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Posts from ‘Writing’

Feb
28

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 

Jan
20

 

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Seven-year Western Design Conference  (WDC) Events Manager Allison Merritt is now the conference’s owner; she purchased the event from Powder Horn Press and the Jackson Hole News and Guide, owners since the show moved to Jackson in 2007.

Merritt plans to expand 2014′s show and sale, she says. WDC will now include a home and interior design feature and “a larger fashion shopping experience.”  The annual, juried conference and show typically awards close to $16,000 in prize money to artisans working with Western genre works. This year’s conference, the big kickoff for Jackson’s annual Fall Arts Festival, takes place September 4-7, 2014.

“My vision is to build on the history of the show while creating an event that brings together every facet of design in the West, and to appeal to markets ranging from young, new customers to established collectors,” says Merritt. “From documented American craft to home design to fashion, we are expanding the show to encompass all aspects of the best of Western design.”

The Western Design Conference was founded 22 years ago in Cody, Wyoming, as a way to promote contemporary artists working with historical American craft methods. Contact Merritt at allison@westerndesignconference.com or phone  307-690-9719.

Photograph by Leine Stikkel

Photograph by Leine Stikkel

Oh Milky Way, what secrets of our galaxy do you hold in/ your spiraling Orion’s arm of comets and planets/and celestial beings…~Jackson Photographer Leine Stikkel. 

Jackson’s photographers are likely very familiar with Leine Stikkel’s photographs of all things natural, quixotic and wild. I’ve known Leine for a couple of years, but too rarely get to spend time with her. She’s a naturalist, a spotter, an adventurer and devoted to the art. Through her lens, she sees the world so uniquely—and I use “uniquely” in its best sense. Earlier this year she and filmmaker Jeff Hogan began a project filming beavers in Grand Teton National Park, but the project was cut short by the government shut down. The two continue working together; keep your eyes open for a new project.

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Happily, I ran into Leine on the west bank dike, along the Snake River just the other day. She spotted an avalanche, and we looked at it through her binoculars for a while. She’s launched a blog, “Lens to the World,” where you can view her work and read her close-to-the-heart responses to what her camera’s eye captures. It’s beautiful. Stikkel simply wants to get her photographs and thoughts about what she sees out to the world. Hope this helps.

Photograph by Leine Stikkel

Photograph by Leine Stikkel

“The beaver pond is icing up. Their food storage spreads away from the lodge through the pond water, looking as if a small, branchy tree has fallen from atop the lodge. It will be their food throughout the winter,” writes Stikkel. “All they have to do is dive out of the lodge and right there, under the ice, grab a branch and scoot back in, mmm water chilled alder, aspen or cottonwood tree.”

Were we all able to slow ourselves down and match words to image as she does. Thank you, Leine.  www.lenstotheworld.com

Nov
05
Shannon Troxler - Cobalt and Sapphires

Shannon Troxler – Cobalt and Sapphires

Jackson Hole artist Shannon Troxler has new encaustic paintings on display November 7 – December 27, 2013, at the Teton County Library.  The artist will participate in a free opening reception for her show, “Missing Pages,” on Thursday, November 14th, from  5-7 p.m. An artist’s talk takes place at 6 p.m.

“The title of the show came about because my family and friends would complain that books I lent them had missing pages,” says Troxler. “Each of my paintings will have a clue to a literary subject’s identity, such as a quote—the pages are part of the art—and I’ll have a table full of books I’ve used. The idea is to figure out which painting matches which book; some are very easy and some more difficult.”

Troxler’s project began six months ago when she painted a small work depicting Alice and the White Rabbit for the Art Association’s “Whodunnit.” Once under way, Troxler found it hard to stop.

“I have always had a passion for books, but now I was obsessed. I would wake up and think ‘Oh, I should do Jane Eyre!’ I’d find the book, reread it, decide which pages were relevant, and imagine how Jane would look and how I could capture her in paint and encaustic wax. For Jane, I ended up burning page edges, in reference to the book’s fire scenes. Something I like about this show are the paintings’ layers, meant to reflect each book’s layers of meaning. Some will enjoy these paintings as simple portraits or landscapes, and those who have read these books may pick up on more subtleties,” says the artist.

Shannon Troxler - Emma

Shannon Troxler – Emma

Troxler hopes to encourage discussion of the classics and their iconic characters, so much a part of our lexicon. As a subject, narrative is a departure for Troxler; many artists “shy away” from approaching literary stories in their work, she says. Though she studied art in the classical tradition and enjoys painting figures, she has never wanted to paint portraits and each of these works presented a challenge. Here, Troxler imagines how characters look and feel, a liberating experience. The combination of oil and wax creates lovely, translucent layers, allowing her to carve surfaces with subtle detail.

“I feel like I am just getting started, I can imagine so many more characters and series, musicians and sheet music for example. Cookbooks! I’m beginning to explore the concept of this being a traveling exhibit,” says Troxler.

