Category Archives: Marketing

Sketching With Bill Sawczuk; Crushing on Rob Kingwill

By Bill Sawczuk

“I don’t need a sketch to paint.”  
“Sketching is too time consuming.” 
“I don’t like pencil work.” 
And the real reason:
“I don’t wish to spend the time practicing to sketch.”  


These are reasons artists chafe against sketching, as cited by plein air painter Bill Sawczuk. In this post, I’m letting Bill do the talking. A consummate professional, he’s always thinking of composition, technique and hard work. In his mind, the definition of sketching–and its importance in the artistic process–is largely misunderstood.

Sawczuk says that the resistance to pencil work stems from the fact that many artists tend to take a pencil sketch too far.

“They labor at technique and finish. The feeling of spontaneity and freshness is gone, and an overworked sketch is the result,” explains Sawczuk. “Look at the sketches that Sorolla did of people sitting in restaurants in New York and Chicago. They were very quickly done, but they capture the attitude and character of those people.”

Bill Sawczuk is quick on the oil sketch draw. No evidence of coffee stains!

As Sawczuk is predominantly a plein air oil painter, he often uses oil as a sketching medium to do a quick study on 8-weight museum quality paper board.

“The big advantage of this material is its ability to soak in the oil paint, which allows you to keep painting on a relatively dry surface. I completed this oil sketch (above) in one hour, and it could have been quicker if I hadn’t dipped my brush in my coffee,” says the artist.

Bill Sawczuk, Conte Figure Sketch

Many world-renowned artists executed highly descriptive yet simple renderings of buildings around the globe using a pencil, Sawczuk tells us. A pencil, he says, is a handy tool, easily obtained, easily carried, and quick to use with plenty of practice.

Photo of Bill Sawczuk by Tammy Christel

“Carry a nice soft pencil and sketch pad with you…no eraser! Using an eraser might cause you to over-correct, negating the time-saving benefits of a quick sketch. Your subject might be anything, but your purpose is learning. If you are drawing from a live model, take advantage of your chance to quick sketch, and see how quickly you improve.”

Sawczuk’s ability to capture the heart of Jackson Hole’s Western culture and wildlife is unmatched. His dynamic portrait of a bull moose sold like lightning at the Art Association’s recent “Whodunnit” fundraiser sale. The painting’s power and surety, its “moose essence,” made it jump off the wall. Sawczuk was also recently featured in the prestigious Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine in that publication’s article on figure drawing, “Go Figure.”

A member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters group, Bill Sawczuk is also represented at Trio Fine Art in Jackson Hole. You know he’ll be out and painting up a storm this summer!

Rob Kingwill for Nike

I’m old. And that’s why, when the coolest of the cool snowboarding – art crowd talk to me, it’s HUGE! The other evening I ran into Rob Kingwill at a friend’s birthday party, and I have to say about this young man: he ALWAYS smiles and says hello, he’s always positive, he’s “clear,” and he’s good to his parents.

We talked for a while. Really, Rob talked and I listened, because I’m not close to his arts group here. He creates for the joy of it; he’s not weighted with angst, but he’s also, I think, hungry and ready for more exposure in the Jackson Hole art scene. For his genre to be taken “seriously.”
To be considered….fine art?  Take a look!


It’s certainly sought after. It’s as disciplined as any other form of art. Understand the snowboard culture and you understand the art.  I think a few more pop-up shows for Kingwill and his colleagues are in order, don’t you? There are some pretty sweet sponsors we could hit up!  Check out his company on Facebook:  AVALON7.

Thanks for the talk, Rob. I learned a lot.


Sawdust II; Jackson Hole Hosts Wyoming Arts Conference

Sawdust Art Festival Chantuese

Sawdust Art Festival Chantuese

Returning to Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival today, a fair with all the elements of an artist-populated enchanted magic forest. How did Sawdust come into being? Here’s Part Two of my exchange with festival manager Tom Klingenmeier. A note: Just like Jackson, Laguna Beach experiences a high influx of visitors during summer; just like Jackson, Laguna’s citizens are disrupted by the crowds. They are also appreciative of art’s educational value and what they provide in sales taxes!

Tammy Christel: What are Sawdust’s origins? Forty-seven years is an amazing run, and you’re going strong.

Tom Klingenmeier: Laguna’s “Festival of Arts” began over eight decades ago. A splinter group of artists, objecting to a change in jurying procedures at that show (some called the rebellious group “hippies”) departed the FOA and eventually set up in a dirt lot. This ingenious group put sawdust on the dirt to keep the dust down. An L.A. Times reporter nicknamed their first show the “Sawdust Festival.” They moved to their current location the following year, securing a lease with local owners who had used the site for vacationing campers.

