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Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) Remuda 1921-1945, oil on canvas 25x30"

Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) Remuda 1921-1945, oil on canvas 25×30″

“This is our wall of major players, and “Remuda” by Dixon is one of our stars,” noted Jackson Hole Art Auction coordinator Jill Callahan as we perused 2013’s Auction highlights. “Dixon’s been doing very, very well at auction; a recent major Western auction offered a number of Dixons, and they all sold far over estimate. We have Donald J. Hagerty, a Dixon expert, writing an entry for our catalog, and he considers this painting to be one of Dixon’s super works, completed completed just before his death. Dixon often kept what he considered his best works. He started “Remuda” in 1921 and hung onto it, finishing it in 1945. The painting is double-dated, very rare.”

“Remuda” is estimated to sell between $250,000 – $450,000.

Dixon’s “Remuda” is one of hundreds of paintings we looked at during my recent visit to the Jackson Hole Art Auction showroom and offices, upstairs at Trailside Galleries, in Jackson. The prestigious annual Western art auction is produced by Trailside and Santa Fe’s Gerald Peters Gallery.  The 2013 auction takes place Saturday, September 14th, at Jackson Hole’s Center for the ArtsThis year’s auction includes works with a wide range of sales estimates, offering opportunities for all levels of collectors. A full day preview takes place Friday, September 13th, at the Center for the Arts, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. All are welcome! 

Another rare work to be auctioned is Taos painter Henry Farny’s “Untitled” work, estimated to sell between $350,000 to $550,000. The painting will grace the cover of this year’s auction catalog, available mid-August.

Henry Farny (1847-1916), Untitled, gouache on paper 13.25 x 20.375"

Henry Farny (1847-1916), Untitled, gouache on paper
13.25 x 20.375″

“The Farny is a very high value piece, a gouache on paper, dated 1889, in mint condition,” Callahan says. “Farny does not come on the market often, and this work comes to us from a Wyoming resident whose collection is especially valuable; that estate has contributed a number of works to this year’s auction.”

The aforementioned collector also consigned a superb grouping of  watercolors by Charlie Russell, and five Olaf Wieghorsts are especially attractive and exciting, ranging in estimate sales price from $15,000 to $60,000.

Carl Brenders’ hyper realistic “Tundra Summit,” a mixed media on board, has been chosen by Western Art Collector Magazine for its September 2013 cover. Hard to believe this is a painting—Brenders’ wolves look as if they’re in the room; one can feel their breath. Of Brenders’ work the auction has said that it has an especially “tactile reality, giving us the sense of having been where even the most intrepid of field guides have not ventured.”

Carl Brenders (1937-) Tundra Summit, mixed media on board, 7.5 x 40"

Carl Brenders (1937-) Tundra Summit, mixed media on board, 7.5 x 40″

A significant John Clymer work—Clymer, of course, is a Jackson Hole legend—depicts an historic moment in time during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Titled “Visitors at Fort Clatsop,” the 24 x 48″ oil on canvas is estimated at $300,000 – $500,000. The work is an accurate portrayal of the figures and the event, says Callahan.

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“This pairing, RMPAP and the GTA, is so special to me. Grand Teton National Park is a monument to the majesty and fragility of the natural world. Getting to capture that beauty with other artists I admire and respect, all for the benefit of the park I love – what an honor and a treat!”  – Jennifer Hoffman

So many lovers of plein air painting, artists, fans and the very fine representatives of Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton Association (GTA) have been looking forward to this: The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP) return to Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) this month to present “Plein Air for the Park 2013: National Paint Out & Show.”  July 8-21, 2013, over 40 of the country’s most distinguished, recognized plein air painters gather in GTNP and the Jackson Hole area to execute countless free plein air demonstrations, a Quick Draw at Menor’s Ferry, and put on a highly anticipated  three-day “wet painting” show and sale at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitors Center in Moose, Wyoming.

Kathryn Turner - "Morning at the Oxbow"

Kathryn Turner – “Morning at the Oxbow”

Participating Jackson Hole artists include “poster artist” Erin C. O’Connor (it is her portrayal of Mt. Moran gracing RMPAP promotional materials), Kathryn Mapes Turner, Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuck. Each RMPAP artist will create myriad new plein air works; selected paintings will be exhibited and offered for sale in the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor’s Center (CTDC) beginning July 15th. This year’s Show & Sale Opening Reception takes place at CTDC on Thursday, July 18th, beginning at 7:00 pm. Awards will be presented by this year’s judge, Chris Moran. As they did last year, 40% of proceeds benefit GTA, supporting that organization’s educational, interpretive and scientific programs. 

