Category Archives: Books

Todd Kosharek’s Utopia

Todd Kosharek Utopian Vision - The Peach Blossom Spring Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 inches

Todd Kosharek, Utopian Vision – The Peach Blossom Spring – Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 inches

“As I get older, I see looking to the future, both as a society and as individuals, as an act of seeking the Utopians that exist in our romanticized memories of the past. Memory is both the greatest blessing and the greatest curse. The line between the difference is what I am so drawn to explore, to understand.”- Todd Kosharek

“Utopian Vision – The Peach Blossom Spring,” encapsulates artist Todd Kosharek’s view of the world. Utopia was an island said to be an intentional place of community, an ideal society. Kosharek’s painting “Peach Blossom” depicts what is thought to be the first sighting of Utopia.

The painting’s story concerns a fisherman who comes upon a society living in perfect harmony. The fisherman stays for one week, then departs to his former life. When he tries to return to Utopia, he perishes.

Todd Kosharek Neautrality Acrylic on Canvas 16 x 24 inches

Todd Kosharek, Neautrality, Acrylic on Canvas, 16 x 24 inches

TODD KOSHAREK | UTOPIAN VISION: THE HISTORY PROJECT, opens at Altamira Fine Art on October 3rd, runs through October 15th, and hosts an artist’s reception at Altamira on October 6, 5-8:00 pm in Jackson, Wyoming. A dance, themed to the exhibit, will be performed by Kosharek’s wife, Kate Kosharek.

Now a father of two, Kosharek’s growth as an artist is evident. That happens with parenthood, but in Kosharek’s case it’s really not a surprise; he began his own life journey~~or at least his visible Jackson Hole life journey~~on a higher plane. His perceptions of people, the way we live, his committment to truth and clear, balanced vision seem far above average.

Saturated in art history, Kosharek’s contemporary paintings have developed a highly focused and meditative style. He’s as meticulous and balanced in his artwork as poets are when  constructing great poetry.

Todd Kosharek Love Letter - Peace Within Acrylic on Canvas 12 x 20 inches

Todd Kosharek, Love Letter – Peace Within, Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 20 inches

“I went seeking poetic verses on peace through (sic) and acceptance of love. I looked at Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Cummings….Then I re-read letters from my wife. “Love Letter” is the first one I ever received, 13 years ago. She wrote about a great peace within [regarding our] whole situation, the admitting of vulnerability toward another person. I thought this was a perfect summary of love: having a sense of peace to the unknown,” writes Kosharek.

This exhibition focuses on Kosharek’s ongoing Crane Series, and a sample of his landscape painting occupies the top of this page. With this new exhibit, Kosharek merges interior and exterior worlds.

Sebastian Junger’s book, “Tribe,” concludes society has grossly inverted our own utopia; from our earliest days on this continent, reports Junger, our industrial society “waged an ongoing campaign against a native population that had barely changed, technologically, in 15,000 years.”

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Painting For Life: New Book Celebrates Gregory I. McHuron

"Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron," by Susan Hallsten McGarry

“Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron,” by Susan Hallsten McGarry

“If you are attaining your goals, you’ve set your goals too low. The last painting you do should be the very best.” –Greg McHuron

Words to live by. Words to paint by.

Gregory I. McHuron (1945-2012) is considered by many admirers the sole plein air painter that could stand up to the Tetons’ majestic size and power, as well as their surrounding valley. Indeed, McHuron stood for the majesty of ALL wilderness and wildlife, and he left a permanent legacy when we lost him to cancer.

Four years after his death a seminal book worthy of McHuron’s life, artistry and passion for wilderness has come to fruition: “Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron,” lovingly authored by former Southwest Art Magazine editor-in-chief Susan Hallsten McGarry,  will soon to be available through the Grand Teton Association.

McGarry says that this book, a retrospective, “is not only a story of living in the now; it is also a guide to finding what McHuron called the “WOW” that serenades your soul.”

“Painting has never been a job to me,” McHuron said. “It’s why I live.”

Greg McHuron near Menor's Ferry, Grand Teton National Park. It would be his final "Artists in the Environment" demonstration. Photo by Tammy Christel

Greg McHuron near the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Grand Teton National Park. It would be his final “Artists in the Environment” demonstration. Photo by Tammy Christel

“In the summer of 2013, Linda McHuron, Peter Ward, and I got together to discuss the idea of a book,” says McHuron’s long-time friend and fellow plein air painter Stephen C. Datz. McHuron was a member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, a group painting annually in Grand Teton National Park in support of the Grand Teton Association. Datz served as the group’s president for four years.

“We made contact with as many family, friends, colleagues, and collectors as we could and began collecting stories and remembrances. Peter began the work of gathering, collating, and cataloguing images of Greg’s work,” said Datz.

McGarry feels that this book, a retrospective, “is not only a story of living in the now; it is also a guide to finding what McHuron called the WOW” that serenades your soul.”

