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Posts from ‘Plein Air’

David Grossman - Blossoming Trees - Oil on Linen - 8x10"

David Grossman – Blossoming Trees – Oil on Linen – 8×10″

“No, I said: What kind of bird are YOU?” ~ Sam, to Suzy, upon their first meeting in the film “Moonrise Kingdom.”  

Contemplative, visual poems. Painterly, reminding me of a wistful Childe Hassam; contemporary, like a print; gentle, glowing and linear. Colorado painter David Grossman is one of three new artists signed on to Altamira Fine Art. Grossman is joined by contemporary artists David Michael Slonim and bold trendsetter Thom Ross.

Attribute it to the soft, indecisive changing of our alpine seasons, call it a love of landscape. My heart has been stolen by Grossman’s diminutive oil painting, shown above. He paints, says the gallery, “abstracted visions of forests…melodic in their focus on rhythm and symmetry.” Adds Fine Art Connoisseur: “[Grossman's paintings] effect the comfort and relief of a ‘visual exhale’ while also leading us into meditative contemplation and thought.”

A few brushstrokes and we are eras away in time, lost in a happy composition. 

Thom Ross - Gunman's Walk - Oil on Canvas 48 x 48"

Thom Ross – Gunman’s Walk – Oil on Canvas
48 x 48″

Have you been around Jackson long enough to remember California born artist Thom Ross’ installation at Snow King’s base? “Custer’s Last Stand” was an erected forest of early American soldiers pitted against Native Americans. We walked through and around the battle, and though that battle is one of the West’s most defining moments, Ross’ style is to portray iconic Americans and events in off-beat (gunmen with tiny heads!), sometimes complex and unexpected ways. He can be sensitive and elegiac; friends own an early Thom Ross painting depicting a solitary dead horse, lying on its side. It’s beautiful.

“Indians playing croquet; General Custer riding off while balancing a table on his head; Sheriff Pat Garrett standing with shotgun in hands bracing against the cold of a wintry New Mexico morning – these are a few of the unique images depicted in Ross’s paintings,” says Altamira. In addition to creating his art, Ross runs his own space, “Due West Gallery,” in Santa Fe.

David Michael Slonim - Fire and Ice-Oil on Canvas-48 x 60"

David Michael Slonim – Fire and Ice-Oil on Canvas- 48 x 60″

They are landscapes; landscapes deconstructed to layered, broad color fields, conveying essence. Contemporary painter David Michael Slonim is the third “new bird” to alight at Altamira. Plein air painting and illustration are part of his professional artistic experience.

Prisms, shards of translucent glass, collage — these I see in the artist’s expressionist works. Slonim is influenced by a bevy of masters, including Diebenkorn, Mitchell, Motherwell, de Kooning, and Cezanne.

“Although my paintings are derived from nature, they are really about color, shape, texture and line for their own sake,” says Slonim. “I started out as a plein air painter. The more I painted and studied, the more fascinated I became with abstraction. Now I am more interested in interpreting nature than representing nature.” 

Kyle Pozin - Mystic Warrior

Kyle Polzin – Mystic Warrior -Oil- 74 x 30″

In case you haven’t heard: April 5th’s Scottsdale Art Auction brought in $12.6 million.

Ecstatic press materials report that Frederic Remington’s “The Thermometer from Ten to Thirty-Three Degrees Below Zero,” an oil estimated between $500,000 – $700,000, sold for $920,000, the top sale of the day. Many deceased and contemporary masters did exceedingly well, but, emphasizes the auction:

“The crowd of almost 500 bidders was stunned when a 40-year-old artist from Texas, Kyle Polzin, took the block with a 74 x 30 inch oil entitled “Mystic Warrior.” Estimated up to $40,000, an extended bidding war ended in a hush, as auctioneer Jason Brooks carefully guided bids to a final total of $287,500.”

The Scottsdale Art Auction has now realized over $100,000,000 in art sales over the course of a decade. For complete results, visit






Jennifer Hoffman - Flat Creek Breakdown

Jennifer Hoffman – Flat Creek Breakdown

Bushwhacking through dense underbrush and tangled bunches of new and old-growth forest one afternoon with two of the three Trio Fine Art artists, I finally “got” what determination means when it comes to plain air painting. I’ve loved and been close to plain air for decades, but rarely get a chance to go with painters to protected, coveted painting sites. This day was different, and following the footsteps of Jennifer Hoffman and Bill Sawczuk as they marked a painting spot on protected land can be defined, without hesitation, as adventure.