“This exhibition is celebrating Grand Teton National Park through art. Plein air painting captures the spirit of a place at a moment in time,” says Turner. “The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters are a committed, highly skilled group of artists who work hard to bring the essence of this valley to light. The result is a stunning show that benefits the Park and all who love it.”

Bill Davidson - "Rocky Mountains."

Bill Davidson – “Rocky Mountains.”

Last year’s event, a spectacular success, raised significant funds for GTA, introduced new artists to the GTNP region, and introduced plein air collectors to new artists. The extended residency also underlines each artist’s great talent; the number of new, exquisite works depicting this region’s beauty were astounding. All RMPAP events are free, and open to the public, including July 18th’s opening reception!  The setting couldn’t be better, spirits could not be higher, and the party—which includes participating artists—is charged with excitement!  Oh, and then there’s the fine food and drink…An announcement of awards begins at 7:45 pm.

The late, great plein air artist Greg McHuron, who was a member of RMPAP, passed away last year. His contribution to plein air painting in this region cannot be over-estimated. July 18th’s sale and celebration will include a tribute to McHuron, and a special space will be dedicated to the man and his work. It is bittersweet, says RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz, that this is the first time McHuron won’t be with his colleagues and friends in the field. Giving back to the Park is a wonderfully appropriate way to honor McHuron’s life and principles.

Greg McHuron

Greg McHuron

“It is always a pleasure to return to Grand Teton National Park. It is a painter’s paradise, and we have enjoyed a warm welcome from the Grand Teton Association, the Park, and the community. I am really looking forward to seeing what our artists come up with this year,” says Datz.” “Though the Park’s grandeur is obviously appealing, I think many of us will also be exploring it a little more deeply, attempting to bring its subtler charms to life in our work. I anticipate a very exciting show.”

Stephen C. Datz - "Greeting the Dawn"

Stephen C. Datz – “Greeting the Dawn”

A great number of RMPAP events take place between July 8th and July 21st. They are:

Saturday, July 13th, RMPAP joins the Grand Teton Association’s “Artists in the Environment” program for a 3-hour painting demonstration at Oxbow Bend, GTNP. Times are 2:00-5:00 pm. Participating artists are RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz, Kathryn Mapes Turner and Jeanne MacKenzie. The artists will also conduct an informal Q&A session during their demonstration. Look for the “Artists Demonstration” banner!

A Quick Draw takes place Saturday, July 20, beginning at 9:00 am, at Menor’s Ferry in GTNP. The public is invited to watch paintings being created start-to-finish and may purchase paintings at the Quick Draw fixed-price sale immediately following, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Jeanne MacKenzie - Menor's Ferry

Jeanne MacKenzie – Menor’s Ferry

Scheduled artists demonstrations take place July 13th to July 19th. A full listing of those demonstrations may be found here. Artists will be painting at Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake Lodge, Oxbow Bend, Taggart Lake, the Jackson Hole Visitor’s Center and the CTDC. Throughout their visit, RMPAP artists may also be spotted just about anywhere in GTNP, so keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, July 15th, paintings will be available to preview at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center. Works are available for sale beginning July 15th; the Opening Gala & Reception takes place at the Visitors Center on Thursday, July 18th, beginning at 7:00 pm. The show remains up through July 21st, when the event comes to a close.

David Schwindt - "Tetons and Sage"

David Schwindt – “Tetons and Sage”

Datz points out that the term “plein air” derives from the French “en plein air,” which translates as “in open air.” Our current usage of the term originated with the Impressionists, he notes, though the technique traces its origins back to the seventeenth century.

“In their quest to capture the effects of outdoor light and seasonal weather, the Impressionists insisted that only through careful observation coupled with working on location, in the moment they were observing, could they hope to accurately render effects of light and weather,” says Datz. “This ideal remains the central premise of plein air painting. Just working out of doors is not enough – observation is the key element of the plein air method. Artists must experience their subject directly – the information they translate into their painting comes in real time, with no intervening or distorting implements. It is a discipline firmly rooted in seeing and hearing, breathing the air, feeling the weather, and channeling all those immediate sensations to the canvas. The best plein air works show us more than just the visual truth and beauty of a place – they give us a sense of what it felt like being there in the moment.”

