Tag Archives: Greg McHuron

Painting For Life: New Book Celebrates Gregory I. McHuron

"Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron," by Susan Hallsten McGarry

“Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron,” by Susan Hallsten McGarry

“If you are attaining your goals, you’ve set your goals too low. The last painting you do should be the very best.” –Greg McHuron

Words to live by. Words to paint by.

Gregory I. McHuron (1945-2012) is considered by many admirers the sole plein air painter that could stand up to the Tetons’ majestic size and power, as well as their surrounding valley. Indeed, McHuron stood for the majesty of ALL wilderness and wildlife, and he left a permanent legacy when we lost him to cancer.

Four years after his death a seminal book worthy of McHuron’s life, artistry and passion for wilderness has come to fruition: “Plein Air Mentor and Master: Gregory I. McHuron,” lovingly authored by former Southwest Art Magazine editor-in-chief Susan Hallsten McGarry,  will soon to be available through the Grand Teton Association.

McGarry says that this book, a retrospective, “is not only a story of living in the now; it is also a guide to finding what McHuron called the “WOW” that serenades your soul.”

“Painting has never been a job to me,” McHuron said. “It’s why I live.”

Greg McHuron near Menor's Ferry, Grand Teton National Park. It would be his final "Artists in the Environment" demonstration. Photo by Tammy Christel

Greg McHuron near the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Grand Teton National Park. It would be his final “Artists in the Environment” demonstration. Photo by Tammy Christel

“In the summer of 2013, Linda McHuron, Peter Ward, and I got together to discuss the idea of a book,” says McHuron’s long-time friend and fellow plein air painter Stephen C. Datz. McHuron was a member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, a group painting annually in Grand Teton National Park in support of the Grand Teton Association. Datz served as the group’s president for four years.

“We made contact with as many family, friends, colleagues, and collectors as we could and began collecting stories and remembrances. Peter began the work of gathering, collating, and cataloguing images of Greg’s work,” said Datz.

McGarry feels that this book, a retrospective, “is not only a story of living in the now; it is also a guide to finding what McHuron called the WOW” that serenades your soul.”

Gregory I. McHuron, "Seasonal Differences," Oil, 40" x 30"

Gregory I. McHuron, “Seasonal Differences,” Oil, 40″ x 30″ Photo by Tammy Christel

For the next two years, through emails, phone calls, one-on-one meetings and gatherings hosted by Peter, we accumulated a huge stash of memories of Greg and advice that he had given his students,” recalls Datz. Matt Montagne and Charlie Craighead contributed an invaluable cache of candid photos of Greg out painting and doing AIE (Artists in the Environment, an open-to-the-public plein air painting program McHuron co-founded in 1974 with Connie Schwiering and Chuck McCurdy) demos.”

McGarry notes that “true artists must live their art and paint from the heart.” McHuron’s lifestyle epitomized that philosophy, she says. His paintings expressed what he felt, and he shared those feelings with others willing to listen, including mentoring artists, in workshops or in his own “no bull*@#!” critiques.

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Plein Air for the Park ~ 2016!


Celebrate the Centennial! Visit "Plein Air for the Park" artists and shows!

Celebrate the Centennial! Visit “Plein Air for the Park” artists and shows!

It’s wondrous. “Plein Air for the Park is wondrous. A natural branching off from the roots of our precious national parks, “Plein Air for the Park” brings Grand Teton National Park to the world, just as the first explorers and chroniclers of the great Western Landscape did over 120 years ago. “Plein Air for the Park” has long been the summer arts event that most touches my heart. It’s fun for everyone, no matter your age, your artistic inclinations, no matter what you may or may not know about our parks.

One of Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painter Wes Newton's Teton-themed works.

One of Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painter Wes Newton’s Teton-themed works.

“The arts and nature cannot survive without one another.” ~ Yours Truly

Now in its fifth year, “Plein Air for the Park” attracts approximately 40 exceptional, professional painters to the park. Here, they spend the better part of two weeks spread out across the valley, painting our great natural wonders through their own eyes; interpreting what they see and feel. Then they put it on canvas. It all culminates in a grand SHOW & SALE at the Craig Thomas Discovery Center in Moose, Wyoming. Sale proceeds support the Grand Teton Association, a non-profit organization spreading the Park’s good word through literature, art, maps, posters, interpretive products, toys and learning games for children.

An early "Plein Air for the Park" painting by John Hughes.

An early “Plein Air for the Park” painting by John Hughes.

