Tag Archives: Landscapes

Painting to Listen; John Potter’s Dream

John Potter “Walking Tall in the Beartooths,” Oil 7×10″

“Painting for me is a form of communication with our Creator, and of gratitude as well; for the life and beauty brought forth on this Earth, especially in our remaining wild places. Because of this, I feel a sense of responsibility for the privilege of painting, for the gift of the craft. Many painters are out there trying to be heard – I paint to listen.” – John Potter

Stay tuned, please, for this important message.

Plein air painter John Potter doesn’t reside in Jackson Holehe’s a Montana man and an Ojibwe. But his presence here is strong. He has many deep friendships, and though he doesn’t like to be the center of attention, his clear spirit, gorgeous paintings, humor, consideration, and deep connection to Nature often make him so. He dedicates his life to celebrating the land and what it provides.

Unfortunately, all too often Nature’s voice falls on deaf ears, even when calling out to us with all its majestic power. We urgently need to practice listening. We need to hear those who Nature has chosen to pass on its messages, and messages often appear as dreams.

Recently, Potter had an apocolyptic dream; a nightmare. He’s graciously given permission to share it with you. Potter’s dream is Mother Earth (She is simply the mother; there is nothing separate from her. All things come from her, return to her, and are her.- Encyclopedia Britannica) calling us to bear witness.

Miigwetch, John.

John Potter, “Walking Among Giants.” Oil 14×48″

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What Has Winter Wrought?

Kathy Wipfler  “Deep Winter – Jackson Hole”   7 x 11″   field study

“Greg McHuron was known to wrestle sheets of plywood through various Ice Ages just so he could stand on them without sinking into the frozen depths. But Greg was part Woolly Mammoth.” ~ Plein air painter Erin C. O’Connor 

This Jackson Hole winter!  Folks have mentioned a craving to chew their legs off. But if you’re an artist the show goes on, and being shut in or facing stupendously challenging weather conditions often leads to improvisation, new creative themes and awakenings of a different sort.

I contacted some legendary badass women artists and asked them how winter has affected their work. This post, we hear from  Kathy Wipfler, Kay Stratman and Erin C. O’Connor.

KATHY WIPFLER

Plein air painter Kathy Wipfler is a true veteran of painting outdoors. Solid and sensible, her practices spring from a lifetime of ranching and hard outdoor work. A long-time member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, she knows a thing or two.

“Having painted on location here in every season for 36 years, I have a few tricks of the trade to stay as warm as possible. Painting a small format is one of them,” writes Wipfler. “Standing on Blue Board keeps the cold from my feet just a little longer than standing directly on the snow, and having the right boots is important. Painting sunlit snow is a passion, but there have been limited sunlit days so far this winter.”

Wipfler says another challenge is simply finding an accessible turnout to set up her easel and park. “Parking on the road’s shoulder is not so smart. I’ve spent time and effort shoveling out spaces whenever it’s feasible.”

Wipfler’s “Deep Winter – Jackson Hole,” pictured above, is so painterly I can almost feel the artist’s rich brushstrokes simply by looking. They convey the weight of this winter, its frigid cold, and a sense of muffled winter beauty. Wipfler’s snowdrifts are a pillow upon which the mountain rests.

Read more about Kathy Wipfler in this Jackson Hole Art Blog post, “Kathy Wipfler & the Boys!” 

KAY STRATMAN

Kay Stratman’s new abstract works are charged with color.

Kay Stratman is experimenting with her “alter studio ego.”

Stratman’s “Natural Abstractions,” comprised of watercolor and wax works, focus on what the artist describes as “amazingly colorful natural occurances that scream for exploration/exploitation/ abstraction.”

Stratman’s work (which she says has always favored essence over traditional form) is focused on subjects ranging from Yellowstone’s brilliant hot springs to “the mysteries of stellar nebula or northern lights.”

“People are familiar with watercolor as a medium and perhaps even encaustic wax,” writes Stratman. “But I combine both media in my work to present an interesting dichotomy. Watercolor and wax shouldn’t even be able to mix, should they? However, each medium becomes obvious upon close inspection, and the view from farther away brings the suggested subject matter to light.  The pieces themselves are splash and poured watercolors on rice paper, infused with encaustic wax (molten beeswax) that makes the paper translucent, allowing me to fuse layers together to create depth of color.”