A full list of participating artists is available at Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painter’s website:

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Jackson Hole artist, entrepreneur and mover-shaker Travis Walker spends as much time searching out opportunities to house artists as he does creating his own art. It’s a driving mission, and now Walker may have been handed, as he says, “the keys to the kingdom.”

Walker is one of only five artists in the country chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) “ARTIST COMMUNITIES: Art Work” program to review, score and make in-depth comments on 56 projects submitted for NEA grant money. He has three weeks.

shot_1313720245080-300x300Walker is the “new kid on the block,” reviewing requests that could receive as much as $250,000 from the NEA, the largest arts funding group in the country.  An incredible opportunity says Walker; these projects are the best applications from the best development teams in the country. It’s a gift to review, understand and learn from them, as well as a starting point for Walker to submit his own requests. If he were ever chosen to receive such a grant, the NEA needs to know, down to the tiniest detail, what Walker’s project would be.

“After we score all the applicants there will be a review panel held in Washington DC in June,” Walker explains. “I’ll be with senior panelists and two NEA specialists work with us. They contacted me; I did not request to be considered. The NEA must have found me on line; they were looking for someone from Wyoming, which is validating, and the NEA picks panelists they want to encourage to apply for grants themselves at a later date. Going through this process will teach me the process, I’ll learn so much about how national organizations like this one work.  If I were successful, it would be an awesome cornerstone to start building something—for the Art Lab to build something.”


It’s also important, says Walker, that NEA panelists don’t have a whiff of conflict of interest when reviewing projects, ruling out many major artist communities. (There are federal laws about that for non-profits, and you can read them—just click on that link up there.) Walker took part in a conference call with the other panelists so they could introduce themselves to one another. The call gave Walker a chance to ask questions about the system. And away they go!

Walker’s excitement is understandable.

“I have a waiting list of artists that’s so long I can barely keep track of it; and no space to give them. Right now we pay our landlord rent. We have to raise about $20K every year to balance out our rent budget,” says Walker. “Five years ago I didn’t think I’d see people pay $800 to rent studio space, let alone $300; but people are doing better jobs of trying to make their businesses work. I don’t know yet where we’d build a new space, but I know I could raise the money.

"Snow King" - Travis Walker

“Snow King” – Travis Walker

I think what this kind of grant does, it gives people living where studio space is difficult to afford a place to work. That takes significant public funding. Every year I have to go out and ask for grant money to subsidize these projects. What I should be doing is getting money to build something that is rent controlled; we own it. It’s an asset, we’re not paying into it every month.

cherry-birthday-cake-300x450If something cost, say, only a $1,000,000, a plan could go forward. I wouldn’t have to wait for a ton of public approval and appropriations. I’ll start with the cake. I notice that even with the concerts and things we’ve been doing, momentum isn’t building because we still don’t have the cake. We don’t have it built correctly yet. What’s missing is a real artists community. A place that’s only about artists studios, where they work and interact with each other, do the work they want, have time and space to do it.”

The cake. More about Walker’s take on cake soon.











Cezanne's "The Bather"

” ‘In regards to your request, the museum cannot responsibly comment on this subject as art, as it was not President Bush’s public submission, but a breach of his private communications which is equal to theft,” said the museum in a statement.’ “

That statement, pulled from a Huffington Post story about former President George W. Bush’s hacked emails and artwork, came from Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum. American Visionary features “fantastic” art, “art produced by self-taught individuals.” The statement responds to Huffington on whether Bush’s artwork could be considered outsider art.  Asked to weigh in, the museum appears to be one of the few queried art entities resisting temptation to comment on Bush’s paintings; most art critics and officials are acting as if the works were new found Banksy buillon.

The paintings do appear to be rather good~~though it’s impossible to qualify art’s value without seeing it with your own eyes. It’s massively fascinating to know our former President, often perceived as disconnected from reality, painted self-portraits (in the manner he did) of himself in the shower and bath. No matter the quality, how BIG would those paintings be if they went up for sale?  The story and the hacking has made them valuable.

A friend suggested I write about the paintings, and I replied I didn’t feel comfortable doing so for the reasons the American Visionary Art Museum put forward. Dang it, here I am doing it anyway! Art is highly personal, psychoanalytical, autobiographical and endlessly intriguing. But Bush’s art is his personal stuff. If we walk into someone’s house, take their stuff without asking, then put the stuff before the eyes of the world…that is theft. Easy to do nowadays, but still theft.

It’s a bit of a leap, but I was certain Shepard Fairey would get the book thrown at him. He seized someone else’s property without permission, falsified his story and ended up paying $25,000 in fines.

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“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.