RMPAP, the Grand Teton Association, and Grand Teton National Park are proud to present this exclusive “wet painting” show and sale, now in its fifth year and a cornerstone of the Park’s summer season. Participating artists will paint on-location, “en plein-air,” in the Park and Jackson Hole area beginning July 4th (yes, it’s way past July 4th!)  The Show and Sale officially opens at Craig Thomas on Wednesday, July 13th.

39% of the proceeds from the show will benefit the Grand Teton Association and support their ongoing educational, interpretive, and scientific programs in GTNP.

Here’s an easy-to-follow schedule of events. Print it out, and paste it on your calendar!

JULY 4-12: Artists paint in and around Grand Teton NP and Jackson Hole. You may find them anywhere as you hike, fish, ride or float in the Park.

A painter's tools. Photo courtesy of "Artists in the Environment"

A painter’s tools. Photo courtesy of “Artists in the Environment”

SATURDAY, JULY 9: “Artists in the Environment” joins “Plein Air for the Park” in a group painting exhibition at String Lake, 9am – 12 Noon. Look for signage pointing the way. RMPAP artists Carol Swinney, Walter Porter and Jim Wodark will be on hand, and the public is welcome ~~encouraged! ~~ to stop by and bring a chair to watch. Bring your own art supplies and do your own sketches; children love painting alongside these talented landscape painters. A few years ago, several Park visitors made their own paintings on the spot and took them home. (Heart emoji!!)  Sponsored by the Grand Teton Association, this event is free and open to the public!

MONDAY, JULY 11: “Painting on the Mountain,” 5-7 PM at the Top of the Bridger Gondola/Couloir Restaurant, Teton Village. YES! That’s right. They’re painting high up on the slopes. Artists will demonstrate their painting techniques and skills and be available to answer questions about their work and the show.

TUESDAY, JULY 12: “Painting on the Square,” 3:30-6:30 PM, downtown Jackson. Join artists as they set up their easels and demonstrate in the heart of Jackson, on Jackson Town Square.

My Mom bought a painting!

My Mom bought a painting!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 13: Today is the Day!  Gala Opening Reception and Sale, 7-9:00 pm, at the Craig Thomas Discovery Center in Moose, Wyoming. All artists will be in attendance. Works are hung gallery-style, refreshments are in abundance, and energy high. It’s a fabulous party, and it’s FREE and OPEN to the Public. 

Very important and meaningful to those who knew and loved Greg McHuron, one of our greatest and most devoted plein air painters: The reception will also serve as the release party for Susan Hallsten McGarry’s new book about RMPAP member Greg McHuron, Gregory I. McHuron – Plein Air Master & Mentor. This beautiful new volume chronicles Greg’s life and work, and may be pre-ordered for the first time, exclusively at Plein Air for the Park.

Visitors throng to "Plein Air for the Park's" Quick Draw.

Visitors throng to “Plein Air for the Park’s” Quick Draw.

SATURDAY, JULY 16: The Show & Sale is a hard act to follow, but follow it we do! Come to the artists’ “Quick Draw” event, also at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center, for a fixed-price sale of painted-on-the-spot works by RMPAP artists. The painting takes place 9-11:00 am, and is followed by a chance to buy works from the artists from 11:00 am – 12:00 Noon.

SUNDAY, JULY 17: The Show & Sale concludes at 4:00 pm. Want to know more about RMPAP and the Grand Teton Association? Visit www.rmpap.org and grand teton association

Painting in the Park~Courtesy Jackson Hole Art Blog

Painting in the Park~Courtesy Jackson Hole Art Blog

Enjoy! See you out there! Come early!  #jacksonhole #grandtetonnationalpark #pleinairforthepark #rockymountainpleinairpainters #jacksonholeartblog


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Hoffman’s World; Far Afield with Bert


Enlightened, ©Jennifer L. Hoffman, 2015, oil and cold wax on linen, 24x18 in.

Enlightened, ©Jennifer L. Hoffman, 2015, oil and cold wax on linen, 24×18 in.

Trio Fine Art’s partners Kathryn Mapes Turner, Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuk have taken to sending out what amount to personal diaries that reveal their feelings and processes. I’m lucky to have been physically present when all three artists create work, and we always enjoy conversations that certainly help form my own soul’s perspective.

Jennifer Hoffman at work. Photo by Tammy Christel

Jennifer Hoffman at work. Photo by Tammy Christel

But there’s nothing like reading these “diaries.” Hoffman is a dear friend. When I first arrived in Jackson her work stood out. She’s climbed a lot of ladders, and her work is highly praised. It’s thrilling to see her venture into the abstract. Her work is cliché-free. Each stroke of her brush or pastel is laden with emotion. With memory. Hoffman’s thickly layered canvases are what plein air should be: our eyes roam each surface, seeking out details. We marvel at layered textures, a dream-like, hauntingly soft view of the world. She approaches nature as the mystery it is.

