Visually Vital," opens Wednesday, April 30.

Several artists have delivered new images created over the winter months which focus on growing things.

The show features an artist new to the gallery, oil painter Jonathan Gaetke of Albuquerque. Gaetke is primarily a Plein Air painter. His oils have won awards from St. Paul, Minn. to Moab, Utah, and beyond. Along with the works of several other artists, the India Ink renderings of Vanessa Quinones will also on display.

Sculptor Sharon Fullingim's sculpture demonstration and lecture, scheduled for May 10, is a precursor to a workshop planned for the fall.

Fullingim's early artistic career was spent working in watercolors and intaglio etchings, but her passion now is sculpting. Living in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, close to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge gives her ample material for portraying wildlife and birds in both bronze and limestone.

Part of her daily routine when out to her studio, is watching and listening to the comings and goings of resident and migratory birds. Fullingim says they are the inspiration which gives her work such a strong sense of life.

"It's one of those necessary things that feeds my creative spirit," she said.

At Alamo Gallery and Gifts, the walls and shelves are filled with paintings, photographs, sculptures, fiber arts, woodwork, floral displays, jewelry, glass work, leather art, pottery and more — all worth checking out.

Manager Joy Miler said many of the artists at featured at the gallery are members of Socorro County Arts.

"The (SCA) is a group of artists who try to promote artists and the arts in Socorro County, in a way that benefits the artists and the community.

One of the gallery's newer artists, Holly Woelber, has taken a unique approach to a conventional medium, embroidering patterns and images onto cowhides.

Dona Nowicki, Socorro County Arts member and longtime resident of the city, has exhibited her work in the gallery since its beginning; recently, she created multi-colored stained glass pieces, which are currently on display.

Socorro native and SCA Treasurer Georgia Raymond is a "Jane of all trades," creating everything from paintings and pottery to candles and fiber arts.

"I'm still deciding what I want to do when I grow up," Raymond joked.

She will teach "Candles in the Sand," a free candle-making class, from 1 to 3 p.m. May 10 at the gallery. Throughout the year, the gallery offers art workshops co-sponsored by the City of Socorro, all at no cost.

"(The) workshops have encompassed theater, story telling, water color cards, origami boxes, kite making, candle craft, pastel making and drawing, gourd painting, retablo art, truffel making, floral arrangement, reptile classes and more. This is an opportunity for community members to try different elements of the arts," Miler said.

The work of owner Leon Miler, along with a handful of other local artists, fill the rooms at 3 Cranes Fine Art Gallery.

Miler, who was taught by a "master restorationist" in Orange County, Calif., has a variety of oil- and watercolor-based paintings on display, including local favorites "3 Cranes" and "3 Wolves."

For those who's passion for art is shared equally with a love of geology, Patti McLain — who has work at both 3 Cranes and Alamo — has a half dozen unique pen-and-ink drawings on geodes at the gallery.

Every Thursday afternoon, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Leon Miler teaches an art class, aimed at children ages 10 to 18. Those interested in signing up can call the gallery at 835-2787.

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