1240548_10201874892496188_32009045_nOur 501c3 corporation, established in 1968, bought the property in the early 80’s and quit paying rent. It’s free and clear property. If anything happened to the Festival the land would belong to the State of California. Affordable living/studio space is being studied by the city, with assistance from the local population, including artists.We celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2016!

If we have a problem, it’s parking. And we need to find affordable studio-living space. We’re working on those issues, and we’ll soon have a “Village Entrance” dedicated to the arts and what they provide to our seaside community—and we’ll have a parking structure.

We constantly need to generate new, young artists. To that end we provide scholarships to the local high school and to other art shows. Everywhere K – 12 schools are dropping visual and performing arts from curriculums. Our art education programs are so important, and we are beginning to teach art education in nearby school districts. We need young artists to sustain our society as we know it. That’s why we do so much for artists here at the Sawdust Festival!

TC: Experiencing Sawdust expanded my understanding of what an art fair can be; wandering through, I felt as if I were in the middle of an unfolding flower, stepping from petal to petal. Art fairs and festivals take many forms, but Sawdust rang a big bell; it is its own Wonderland.


snowking-1Straight from the Wyoming Arts Alliance and Wyoming Arts Council’s Conference website – Information about the 2013 Conference, taking place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Snow King Resort and the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts October 12th-14th! 

“You don’t need to be an artist or a presenter to have a place at this conference – If you are interested in preserving and promoting the Arts in Wyoming and the surrounding areas, this is where you will want to start!

This year’s conference is a fantastic collaboration between the Wyoming Arts Council and the Wyoming Arts Alliance. We are teaming up this year to bring you more of everything. The Conference will be taking place Saturday, October 12th through Monday, October 14th in the shadow of the Tetons – Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Features at this years’s conference include a three-track workshop series dedicated to individual artists, performing artists, and organizational development. The Visual Artists’ Gallery is to be held in the lobby of the Center for the Arts and will feature the works of artists around the state. Visual Artists will have another opportunity to share their work through a 20:20 presentation. Advance sign up is required.”

Sign ups are first-come, first-served, so visit the Conference’s website today!





Arts PhD: “Artistic Vision 3” at National Museum of Wildlife Art

T. Allen Lawson - Prairie Chapel Evening

T. Allen Lawson – Prairie Chapel Evening

“A small group of exceptional artists have come together to support the concept that art plays an essential role in preserving an energetic, passionate, and enlightened society. Artistic Vision encourages seeing art beyond the subject matter by exposing attendees to artistic techniques that influence lasting interest in a work of art. The event is for those with an interest in art and will influence others in supporting the arts….The true value lies in the impact over time of developing patrons of the arts.” Darrell Tunnicliff

The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) has announced a rare opportunity to join nationally renowned (and by “renowned” I mean that these names are now officially some of America’s most historic landscape artists) painters Clyde Aspevig, Jacob Collins, T. Allen Lawson and Tucker Smith.

 “Artistic Vision 3” is the third annual exhibition and symposium to mix exquisite examples of works by artists with learning lectures, and the event itself began with coordinator Darrell Tunnicliff. The event is academically potent, and attendance will be limited so that attendees may enjoy close interaction with the artists and guest lecturers. The series takes place at the musuem August 8 – 10th, 2013.  

University towns typically offer a wealth of in-depth academic options—and their own museums—to study arts and humanities. Think of this session as one of those university arts departments coming here to Jackson Hole. Artistic Vision 3’s syllabus is impressive. You won’t be on line, studying from a distance; you won’t be in a lecture hall with a student/professor ratio of 2,000:1.

Arts patron and former museum registrar Ann Nelson is a past attendee and plans on being at this year’s event.

Clyde Aspevig - Lake O'Hara

Clyde Aspevig – Lake O’Hara

“Each year a new set of speakers present talks and art surrounding different topics,” says Nelson. “Last year it was amazing hearing Tim Lawson talk about composition; he utilized paintings by great masters to make his points, and spoke about changing compositions using software programs; he demonstrated with a Winslow Homer seascape.”

Nelson adds that Artistic Vision 3 is a great learning experience for anyone interested pursuing an arts career. Last year’s session brought a framing specialist providing insight about how crucial framing is to a painting (it can make or break the success of any work), and one guest artist spoke about how we process art when we look at it—how our brains are literally stimulated, seeing each work in unique ways. Nelson believes this year’s forum will be just as rewarding; her own daughter, poised on an arts career, gained invaluable knowledge and perspective with respect to the arts and the challenges they present.

“The sale of art is not emphasized,” says Tunnicliff. “For the last 50 years the sale of art has been the focus in the art world with an incredible expansion of galleries, auctions and even museum art sale events. It is our hope that we can change the emphasis from the business of art to art appreciation – recognizing the value that art has on quality of life and the well-being of our communities. [We feel] it is the right thing to do.”