Shannon Troxler - Twinkle, Twinkle

Shannon Troxler – Twinkle, Twinkle

It’s rather wonderful that book pages and journals, and how women manipulate or interpret the written word, are a reoccurring theme in recent weeks. This must mean something!

For information, contact Adult Humanities Coordinator Oona Doherty, 733-2164 ext. 135, or email odoherty@tclib.org. The library notes that pARTners will also celebrate classic literature November 13-30th, with literary-inspired art by local high school students on display at the library.   www.shannontroxlerfineart.com   www.tclib.org

Scott Christensen - I See a Pale Moon Rising - 24 x 30"

Scott Christensen – I See a Pale Moon Rising – 24 x 30″

Noted plein air painter Scott Christensen will host a November opening for a series of new works at his downtown Victor, Idaho studio. A reception and sale for “A Painter’s Travels”  takes place on Saturday, November 23rd, 3:00 pm, at 10 S. Main Street, in Victor. I will go out on a wintry limb and assume works shall continue to be for sale after that date and into the holidays.

A lovely time of year, and opportunity, to view Christensen’s latest works and meet the artist. For more information contact Casey at 208.787.5851, or email art@christensenstudio.com. www.christensenstudio.com

Crafting glass at Laurie Thal's studio, 2012.

Crafting glass at Laurie Thal’s studio, 2012.

Glass blower Laurie Thal is opening up her studio again this holiday season—come blow your own glass balls! (Sorry, there’s just no getting around that joke!)  It’s a great time, Thal leads participants through each step of the process, and everyone goes home with a beautiful, hand made ornament.

Dates: November 12 – January 12, 2014. Groups of no less than four people can sign up, and the cost is $30/per person–$20 to make a second ornament.  Phone 307.733.5096 or email thallaurie@gmail.com. 

 

 

 

 

Oct
18

 For Annie~~Eleven Years. 

Terry Tempest Williams - Courtesy Coyote Clan

Terry Tempest Williams – Courtesy Coyote Clan

“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy.” ~~Terry Tempest Williams

The Wyoming Arts Council’s annual conference came to Jackson Hole this year, and attendees were treated to a closing keynote by Terry Tempest Williams. She was intimately present, and if you were lucky enough to hear her that afternoon you’ll carry the occasion in your heart a long while.

Williams had thought to read from her latest book, “When Women Were Birds.” Instead, she chose to address a question put to her by the Wyoming Art Council’s Karen Stewart: “How have the arts affected your life?” 

"When Women Were Birds" by Terry Tempest Williams

“When Women Were Birds” by Terry Tempest Williams

Our cavernous conference room became an intimate campfire gathering. A place to hear stories, a place to have your heart stirred. Williams’ childhood summers were spent in Wyoming; in remembering those family traditions and travels, Williams said that Wyoming winds, time and the freedom of open spaces that create open minds shaped her. Days and nights spent curled up Mardy Murie’s feet, inhaling the wisdom of ages, breathing in stories, creating memory.

A trail of Wyoming art winds its way through Williams’ life. Each of her books began and ended in Wyoming. “Refuge” took its first breaths at UCross. Williams spoke of discovering works by legendary Wyoming artists like Jackson and Rungius. Her climate-themed collaboration with Jackson artists Ben Roth and Felicia Resor, “Council of Pronghorn,” elicited deep emotion (Roth drove the installation to NYC in a van, arriving just as one of the biggest storms that city has known was preparing to land. Roth had never been to NYC, and he found the streets empty. He was, said Williams, a messenger.) She reminded us that the best literary art is local; Hemingway, Faulkner—it’s all about place. We migrate, but ultimately we are a place-based species. Wyoming artist Neltje’s fluid brushstrokes inspired Williams to sweep her own sumi brushstrokes across blank paper before beginning any book.

Literature will always matter, Williams said, and art has always been waking us up. Early in her writing career, a mentor encouraged Williams to “sharpen her writing pencil,” to boldly speak about the essential nature of beauty and art in our lives.

“My wish for art education is that it continue to be taught. Arts create wholesome citizens, and we should weave art into other education disciplines and institutions. Conversation and the arts can lead to policy, and government should support the arts with no strings attached, no censorship. Trust artists; what they create is part of the roots of free speech,” Williams told the audience.

Neltje - Audible Breath Triptych - Acrylic

Neltje – Audible Breath Triptych – Acrylic

The Wyoming Arts Council blogged on Williams’ “Weather Report” project, a series of meetings Williams took with UW students and students around the state gathering and sharing stories of what it is like to live in Wyoming; to talk, as Williams described it this week, about “What keeps you up at night? What is your own ‘weather report?’ “

As Boomerang reporter Eve Newman wrote: “The energy boom in Wyoming means watching development taking over open spaces. It means jobs that keep families together. It means oil and gas executives feeling vilified. It means dead cottonwoods across ranch land.

