“I quit my job and packed up my car and moved to New Mexico in 1994—without a plan or a job, just the intention to pursue artwork,” said Karen Dressler Argeanas, whose art is being featured in a gallery in Mountainair called Road Trip!.

“Adventure is what inspired me to do that,” she said laughing. “I believe in pursuing dreams and I am not afraid to take risks to pursue what I would like.”

Argeanas is a local painter who works in acrylic paints; producing both large-scale works and miniatures. “For now I am an acrylic painter, but I’m not going to promise to stick to only that,” she said. All of her paintings are of places that she has been and also represent her memories.

Argeanas has painted several series, including a motel series, New Mexico landscapes, flowers and architectural elements. She said she paints at her house and both sketches on location and takes photos she later uses to create her paintings.

Her artwork features a bright color palette, with tight lines, close brushstrokes, right angles and legible lettering. It also features idyllic New Mexico scenery that is reminiscent of the works of other artists, like Georgia O’Keefe and John Marin, with images like desert flowers and rain in the distance in a desert landscape. The architectural aspects of her work are precise and deliberate which makes for clean lines and contrast with natural elements like trees.

She has lived in the East Mountains for 21 years and currently lives near Moriarty. She is also a teacher in the Moriarty Edgewood School District, and has worked there for the past 10 years.

Argeanas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the Indiana State University and a Masters in Special Education from the University of New Mexico.

Her work can be seen at La Galería @ the Shaffer in Mountainair, starting on Feb. 6. The gallery will be exhibiting a new show called Road Trip! which will showcase her work.

La Galería is inside the Shaffer Hotel in Mountainair and is locally owned by artists Rebecca Anthony and Linda Marie, whose art is also featured there.

Other featured artists include Dianne Doan and Ray Darnell.

Artwork by Karen Argeanas

Anthony said the show will be Route 66 and New Mexico themed and will complement the art that is already hanging in the gallery.

She said when guests come in the door there will be a road on the floor, complete with road signs, to direct the audience through the exhibit, and extending through the gallery and into the lobby of the hotel. The idea is to go on an art-themed road trip at the gallery.

Anthony said the gallery will be open all day Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to allow people to come and enjoy the show in a covid-friendly fashion. The show will be up through the end of March.

The gallery is following Covid-safe guidelines and they are NM Safe Certified. Mask and physical distancing are required.

The gallery is currently operating at 25% and are allowing 9 to 10 people at a time when the hotel lobby is open.

In addition to the regular hours of the gallery, they are also offering private showings, to anyone who would prefer to make an appointment and have the gallery to themselves for a little while. Contact the gallery at 505-847-1137 or lagaleriashaffer@gmail.com.