When bellowing bull elk bear down on you, suggesting you’d be better off moving some yards to the south, you pick up your paint box and move it. Hoffman tells the story of that day much better than I; We ventured out on the Ladd property. You think you know what you’re doing, but this valley is always full of surprises…read the story here.

Kathryn Turner - Mead Ranch

Kathryn Turner – Mead Ranch

View22: Painting Jackson Hole’s Open Spaces is a collaboration and fundraiser art exhibition featuring the works of artists Kathryn Turner, Hoffman and Sawczuk. The exhibition’s opening reception takes place Friday, December 6th, at Trio Fine Art on North Cache. Time is 5-8 pm, with artists’ remarks beginning at 6pm. The exhibition remains up through December 21st. A portion of exhibition sales benefit the Jackson Hole Land Trust.

Drawing inspiration from Thomas Moran, the painter responsible for capturing Yellowstone’s rugged beauty so magnificently that Congress declared it and Grand Teton as national parks, View 22 celebrates the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s conservation efforts that have so dramatically affected our open spaces, and works to further cement the eternal bond between art and nature.

Bill Sawczuk - Hardeman Barn

Bill Sawczuk – Hardeman Barn

This past summer and early fall saw Turner, Hoffman and Sawczuk visiting an array of preserved open spaces, often not available to the public, and painting their landscapes, wildlife and historic valley structures. Besides benefitting the Land Trust, this show shines a light on special land tracts many of us don’t get a chance to see. Or, if you have had the luck to visit them, you may view each of these places anew. Eighteen protected properties were captured en plein air for the project; 23,000 acres have been protected by the Land Trust.

“As full-time landscape painters in Jackson Hole, we have a vital interest in the preservation of open space within our valley. It is the natural beauty found in wide open spaces that inspires our creativity. Through sharing our interpretations of the landscape, we hope to shine a spotlight on the importance of conservation efforts made possible by the Jackson Hole Land Trust,” said Turner, Hoffman, and Sawczuk.

A View 22 produced video of the artists, their activities and several locations they visited can be viewed here.

Land Trust Executive Director Laurie Andrews is thrilled with Trio Fine Art’s commitment. “Through Trio’s artists’ deep understanding of how the valley’s protected open spaces affect their daily lives, and [through] their talent and creativity, they’ve shown us all a very special view of [the Land Trust's] work.”

For more information contact Trio Fine Art at 307.734.4444, or phone the Land Trust’s Leslie Steen at 307.733.4707. Email:  

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Mark Nowlin

Mark Nowlin

A heartbreaker. Masters Studio, long Jackson Hole’s sole artists’ supply store (it’s also a framing shop), is closing its doors. This is the store’s 18th year doing business in Jackson.

Owner Mark Nowlin, an artist himself, has until mid-November to vacate his Powderhorn Mall shop. He’s been in this business a total of  32 years. New owners of the building housing Nowlin’s shop—next door to the former Studio 2000, also kicked out—-have notified him he has to go. Nowlin had hoped to remain in his space; he was willing to pay an affordable rent increase. However, this week Nowlin arrived at his shop to find an envelope stuck to his door containing a hand written letter on blank paper. “Scribbled” is a better description. Nowlin taped the letter to his entrance, alerting friends, customers and supporters of Masters Studio’s status. The letter’s message appears below—underlined and bolded text reflect the same emphasis in the original. It reads:

3 October 2013

Dear Mark,

We are very sorry to tell you that Britt and I have determined that we are going to need the space you currently occupy for our new office. Initially we thought that the salon/spa space was going to work out for us, but after meeting with architects and contractors over the last few weeks we have reached the conclusion that we will also need to occupy your space in order to build the office and medical space to meet our needs. We very much tried to configure an office in the smaller space as we wanted to keep you in the building as a neighbor but we were just unable to do so.  In any case we need to have access to the space as soon as possible after closing (October 16) but understand that you will need time to move out/find new space and will give the formal 30 day notice starting on that date for you to move out no later than 16 NOV. We would prefer to get access before 16 NOV if at all possible but understand if this is not possible for you. Thanks. 

At the bottom of the page are the words “to start the remodel.”  It is signed : Jon and Britt Baker.  (I’ll leave off their phone number, though it is included in the letter.) 