Gregory I. McHuron, "Seasonal Differences," Oil, 40" x 30"

Gregory I. McHuron, “Seasonal Differences,” Oil, 40″ x 30″ Photo by Tammy Christel

For the next two years, through emails, phone calls, one-on-one meetings and gatherings hosted by Peter, we accumulated a huge stash of memories of Greg and advice that he had given his students,” recalls Datz. Matt Montagne and Charlie Craighead contributed an invaluable cache of candid photos of Greg out painting and doing AIE (Artists in the Environment, an open-to-the-public plein air painting program McHuron co-founded in 1974 with Connie Schwiering and Chuck McCurdy) demos.”

McGarry notes that “true artists must live their art and paint from the heart.” McHuron’s lifestyle epitomized that philosophy, she says. His paintings expressed what he felt, and he shared those feelings with others willing to listen, including mentoring artists, in workshops or in his own “no bull*@#!” critiques.

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Wild & Precious Life: Post #541

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, give my heart to all of you. That’s one thing, and after a while I’ll be doing it again. In less than a month I depart Jackson Hole for an extended stay in my New England home. I’ve been reading your emails and resisting my own default button: write a blog post! Surrounded by brown boxes, packing tape, piles and piles of stuff I didn’t know I had, and an ever-shifting list of moving chores, I’ve had to curtail writing about art. 

"Passage #39" - Dan Namhinga. Acrylic on canvas, 84 x72"

I miss it so. I will miss you deeply. You artists, you galleries, you museums and auctions, you wild and crazy fun events, salons, exhibits, Fall Arts Festivals~~~and most of all, the blissful, heavenly days spent out in Grand Teton National Park watching painters capture this beauty~~~feeling so proud to be present. To get to tell the world about your adventures, even as I’m on my own adventure. There’s so much more to learn. This website, together with soaking in the West’s stupendous art histories, has changed my life.

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Thank you for your trust and respect. Thank you for allowing me to share with the world (and the world does see!) the power of Jackson Hole art. Once I’ve settled some, I’ll be back to thinking and writing about you.

I’m proud of the Jackson Hole Art Blogsix years old, plus. This is post #541.

971071_575727195817073_81363745_nI know the Blog’s mission is appreciated. It’s the first blog of its kind in Jackson. Most importantly, I love you all and am blessed by your friendship, your support and the countless projects we’ve shared. We started something! I’m grateful for my experiences and affiliations with the Grand Teton Association and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, Artists in the Environment, Greg McHuron, Bert Raynes, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Altamira Fine Art, the Brookover Gallery, Trio Fine Art, Homestead Magazine, our newspapers, Jackson’s Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Hole Art Auction, Wyoming ArtsWyoming Public Media and all Blog sponsors. Each and every artist!

With any luck I’ll pull my head out of the basement and see you in the coming weeks. If we miss one another, you know where to reach me, and I know where to reach you.

Look outside your immediate selves and your generation; rescue whenever possible and appropriate. Volunteer in places and for causes that aren’t “sexy.” Stay honest.

Keep sending your news. Though I can’t write about them for a while, I always want to hear what you’re doing with your wild and precious lives.

Namasté!   ~~~~ Tammy

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Art Moves; 2014 J.H. Art Auction; Book Art; Callens at Mountain Trails

In a few months I will be moving back to the east coast. Family calls. The length of time I’ll be away is temporary and open-ended. I’m grateful, more than I can express, for the loving, caring and supportive messages I’ve received from so many of you. I carry you all in my heart. Posts may “spread out” for a while as I manage logistics, and the Blog may change its focus or form ~~~ but it’s not disappearing. We’re joined, and we’ll remain joined!  Okay, I might write a poem if I keep on. It wouldn’t be a good poem, so time to write about what’s happening in Jackson!

Clymer, John, (1907-1989), Buffalo Chase, oil on canvas, 10 x 20 inches

Clymer, John, (1907-1989), Buffalo Chase, oil on canvas, 10 x 20 inches

The Jackson Hole Art Auction is rapidly receiving an inventory of fine masterworks to  be auctioned off Saturday, September 14, 2014.  This John Clymer is remarkable! Something about it quickens my pulse. Important artists already represented in this year’s auction: Oscar Berninghaus, John Clymer, Bob Kuhn, Ken Riley and Richard Schmid. Schmid’s diminutive painting of carnations was the surprise star of last year’s auction, selling many times over its estimate. Kuhn’s “Resting Cat”, a 22 x 42 acrylic on board, is estimated at $250,000-$300,000.

“The painting was the last Prix de West entry the artist completed in his lifetime, and was awarded the Major General and Mrs. Don Pittman Wildlife Award,” notes the auction.