Erin C. O’Connor – “El Gato Negro.”

Erin C. O’Connor 

“I know an artist who used to work for the phone company; he swiped one of those tents that they put over utility boxes so they can work in inclement weather; now he uses it to paint outside. At 17 below zero, I’d need the tent, the Enormo-Heat-Blaster, and the heated brush handles,” reveals painter Erin C. O’Connor.

I imagine O’Connor’s “Uppity Chick” smile.

Erin C. O’Connor in her studio.

During winter months O’Connor focuses on studio work and brings unfinished “warmer months” paintings to completion. At this time last year O’Connor was in Nicaragua, and she’s “finding welcome refuge in re-exploring those scenes.”

“It all plays back to me like a tape recording ~ the warmth, the humidity, the lyrical conversations, the people I met, all the things I learned,” she says. “Color upon color upon color. This has been my antidote to grey. This has been my rebellion to the cold.”

O’Connor updates her website during winter months, and she’s just been named as the newest member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters Board of Directors. When Plein Air for the Park ” gorgeously unfolds in July, it’s because we’ve thoroughly scrutinized the acrobatics well before summer.”

Next post, we’ll hear from a few more of Jackson’s ultra-talented women artists! All strive to be the best that they can be. Transcending fads and trends, they are wicked strong rungs on Jackson’s art history ladder, and their art endures.

In national art news, it was announced earlier this month that the NEA is in dire straits. Our new administration is strongly considering budget cuts that could eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. If executed, this spells disaster for art interests across the country. Such a step even stands to cancel important exhibitions like SFMOMA’s Matisse-Diebenkorn show.  Read a little about this impending legislation here

 

Take Your Broken Heart and Make it Art

 

Sue Sommers’ “001-1111-16,” Watercolor pencil and crayon on Magnani Pescia paper, 11 x 11″. From Sommers’ “Sibling” series.

In this week’s Jackson Hole News & Guide, editors ran a short letter about “clowns” demonstrating on Jackson’s Town Square the afternoon of January 15th. The letter could be taken as a thinly veiled threat: get those “clowns” off the streets of Jackson, or we’ll take our business elsewhere. Presenting all points of view is important, but placing that particular letter ahead of all others is astounding.

It’s a new town, a new year. Luckily, we can take our broken hearts and still make art!

Wyoming’s Pipeline Art Project artist Sue Sommers recently wrote a great piece for Wyofile, and she’s also come out with lots of new art and a new website. Her art explores different subjects, all close to home. Two of my favorites are her “Sibling” and “Willows” series. Though Sommers doesn’t specifically say so, these works draw from the same well, a source of roots and connection.

Sue Sommers, “Willow 2.” Intaglio on Rives Cream, plate size 9 x 12″, edition of 6.

Think of a tree’s branches as fingers, reaching to the sky, beckoning sun, rain and wildlife to its limbs. Think of families — most of Sommers’ abstract “Siblings” resemble fingers — as hands connected by fingers.

She could, she says, use a word like “meditation” to describe the “Sibling Series'” origins. But the real origin is terror.

“I call them (the Sibling Series) because they look like related organisms moving around in a confined space – like a family,” writes Sommers. “Thinking about my own siblings while I draw liberates me. I know (but didn’t when I was growing up) that I have to let the shapes be what they want.”

Sue Sommers. A landscape, “Fenceline 0615″ Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 48 x 48 x 1.5”

Sommers writes about process rather than “content” or “meaning.”

She could, she says, use a word like “meditation” to describe the “Sibling Series'” origins. But the real origin is terror.

“This would be embarrassing if I didn’t know lots of other artists fighting messy tides of dread and self-doubt. Do I have anything interesting to say? Am I any good? Is there any point to the sacrifices I make? After nearly 40 years of valiant battle, I felt like the terror was winning. My way out was to make marks. Any marks.”

Sue Sommers. Stripes sketchbook green yellow. Watercolor and crayon in handmade sketchbook, 4 x 6 inches open. NFS

Sommers started with square pieces of scrap paper and a children’s watercolor set. Working slowly, she pressed her nose almost to the paper, her brush dragging incrementally across the paper’s tooth as pigment soaked in and spread.

