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Flowers & paper

“Frosty Heights” by Lynn Kearny, soft pastel on paper.(Courtesy of The New Mexico Art League)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Art League has gathered a bouquet of flowers wrapped in works on paper.

Launching its first regular online exhibits at, these works feature prints, watercolors, oil and acrylic on canvas, pastels and collage in two shows: “Common Ground,” comprised of 64 works on paper and “In Bloom,” a bevy of 78 florals.

The online exhibits substitute for the organization’s annual show.

Executive Director Buffy Nelson said the show lured 180 submissions, a number comparable to its regular gallery shows.

“It’s like everyone was waiting for us to get online,” she said.

In the monoprint “Harbinger of Spring,” Vicki Morgan captures a tangle of dandelions sprouting their frothy seeds. Morgan is a former Albuquerque Public Schools teacher, Nelson said. The artist took an art league printmaking class and ended up buying the press. Her art league teacher challenged her to produce 100 images of dandelions.

“Los Poblanos” by Joseph La Forte, oil on canvas.

“Girl with Red Hair” reveals artist Betty Lehnus’ facility with watercolor through delicate shading. Lehnus is known for working in pastel or charcoal, Nelson said. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in the East Mountains.

Ruth Andrews-Vreeland turned a daffodil nodding in a Mason jar into an ode to photorealism. An art major in college, she spent a lengthy career in graphic design. She is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies.

“Spring in a Jar” by Ruth Andrews-Vreeland, watercolor.

“She teaches for the art league,” Nelson said. “Watercolor is not typically a medium you use for photorealism. She teaches a layered approach with watercolor that’s more in common with oil paints.”

The jumbled, veined water lily leaves in Joseph La Forte’s “Los Poblanos” impart a jungle-like stained glass effect. La Forte came to Albuquerque after spending 25 years in the New York advertising world. He studied with Mark Greenwald, an associate of famed photo realist Chuck Close.

“He goes by the motto, ‘Paint what you love,’ ” Nelson said. The artist works from photographs and sketches done on site, she added.

Lynn Kearny’s stunning pastel “Frosty Heights” captures a magnetic moment of shadow and light in the

“1698” by Carolyn Berry, collage.

mountains. Kearny grew up in Los Alamos; she says the mountains, cliffs and canyons of northern New Mexico are in her blood.

“It’s that light that happens underneath the storm clouds,” Nelson said. “It’s hitting these lower hills in the foreground.”

Carolyn Berry turned ledger pages into a collage abstraction in “1698.” The number refers to a ledger page.

“She started with the ledger page green and went with it,” Nelson added.

Janny Pezaro’s acrylic “From the Attic” is a jumble of pattern and texture. The artist collected the vase from her grandmother’s attic, framing it with textiles in a riot of design.

Founded in 1929, the New Mexico Art League is a non-profit art school and gallery located at 3409 Juan Tabo NE. Its next exhibition, “Stormy Weather,” will feature artist interpretations of storms in the New Mexico sky.

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