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Corrales is too close to miss

When it comes to travel, sometimes the short road can be an interesting one.

Take, for instance, Corrales.

The sleepy little village just north of Albuquerque can be a magical place for a stroll among the many art galleries or a stroll amid the bosque.

The artist co-op Corrales Bosque Gallery will host an opening for guest artist John Meister.

The artist co-op Corrales Bosque Gallery will host an opening for guest artist John Meister.

As a matter of fact, today is not a bad time to check some of what Corrales has to offer as the Corrales Bosque Gallery (corralesbosquegallery.com) unveils an opening reception for noted plein-air artist John Meister from 1 to 5 p.m., with Meister on hand at 2 p.m. to talk about his work.

The gallery is a co-op owned and operated by 17 local artisans and featuring their work, but bringing in outside artists is an important part of the gallery’s mission, as well, said David Welch, one of the co-op’s participants.

“We do this fairly regularly, inviting other artists to be featured in the gallery,” Welch said. “It’s great for them, and it’s great for us.”

Welch recommended Meister as a gallery guest artisan.

“I love his work,” he said. “His work is superb.”

Plein-air is the school of art connected with the Impressionist movement in live art created on site, Welch said.

“Instead of doing elaborate art in the studio constructed from sketches, they went outdoors and captured the immediacy and feeling of being outdoors,” he said. “And John is a premier plein-air painter.”

With a wealth of material in state, much of Welch’s work is centered on New Mexico scenes.

“He does travel elsewhere, but when you look at the breadth of his work on his website, it looks like New Mexico,” Welch said. “I would say he paints the grandeur of the New Mexico landscape. But there’s also an intimacy. John works out in the wilderness, but he also paints gardens and more domestic landscapes that in both of them, there is beautiful light, a sense of the moment, and I think the viewer has a sense of just stumbling upon the scene. He obviously knows a ton about composition design. His compositions are brilliantly designed, but they don’t feel calculated. They feel welcoming.”

The Bosque Gallery is just one of several galleries along the Corrales main drag that will entice art lovers or just browsers.

Frame-n-Art (frame-n-art.com) is known for its metal sculpture garden. Owners Suanne and Michael Derr are always happy to provide artist info, and don’t forget to (ask them) about how a bothersome elm tree was transformed into a majestic eagle sculpture.

The Galeria de Corrales showcases multiple artistic mediums. (Courtesy of The Galeria De Corrales)

The Galeria de Corrales showcases multiple artistic mediums. (Courtesy of The Galeria De Corrales)

To the north, the Galeria de Corrales (galeriadecorrales.org) presents many mediums, including oil and acrylic painting, photography, jewelry making, digital art, mosaics, ceramics, printmaking, fused glass, art doll making, multimedia and quilting.

Next, about half-mile north is Mercado de Maya (facebook.com/pages/Mercado-de-Maya). See Corrales fine arts with award-winning pieces by owners Barbara Clark and Susanna Erling, as well as a curated collection of paintings, jewelry and sculpture.

And across the road and about one-eighth mile north is the new Corrales Arts Center, featuring various artists.

Construction On The Casa Perea Art Space began in the 1850s. (Courtesy of Casa Perea )

Construction On The Casa Perea Art Space began in the 1850s. (Courtesy of Casa Perea )

The Casa Perea Art Space (casapereaartspace.com) is a work of art unto itself. Construction on the traditional adobe hacienda set on a lush acre began in the 1850s and included a 62-foot-long dance floor. Once the Sandoval County Courthouse, the home was restored and is not only home to an eclectic collection of artwork, but also serves as an event space.

Casa San Ysidro (cabq.gov/culturalservices) in Corrales is a rebuilt adobe home constructed in the manner akin to the plazuela style common during the Spanish colonial period of New Mexico.

The home, which is closed through the rest of January, is loaded with artwork, particularly the tinwork of noted 19th century artist Higinio V. Gonzales. Numerous works of devotional art also are spread throughout the home.

The Historic Old San Ysidro Church (corraleshistory.org), built in 1868 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, just celebrated its 150th anniversary. No trip through the village would be complete without a visit to the stately and elegant place of worship.

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