“Every inch of every strip of color I laid down was my choice: I choose to make this now. And this. And this. I made dozens of these stripe pieces. Eventually they started changing, and I started changing.”

You can view Sommers’ new work and new website here

Duke Beardsley, Hangtown. Mixed Media on Collage 40 x 52.”  At Altamira Fine Art, Scottsdale.

Altamira Fine Art’s Scottsdale gallery welcomes a new solo show, “Range Monitor,” by contemporary Western artist Duke Beardsley. 

“A highly anticipated new body of work will be highlighted in this new show, which centers on the idea of transparencies and visual plays on overlapping realities and falsehoods,” writes the gallery.

Artist Reception & Opening: January 26, 6:30 – 9:00 pm, in Scottsdale. 

This appears to be an excellent show. Find out more about it by visiting Altamira’s exhibition description here.

2016 Jackson Hole Art Auction Results!

Dean Cornwell (1892–1960) Portrait,1929 oil on canvas 30 x 24 in Sold: $245,700

Dean Cornwell (1892–1960) Portrait,1929 oil on canvas 30 x 24 in Sold: $245,700

I’d certainly buy her if I could. Dean Cornwell’s (1892 -1960) beautiful portrait of a young woman surrounded by American Indian motifs and symbols stole my heart. This painting sold for $245,700. Her story is just one of the hundreds of successful art stories to emerge from 2016’s Jackson Hole Art Auction, which realized over $8,000,000 in sales earlier this month. As always, the auction took place at Jackson Hole’s Center for the Arts, in downtown Jackson, Wyoming, and is a partnership production of the Trailside and Gerald Peters galleries.

This is a quick post; my aim is to get you the sales information as quickly as possible!

SALE HIGHLIGHTS: 

unnamed

Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
Buffalo Hunting,1894
oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 24 in
Sold: $450,000

unnamed-3N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945)
He Rode Away, Following a Dim Trail Among the Sage, 1909
oil on canvas
38 x 25 in
Sold: $585,000

unnamed-4Maynard Dixon (1875–1946)
Cattle Drive, 1939
mixed media
49 x 36 1/2 in
Sold: $409,500

unnamed-5Walter Ufer (1876–1936)
October
oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 47 1/4 in
Sold: $374,400

unnamed-6
John Clymer (1907–1989)
Moving Camp, 1972
oil on canvas
20 x 40 in
Sold: $380,250

unnamed-7John Clymer (1907–1989)
September, 1972
oil on board
15 x 30 in
Sold: $187,200

unnamed-8
Martin Grelle (1954–Present)
Last Trail to Medicine Wheel, 2016
oil and acrylic on linen
40 x 48 in
Sold: $198,900

unnamed-9

Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert (1865–1926)
Brüllende Löwen
oil on canvas
44 3/4 x 83 1/2 in
Sold: $280,800

marris 6-23 right, 6/23/16, 11:02 AM, 8C, 7704x10681 (0+0), 138%, gustafson less, 1/8 s, R69.1, G56.4, B81.5

Bonnie Marris (1951–Present)
Family Ties, 2016
oil on canvas
36 x 48 in
Sold: $140,400

View all of the Jackson Hole Art Auction’s 2016 sales results at www.jacksonholeartauction.com! More local art news coming soon!

Glittering Art World; Wolf Kahn

Pinedale is a Wyoming town working hard to infuse art into its veins; the movement is growing. A blooming flower, its seeds are sewn by local artists, Sue Sommers among them.

Her mural, seen here, is one of two completed in the past two years as part of Pinedale’s public art program. Sommers’ large-scale, whirling, arcing and bright painting, “Our Glittering World,”  will remain at its current site for two years.

Pinedale’s public art initiative, IN|SITE EX|SITE, hosts an artists reception on Friday, February 8th, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Sublette County Library. Artists contributing work to Pinedale’s community, also to be honored, include Bronwyn Minton, JB Bond, Kirsten and Palmer Klarén, and Sommers.

I asked Sommers about the world she was considering as she created her mural.

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