Kuhn, Bob, (1920-2007), Resting Cat, acrylic on board, 22 x 42"

Kuhn, Bob, (1920-2007), Resting Cat, acrylic on board, 22 x 42″

Auction Coordinator Jill Callahan emphasizes that the public is welcome to stop by the auction offices to learn more about this year’s event. As always, the auction is seeking fine art consignments; I expect offerings to be welcomed into the summer season. For a complimentary, confidential evaluation please call 866-549-9278, visit www.jacksonholeartauction.com or stop by the offices in Trailside Galleries at 130 East Broadway, Jackson, WY — or 7330 Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ. www.jacksonholeartauction.com

Book cover art by Jane Lavino

Book cover art by Jane Lavino

“The Straw That Broke” is an “environmental thriller” written by Jackson’s Gregory Zeigler; the same author who brought us his recreated tale of Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie.” It’s Steinbeck’s 112th birthday as I write this. The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s own Jane Lavino created the cover art, and it’s awesome! What up, girl?  We need a Lavino exhibition! Promotional copy for Zeigler’s book sums up the plot: “A young scientist and free spirit, Lyn Burke, gets caught up in a battle between ecoterrorists and corrupt public officials over water in the drought-stricken desert Southwest. Lyn’s disappearance causes police officer Susan Brand and private investigator Jake Goddard to rush to her aid. Abduction, deceit, and murder threaten a cataclysm that places the entire region in jeopardy.” 

Wow, I’m thinking “Longmire!” If the book is as good as that TV series, it’s going to have you on the edge of your seat. Congrats to Greg and Jane! Check it out: www.gzeiglerbooks.com

Tammy Callens - Through the Aspen Grove - 36x18" Oil

Tammy Callens – Through the Aspen Grove – 36×18″ Oil

Plein air painter and portraitist Tammy Callens has a show of new works at Mountain Trails Gallery, in Jackson. Callens feels these paintings break new ground for her as an artist. I’ve always been a fan. Her work is romantic, impressionistic, marked by realism and personal. Callens has another quality: she’s humble about her work. I feel her intimate landscapes are some of the most captivating in town.

Callens sparked the idea of  pro-actively inviting children to participate in plein air painting demonstrations. She did this unwittingly, two summers ago during one of our “Artists in the Environment” events in Grand Teton National Park. Callens painted a difficult scene with great skill, and her most ardent admirers were young people visiting the Park, making their own memories by painting the wilderness explored on their summer vacations. It doesn’t get better than that! www.tammycallens.com 

Public Arts Department; Africa at NMWA; Hood is Back

musical_notesAn opening note: Many visual arts events are posted on Facebook; I love seeing those, but if you would like to submit your project or event to the Jackson Hole Art Blog, emailing me directly works MUCH better. I’ll definitely see your announcement, and it won’t get lost in the Facebook shuffle. I’ll remember it. Don’t be shy, email me at: tammy@jacksonholearttours.com. Include all relevant details. I’m a one-person gig, and can’t get every event listed—but I want everyone to have the best chance possible. And don’t forget to send those nice, big images too. Superb.

197If you receive the Community Foundation’s emails via their Listserve, you may have noticed an individual misusing that venue to comment on J.H. Public Art projects. Whatever that person’s goal, he was going at it inappropriately, and that pretty much nulls and voids his input.

There is quite a bit going on in the world of public art here in Jackson. The 5-way project is on, and there are other new projects: the South Cache Street Custom Pavers and Street Painting Project, and another bike-related job.

South Cache first: The project’s total budget is $18,000, to be divided between pavers and painters; $15K for the former, $3,000 for the latter. There are more than a couple of definitions of “paver.” One is a paving vehicle, another is actual concrete used alongside highways and streets. Pavers can also be decorative brick drive and street surfaces. That’s what we’re talkin’ about!

J.H. Public Art writes that “selected artists will fabricate custom pavers designed to integrate into the overall paving pattern. The artist will replicate the theme and key imagery used in the pavers into two, one-color street paintings designed to highlight new crosswalks along the corridor. The budget supports design and fabrication of custom pavers and the street painting.”

Artists will work with Public Works, and Public Works will install what the artist creates. There are several ways it can work, but to make sure you’ve got the drill right, contact J.H. Public Art, or visit their website, where specs are provided.

The “Town Bike Network Education Icons Project” is essentially sign design. Budget: $4,500.

Design an “iconic” sign design series for Jackson’s signposts marking the town’s bike network. Graphics, says J.H. Public Art, “will be designed to print on 12 x 18” standard street signs using 2-4 color process. Final artwork should be submitted as vector files. The artist will design a series of 5-7 bold images that are easy to read from a distance or [while the viewer is] in motion. Graphics should identify safe practices, particular bike routes, unique features of the routes and promote educational messages sponsored by the Pathways department. School children, visitors and residents of all ages use the bike network and imagery should be easy to understand, family-friendly and promote community values.”

In other words, these signs need to be understood immediately by anyone; sign language must be universal.

Applications are due by February 3, 2014.  The web sign-in spot is www.callforentry.org.  Learn more here: http://www.jhpublicart.org/opportunities-2/

 

ELEPHANT WITH EXPLODING DUST © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

ELEPHANT WITH EXPLODING DUST © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

“Nick’s exquisite photographs arouse deep emotions. They inspire a sense of awe at the beauty of creation and the sacredness of life. It is almost impossible to look through his work without sensing the personalities of the beings whom he has photographed.” ~ Jane Goodall

Just when you think wildlife photography can’t get any more powerful, along comes an exhibition like “Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt, 2001-2008.” Opening at the National Museum of Wildlife Art January 18th, it remains on display through August 10, 2014.

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