Jennifer Hoffman - "Winding Through."

Jennifer Hoffman – “Winding Through.”

A year ago I had the honor of standing in for Hoffman at New York’s Salmagundi Club. Her work received a prestigious award, one of many. It was a proud day for the artist, and a heady, exciting day for me.

Here’s an excerpt from Hoffman’s blog. In it, she describes a “Eureka!” moment shared with the late, great plein air painter Greg McHuron. That day, Hoffman was frustrated with her artistic efforts, and McHuron solved the dilemma:

“…So I drew a thumbnail of what I remembered as the composition.  “Look!” [Greg] said, pointing at the saguaro in front of the mountains that I’d sketched on the napkin. “You’ve already improved on your idea!” He was right: I had subtly shifted the main elements of my design into a better version of my original composition.  Without the distraction of a million compelling details in front of my eyes, that idea became my whole focus.”

Click here to read more about Jennifer Hoffman’s work. And click here to visit her gallery, Trio Fine Art.

Bert Raynes and Friend. Courtesy JenTen Productions.

Bert Raynes and Friend. Courtesy JenTen Productions.

TONIGHT, June 3rd, 6-7:30 pm, PLEASE join the JenTen film production team at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Help crowd fund “Far Afield,” a documentary about one of this valley’s most beloved conservationists, Bert Raynes. I’ve contributed!

“Donate and Celebrate,” as the group says. You may also visit http://igg.me/at/BertFilmJH to contribute. Contact Jennifer Tennican at 307.690.2258 or jentennican@gmail.com for more info.  

Plein Air for the Park & Jen Hoffman’s “Renewal”



“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: http://www.rmpap.org/national_show/

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Photography, Climbing, Books & Painting ~ We’re Back Outdoors!

Image by Taylor Glenn

Image by Taylor Glenn

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

On Sunday, May 12th, National Geographic photographer Wade Davis makes an appearance at Jackson’s first annual Mountain Story Festival, courtesy of the Murie Center. There’s no getting away from the fact that climbing treacherous, challenging peaks here—and anywhere in the world—is a huge part of our culture. Climbers take in the outdoors in a mind-bending way. The closest I’ve come to being that high, with a few thousand feet between me and flat ground is the year I skydived, on a dare, at college. I’d do that again before I’d climb the Grand or any other giant, jagged, craggy mountain!

Others have infinitely more guts. These extreme personalities can’t keep themselves from climbing; they climb in their sleep. Which is why Davis’ talk on his new book “Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest” should be packed. Mothers, be warned! Content may be nerve racking!  7:00 pm start, Pink Garter Theater, downtown Jackson.

Wednesday, May 15th, the Murie Center’s Mardy’s Conservation Collection Book Club meets to discuss the Murie’s book, Wapiti Wilderness.

“In this autobiographical tale…Olaus and Mardy describe their life together, raising a family in the mountainous wilderness of the Tetons, while Olaus worked for the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey,” says the Center. The gathering takes place at the the Murie’s original home, Murie Ranch, in Moose, WY, at 6:30 pm. Lively discussion, reflection and inspiration are a promise.  www.muriecenter.org.

Tammy Callens, AIE 2012

The Grand Teton Association (GTA) has announced its line-up of plein air artists for this summer’s “Artists in the Environment”  (AIE) series, taking place the second Saturday of every month, June – September, in Grand Teton National Park(GTNP). Each of those weekends, regional plein air painters provide free painting demonstrations at locations throughout GTNP.  Founded by the late, great plein air artists Greg McHuron and Conrad Schwiering, the program has offered countless visitors and art lovers a free chance to see artists capturing the beauty surrounding us.

I have a personal passion for this program~~I believe the history of plein air painting in this valley, and in the Greater Yellowstone Region, is one of America’s most important art history stories. Its tradition is unbreakable; the artists’ bonds are like steel.

For fifty years, the GTA has celebrated GTNP via the arts. All proceeds realized by the GTA serve to broaden education, research and interpretation of GTNP.

Times and locations are TBA, but participating artists for 2013 are:  Dwayne Harty – June 15th;  Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters & Co., – July 13th; Wendell Field – August 10th;  and Fred Kingwill – September 14th.  More on all these artists as summer progresses!

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