Artwork by Mark Nowlin

Artwork by Mark Nowlin

So there you have it. Another steadfast, beloved and contributing community member displaced (it’s not a business agreement unless an actual choice for both parties exists) and supplanted by a more “lucrative” enterprise…cutting off another slice of Jackson’s “soul.”

Neighborliness, respect, honesty and courage are not marked by stealthily dropped letter bombs; they’re marked by treating people as you would wish to be treated….If, years ago, Walmart had made its way to Jackson, countless local livelihoods would have been eroded. Community disconnect can take the form of a Walmart or it can take the form of individuals taking advantage of others, because they can. The only difference is total elapsed time to accomplish such things.

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Kathryn Mapes Turner - The Assurance of Togetherness - 30x30" Oil

Kathryn Mapes Turner – The Assurance of Togetherness – 30×30″ Oil

My connection with this land is even stronger, if that’s possible! Something about “One Nest” brought that home. I love this valley’s seasons, wildlife and landscapes. Everything else goes away, and I’m thoroughly in the moment.Kathryn Mapes Turner

Jackson Hole artist Kathryn Mapes Turner opens her new show, “All One Breath,” at Trio Fine Art with an artist’s reception Thursday, August 22nd, 5-8:00 pm. Turner will give a talk at 6:30 pm.  “All One Breath” is on exhibition August 21 – September 7, 2013. Works from Turner’s ongoing “One Nest” collaboration with her brother Mark will be part of the exhibition.

“All One Breath” is about Turner feeling she’s in a new place. The feeling has been building, she says, but she’s reached a fresh understanding of how this world is connected. We are together; but a heightened view of collaboration is part of a universal ‘one.’

“The gallery is a form of collaboration between the three of us and with our clients and collectors. The project, “One Nest,” that I just completed with Mark, had a profound affect. Working with him proved the most exciting show I’ve done and the most artistically fulfilling,” says Turner. “I believe it was because I wasn’t alone in the process. There was synergy that fed my art and creativity, and it raised the bar in a way I couldn’t have achieved solo. Now my connection with this land is even stronger, if that’s possible! Something about “One Nest” brought that home. I love this valley’s seasons, wildlife and landscapes. Everything else goes away, and I’m thoroughly in the moment.”

Kathryn Mapes Turner - In Humble Silence - 26x49 Oil

Kathryn Mapes Turner – In Humble Silence – 26×49 Oil

Turner’s new work also reflects the mentor-mentee relationship she enjoys with Michigan artist John Felsing. Felsing does not “teach” Turner painting in a technical way; rather he has encouraged her to take risks with her paintings—and that influence is apparent in Turner’s recent work.

“I’ve been drawn to more tonal landscapes and interpretive work. It’s more about a spiritual approach and risk. I’ve learned to look more at other artists’ works, contemporary and historic. I connected more deeply with the continuum of the world art movement. My work responds to all this; it’s “all one breath,” says Turner.

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First, a huge thanks to Teton Art Lab, Culture Front and now “STARTERS,” for their contributions to Jackson’s young contemporary art scene. These groups go it on their own, meaning they begin at a grass roots level, don’t ask us for crazy amounts of money (although generosity is welcome, of course!), and keep their products fun and accessible. A friend in the art world recently remarked that it’s not necessarily social status that makes someone an influential arts agent—often it’s those other enterprising folks, lifting up at least half the sky.

There is no greater joy than a job well done—and that’s Moose medicine power wisdom!

Teton Artlab & Culture Front have joined forces. Their new project, “STARTERS” takes the form of a recurring dinner party to help fund local arts projects. STARTERS kicks off Tuesday, September 10th (making it a Fall Arts Festival player, if not an “official” member) at 6:00 pm.  A $20 minimum donation gets you in, a greater donation is appreciated, and the first dinner location is TBA, once enough dinner tickets are purchased. The first event is limited in size—test run!


Dinners will be provided by Teton Artlab volunteers, and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis; no more than two reservations per person, please. To find out about tix, email Meg Daly at

At dinner, say STARTERS organizers, patrons will receive a ballot. Five pre-selected creative projects will be presented, and diners spend the evening conversing with project artists. At the end of dinner, patrons vote for the project they would like to see funded. The artist receiving the most votes is awarded a portion of funds collected at the door—ideally $500 or more. The other four receive $50 for creating and offering their proposals.

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