Tag Archives: Dennis Doheny

Your Plein Air Roots

Thomas McGlynne  Blossoms  1878 – 1966  20 x 24 inches  Medium: Oil on board   Available at Karges Fine Art.

“I aspire to become an inhabitant, one who knows and honors the land…I follow various and sometimes crooked paths, yet I am always driven by a single desire, that of learning to be at home.” ~ Scott Russell Sanders

What are your plein air “roots?”

We dug in the dirt. Light was miraculous. During my California youth, down on hands and knees to touch, smell and fondle beach flowers tendrils, pungent and squishy succulents, inhaling the scent of tiny cliff side scrub, peeling puzzle-shaped eucalyptus bark, running my fingers along those arrow-like leaves was a daily ritual. Every canyon trail was fair game.

There’s something from every art movement to love, but before I even knew what it was, plein air painting was in my blood.

Sullivan Canyon Trail

Childhood years were a nirvana of clamoring, swimming and hiking in and around the Santa Monica-Pacific Palisades-Malibu landscapes. We lived on a Sullivan Canyon hillside, on Old Ranch Road, in a Cliff May home. At the foot of our long, winding driveway was a large open field, and we called it… “the Field.” Cross the Field and you found yourself on Sullivan Canyon Road. Open and dusty, we kids played, and people rode horses, picnicked, threw frisbees. Now the Field is an established riding arena, and its scrubby oak tree terrain seems shrunken.

But the Field was where I first saw plein air painters at work.

I was 10, my brother six when, one morning, we walked down to the Field. A group of plein air painters had gathered under the eucalyptus. Their clothes, easels, hats…all were “foreign” to us, figures materialized from another era. My brother and I made our way over to the group.

One artist focused on a view oriented toward our house. Holding hands, we watched as the artist suddenly painted us–I with my white blonde hair and John a carrot-topped red-head–into the scene. Two tiny children dwarfed by ancient oaks, eucalyptus, wading in wildflowers, California’s hills sweeping skyward behind us. Nature is the master, we are only suggested.

Dennis M. Doheny “Late Light Poppies, Oil on Linen, 24 x 30”

I’m still in contact with California grade school friends. One of my classmates is the great California landscape Impressionist Dennis M. Doheny. His paintings are among the most awarded and sought after works by a living California plein air painter. He’s represented by another classmate, Karges Fine Art’s Whitney Ganz.

Jim Wodark, “Night Spirit,” Oil on Linen, 12 x 12″

I discovered Jim Wodark’s work at last summer’s Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters “Plein Air for the Park” event. The paint-out is back this summer, a fine venue for meeting and cultivating your plein air palette. So many artists, so many painting styles. Wodark, I think, is a master. His works emit Western dry heat and that silver, scented light permeats the sage.

Lamya Deeb, also new to “Plein Air for the Park” last summer, caught many art lovers’ attention. A quiet presence, she lives and works near Boulder, Colorado. Her paintings are soft whispering masses of color, form and light. Floating, sometimes bordering on the abstract, her paintings represent a departure from more representative plein air styles.

Lamya Deeb, Billowing, Oil on Panel, 8 x 10″   “My aim is to convey the unique essence and beauty of a particular moment and place, and to share the feeling of that experience with the viewer,” says Deeb.

Whenever a plein air work feels so rich that I can “smell” the landscape, I’m a goner.

Plein Air season approaches! It’s my favorite time of year here in Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone region. Artists are out painting everywhere, offering new work fresh from a session on Antelope Flats, Jenny Lake, Mormon Row, Oxbow, the Elk Refuge, the Teton Village area, Moose, Moran Junction, Spring Gulch Road and Hardeman Ranch .

This summer’s major plein air events in the Jackson Hole/Grand Teton National Park/Greater Yellowstone/Teton Valley, Idaho include: Plein Air for the Park, the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Plein Air Fest (which includes artists creating works other than plein air paintings), Artists in the Environment, Driggs Plein Air, the Teton Plein Air Painters, and during the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, artists spread out for the “Quick Draw,” a festival favorite!

The Jackson Hole Art Blog is full of plein air stories! Just enter the words “plein air” in the search box to find dozens of stories on Jackson Hole artists and their work! See you out there!

Travis Walker, “Niko.”

Hood Leads Trail Tour; Petrol Art; Dennis Doheny; Jeff Diener

The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) brings Sculpture Trail designer Walter Hood back to Jackson on July 26, 2011.  Hood will personally conduct a hard-hat tour of the site for museum members and talk about the concepts and planning process for a trail that will be organic, artful and integrated to its surrounding Western landscape. NMWA notes that the new trail and sculpture gardens emulate parallel projects installed at nationally noted museums–New York’s Museum of Modern Art and L.A.’s J. Paul Getty Museum, for example. Situated above Jackson Hole’s National Elk Refuge the new trail is uniquely Wyoming.

While leading the tour, Hood will talk about his initial concepts for showcasing the outdoor sculpture and how plans have developed. Important sculptures slated for the new outdoor space include a casting of Simon Gudgeon’s (also look for Gudgeon’s work at Jackson’s Diehl Gallery) bronze bird form “Isis” , Tim Shinabarger’s “Black Timber Bugler”, and eight “larger-than-life” bison sculpted by Richard Loffler.  That work, “Buffalo Trail,” will be installed on a hillside with its own access path.


The Art Association’s Jenny Dowd notes that occasionally community businesses offer artists a chance to display artwork on premises. A few weeks back an in-town Phillips 66 Station was remodeled, and the owners were looking for artwork to “liven up the walls.”  Contact Dowd  for info at the Art Association by emailing jenny@artassociation.org.

Interesting that a gas station, as opposed to a natural food store or restaurant or some other venue more closely associated with creativity, is offering artists a chance to show their work. I hope the effort sets an example for more Town of Jackson establishments. Bringing darkened commercial space windows to life with local art is a common practice. And it’s win-win.

Dowd has provided a link for artists wanting to sell their work at this year’s People’s Market: http://www.jhpeoplesmarket.org/ Lastly, the Teton Mudpots hold their annual summer sale outside the Art Association’s ceramics studio 10am – 5:30pm, on Thursday June 30th.  For more information contact Sam Dowd: sam@artassociation.org

Plein air painter Dennis Doheny is a familiar name in Jackson’s art scene, featured in past NMWA exhibitions. Doheny is wildly famous in his home state of California, and truly ranks amongst the country’s most distinguished plein air artists. He has twice won the Frederic Remington Award and was honored by the Autry National Center with the Masters of the American West Purchase Award. Though his work is in high demand, Doheny has not had a one man show in five years. He’ll break that pattern on Saturday, September 24th, when an exhibition of new works débuts at William A. Karges Fine Arts, in their Beverly Hills location. An opening reception takes place 4-6 pm.

Doheny is represented exclusively by Karges.  www.dennisdoheny.com/

Jackson photographer Jeff Diener has new “Wildlife and Wildflower” images, taken last spring. His favorites include shots of “…an intense coyote and [a] mysterious Great Grey Owl.”

“I’ve always known coyotes to be curious but I was pretty surprised by this encounter,” Diener says. “This guy actually approached me, checked me out, then proceeded to lay down and relax. I shot photos for over half an hour!”  Diener now offers Canvas Gallery Wrapped prints. “These are a simple and elegant approach to presentation–high quality canvas, gallery wrapped and ready to hang,” notes the photographer.  http://jacksonholegallery.photoshelter.com/gallery/Wildlife-Wildflower-Photos/G0000V1dqwKNStHk/