LINCROFT, SANDY HOOK: OF ART AND NATURE

mon museumRevels in the Details: works by the National Association of Women Artists (left) and by Laura Bethmann (right) are on display at the Monmouth Museum, beginning with a pair of Sunday receptions.

The heralding of autumn means that a few of those falling leaves are bound to find their way between the pages of an heirloom book, pressed onto a schoolchild’s classroom art project — or, if they’re especially fortunate, featured on national TV or in a gallery show as part of the work of Laura Bethmann.

To say that the South Jersey artist (and certified master gardener) “employs nature-based themes” in her watercolor paintings and ink/acrylic prints is to deny the deep harmony and symbiosis between the natural world, and its “more observant than the av-er-age bear” chronicler in color and texture. In addition to her fancifully and fantastically detailed studies of herbs and flowers, the author of Hand Printing from Nature specializes in collages that radiate from contact prints of leaves, fruits, vegetables, feathers, hair and other “found” materials from Nature’s hobby-lobby.

This Sunday, September 21, the Monmouth Museum (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) hosts a free and public-welcome opening reception for a solo show of Bethmann’s work — part of the Emerging NJ Artists series at the building’s Nilson Gallery. The artist is expected to be present during the reception that runs between 4 and 6 pm — and that’s not all that’s going on around the halls and walls of the Museum.

Opening concurrently in the Main Gallery, the group show Who’s Your Mama? Visions of Our Mentors is curated by the National Association of Women Artists Inc. as a way of honoring that organization’s 125th anniversary here in 2014 — with a display that “depicts, discusses and honors the roles that mentors have had on our work and lives as women artists.” The exhibit remains on display through October 19 during regular museum hours (Tuesday-Thursday 10 am-5 pm; Friday 10 am-9 pm; Saturday 10 am-5 pm; Sunday 12-5 pm), with a special panel discussion hosted at 2 pm on the show’s final day. Admission during regular hours is $7.00 per person; free with valid Brookdale student or staff ID.

Meanwhile, out on Sandy Hook, the American Littoral Society celebrates National Estuaries Week with a Sunday morning Coastal Art Show that collects an array of coastal themed art (prints, pottery, watercolors, jewelry, metal work, hand-made soaps, basketry, and notecards) by a roster New Jersey artists. A reception will be hosted from 11 am to 2 pm inside the Littoral Society’s local headquarters on the Hook (Building 18 at the Fort Hancock area), with 25 per cent of the proceeds from sales dedicated to the Society’s coastal conservation efforts in Monmouth County. Call (732)291-0055 for additional information.