The event includes scheduled luncheons, coffees and opportunities to socialize, but Artistic Vision 3 highlights are:

Thursday, August 8th, 7-9:00 pm – Opening Reception with Artists, their artwork and substantial refreshments.

Jacob Collins - Studio

Jacob Collins – Studio

A two-hour lecture by Jacob Collins, beginning at 9:30 am, August 9th. Collins will give a presentation on the art of drawing, painting and sculpture as it was understood prior to the discovery and use of photography and avant-gardism. Collins’ talk, “Reviving the Ancient Arts,” discusses his view that art techniques used 150 years ago are now “ancient arts,” and he will weave this theme in with an overview of his own artwork, teaching and aspirations. Collins is a great believer in artists needing colonies and peers; solitary pursuits flounder without community support. Sales are important, he says, but the intellect and spirit of the artist need patronage. Patronage nexus rests upon communication between artists and collectors, writers (yes!) and other supporters.

August 9th, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, NMWA Curator of Art Dr. Adam Duncan Harris presents a talk on the art of Rungius, Friese, Kuhnert and Liljefors. Harris will then lead a walking tour of NMWA’s George Catlin exhibit, on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Saturday, August 10th, Fine Art Connoisseur editor Peter Trippi’s lecture “So, Great Art Is Being Made Today: Who’s Selling and Buying It, Why, and How?” takes place 9:30 – 10:45 am. Virtually everyone connected to the world of fine arts is familiar with “Fine Art,” a magazine serving “collectors of historical and contemporary representational painting, sculpture, drawings, and prints.” Trippi also heads Projects in 19th- Century Art, Inc., established in 2006 to pursue a range of research, writing, and curating opportunities. He’s guided a long list of premier museums, including the Brooklyn Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art, adjacent to Johns Hopkins. Trippi will cover how contemporary realist art is fairing in America, surveying the activities of galleries, auctioneers, museums, private collectors, critics, art schools, and artists themselves; he’ll even suggest collecting strategies (Note from the blogger: Estate tax issues relating to collecting should be determined by you and your own tax specialist.)

Tucker Smith - Antelope Flats

Tucker Smith – Antelope Flats

That same day, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm writer Tami Haaland’s (author of two books of poetry: Breath in Every Room and When We Wake in the Night) talk “The Image Made in Words” explores poetry that responds to visual art; the term for such writing is “ekphrastic poetry.” Haaland will investigate the writer’s motivation, characterize this approach to writing, and discuss its limitations and boundaries. The classic Keats poem, “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” inspired by the “Townley Vase”, William Carlos William’s “The Dance” based on Breugel’s “The Kermess”, and John Ashberry’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” will all be touched upon. Haaland is a professor of English at Montana State University.

Artistic Vision 3 tickets are $250. For full details, contact Event Coordinator Darell Tunnicliff by phoning 406.294.5677 or emailing him at Again, attendance is limited.  Well done! 


Troxler’s Encaustics; Fast Company Taps Hoke’s Softwalks

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.”  I just felt like starting this post off with that quote from Etty Hillesum, a Holocaust victim, who, it is said, never lost her smile. It’s just so beautiful.

This season artists are here in Jackson, and artists are there….floating around the country, visiting and working in beautiful locales, making the most of a quiet time, a time that allows them to ignite their own art bonfires, show their work in their own spaces, in their own time. It’s nice.

Shannon Troxler’s “Luminous” is on exhibition at Park City, Utah’s Kimball Art Center, November 16- January 9, 2013, in the Badimi Gallery. She’s offering a “Painters Encaustic Workshop” November 10th & 11th, and she’ll be the featured artist during Park City’s November 30th Art Stroll. Troxler is lucky enough—talented enough, pardon me!!—to be showing at the Kimball alongside Chihuly Venetians: The George R. Stroemple Collection . Luminosity—fall’s light.

“Softwalks Transforms Streetside Scaffolding Into Urban Parklets,” says Fast Company, “the world’s leading progressive business media brand.” Fast Company’s branding group works with technology innovation, “ethonomics”–ethical economics–, leadership and design.  Fast Company’s mission is to “think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.”

So what?  Well, J.H. Public Art has sent word that Jackson’s art student and activist Bland Hoke has garnered high honors for his NYC Softwalks project. Softwalks “is informed by the successful pilot projects the DOT has implemented in the last five years to transform various street scrapes from auto-centric spaces into pedestrian plazas, such as the theater district on Broadway,” says one NYC design website. “These pilot projects, aided by light, quick and inexpensive amenities mitigate risk and lead to incremental improvements. The reality and challenges of improving sidewalk sheds are significant, and this is why we have determined that building on the existing ecology of sidewalk sheds is an appropriate move forward.”

Let’s keep stretching our innovative imaginations, folks! Congratulations to Bland Hoke! Bring us a taste o’ that for Jackson’s downtown streets, okay?

Take a look at the project, via Vimeohere.