Wyoming Arts Logo - Detail

Wyoming Arts Logo – Detail

Every Wyoming resident has a story about living in Wyoming. For many, those stories have to do with the latest boom cycle and the unprecedented change that’s affecting the land and the people. For others, their stories are about displacement, loss, love, racism, isolation, tolerance or opportunity.”

Newman also quoted Williams as saying that she believed students were able to bear witness to the power of stories, and heard the force of their own voices.

At the Aspen Institute, Williams participated in the Story Swap Project, an international interaction of citizens telling one another their stories, swapping roles, and building “bridges of understanding.”

Throughout her WAC keynote, Williams’ voice captured our hearts and minds. Throughout, she remained emotional, excited, open, receiving. We received. I know no other writers as eminent as Williams possessing an instinct to share so unselfishly, or who provide such lasting gifts inside an hour’s lecture. We are grateful.

“Once upon a time, when women were birds….”

Dove

 

Sep
18
The Scream!!!

The Scream!!!

Jackson’s 2013 Fall Arts Festival is officially behind us; we spend so much time planning for those 10 days in September. When Fall Arts does come ’round, it seems to fly by. The newspapers publish countless pages of special sections focusing on Fall Arts. Everyone advertises, and everyone gets some space. I try to do the same here on the Blog. Spotlighting our truly exceptional arts scene is important for our town and for ourselves. We get a sense that this is what our efforts are all about. The word on the Festival has spread even further; Fall Arts enjoyed more on line publicity than ever before. Google alerts went nuts!

The local paper with the largest circulation and the thickest pile of stories related to Fall Arts also published, the week AFTER their their special Fall Arts sections appeared—in other words, at mid-Festival—an article entitled “Fall Arts effect fades for some. Certain gallery owners no longer count on annual festival to boost summer sales.”

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Hmmm. On so many levels! I sent a letter to the editor. In case it doesn’t appear, here’s what I wrote:

Jackson’s art scene has shifted dramatically; as one fine arts consultant commented to me, arts are now a year-round economic industry.

Each Fall Arts Festival culminates a year’s hard work. Fall Arts is a phenomenal marketing opportunity, as the Chamber of Commerce and the relatively new-to-town Design Conference know. Fall Arts is a tourism magnet, a boon for restaurants and lodging. The “Quick Draw” is a swirl of sheer joy, a manifestation of art’s incredible gifts enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

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As wonderful a spotlight as it is, the Festival is not our entire arts season, and banking on it to make or break an arts enterprise has never been a sound plan. Strong annual sales are built upon the number of quality exhibitions a gallery, artist, arts group, museum, or any entity presents over time. Exhibitions and projects establish reputation; reputation is not built on Fall Arts. Fall Arts gets our attention, but collectors and arts enthusiasts keep their eyes peeled all year.

If things aren’t shaking out the way you’d like, don’t cast blame. Innovation and vision, the best artwork and exhibitions, great management, smart budgeting of assets, constancy of ethics, savvy, accountability, outstanding public relations and marketing, knowledge, grace and customer service are success’ building blocks. Those, and the magic of art being created.

Locals, not always comfortable visiting arts venues, feel more comfortable during Fall Arts. They see and enjoy. Word spreads. A friend of mine, highly connected in the arts and otherwise back East, came through Jackson’s galleries for the first time this year. That friend was impressed. Anyone could be walking through your door. Yes, free food attracts people, and you’ll feed them. That’s not news. All sides of a story should be presented—but the assumptions of that article are incorrect. And why place the story when Fall Arts has not concluded?

The point is, if visitors are here, seeing what our arts have going, that’s good. And more people buzz through during Fall Arts than any other time of year. In two years—even sooner!—you may get a fabulous sale. Approach your entire year with that in mind. You are here in Jackson. Most people can’t be here. It’s a choice.

176An info session happened last night, but Jackson artists still have the chance to submit qualifications to create “a site-specific art intervention (possibly the organizers mean “installation,” but I’m a little behind the times, jargon-wise!) at the Pink Garter Plaza, downtown Jackson. The artist whose work is selected must work with Pink Garter businesses on the design, which will  ”enhance public space and increase safety in and around the Pink Garter Theatre.”

Individuals or groups must submit their qualifications by 5:00 pm on October 4th. One to three finalists will be awarded $300 to create a project proposal. Winner gets $8,000 to create the work, due by May, 2014.  

“The Artist-Business Partnership is an incredible opportunity for a local artist (or artist team) on a myriad of levels: it will give the chosen artist and their work exposure to the high volume of visitors to the Pink Garter Plaza; it will guide them through the best-practices process of producing a piece of public art; it will help them build a working relationship with business owners; and most of all, it enables them to make a living locally as an artist,”  says J.H. Public Art’s Carrie Geraci. For information email Geraci at carrie@jhpublicart.org.  www.jhpublicart.org