Tag Archives: Oxbow Bend

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.”

Brookover’s Spanish Muse; RMPAP & AIE at Oxbow; Ode

David Brookover - "Harold and Maude"

David Brookover – “Harold and Maude”

As I sat in front of Jackson photographer David Brookover’s giant iMac (the biggest screen I’ve ever seen!) every image he showed me impressed. Brookover rarely does anything small-scale, unless it’s due to a collector’s wish to purchase a print of more compact proportions. He happily accommodates, but it’s a rare event.

Brookover’s latest, stunning images are of Andulusian horses, those magnificent, “royal,” and relatively rare steeds of Spanish origin. Recently Brookover took an extended trip to Spain to visit several renowned Andalusian horse ranches. Brookover is captivated by their speed, size, proportions, spirit and how the horses’ manes and color change as they age; the arc of a horse’s neck. Often, as he photographed them, the horses ran directly at Brookover. He’s captured them at rest, in full and abandoned gallop, and each photograph is a distinct equine portrait. As I write this, Brookover’s Spain images aren’t yet hanging in the gallery, but his photographs of Andalusians in South Carolina are on view. 

David Brookover - "Four Off"

David Brookover – “Four Off”

“I flew into Madrid and traveled all over Andalusia, Spain. I must have photographed at least 50 stallions. When the horses are out, they really want to run,” says Brookover. Pointing to one image, he describes the horse as being as svelt, fast and sleek as a greyhound.

“His skin, his coat looks wet, but it’s not—it reminded me of a seal’s skin,” recalls the photographer. Brookover encountered one animal that was “almost an albino,” a past world champion and very rare. Brookover photographed the horse against stacks of hay and against the weathered wall of 300-year old barn. Brookover’s ability to juxtapose and expose each texture can make one feel the hay in your hand, or a barn’s peeling white plaster.

David Brookover - "Sugar Cubes"

David Brookover – “Sugar Cubes”

Brookover took countless photographs, visiting 10 ranches with a translator, and each rancher welcomed Brookover. He will painstakenly edit them down to a selection of around five images to exhibit. This July he’ll do the printing, then frame the images up…and he has some extraordinary framing ideas brewing. Colors are saturated, printed on bamboo paper which allows for a rich image without it “hitting you in the face.”

“These horses are beautiful, and they know they’re beautiful,” says Brookover. “They were great. The most difficult thing was lighting and getting them to be still when they’re outside. Because when they’re out—-whoosh!  They’re gone. These animals are gorgeous, and I can hardly wait to have the photographs up.”

Brookover’s gallery carries black and white, silver gelatin, platinum and his ever-popular color landscapes. In addition to the new Andalusian photographs, Brookover’s images of Yellowstone wildlife are not to be missed. Brookover’s aesthetic merges classic photographic technique with surprising, fresh images of our native species.  www.brookovergallery.com


Saturday, July 13th, the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters and the Grand Teton Association’s “Artists in the Environment” merge. Plein air painters representing both groups will give a free plein air demonstration, 2-5:00 pm, at Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park.  The event is free and open to the public~~and the views are spectacular. An informal Q&A with the artists will also take place. Artists are RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz, Kathryn Mapes Turner and Jeanne MacKenzie.  www.rmpap.org  www.grandtetonpark.org



“The sweetness of dogs (fifteen)

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking

of sitting out on the sand to watch

the moon rise. Full tonight.

So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it

makes me shudder, makes me think about

time and space, makes me take

measure of myself: one iota

pondering heaven. Thus we sit,

I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s

perfect beauty and also, oh! How rich

it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,

leans against me and gazes up into

my face. As though I were

his perfect moon.” ~ Mary Oliver

Louie Christel~~~There will never be a sweeter, more perfect soul. We miss you so much, our hearts have big holes, and when we look at the moon, or remember you positioning yourself on the ottoman for a backrub, or surveying the hayfields, or following the UPS truck for a biscuit, or running with Jesse, or nudging at a rock shifting below the dock, or resting yourself in the shady, cool sand grasses, we will love you.  Thank you for being in our lives.

Travis Walker Paints “En Plein Air” in GTNP

“Everywhere I’ve ever been, my art has been about that place,” says Walker. “I remember most powerfully the places I’ve painted and drawn. The act of recording them makes me remember.” ~ Travis Walker

Hip, happening Jackson Hole artist and entrepreneur Travis Walker will give a free plein air painting demonstration on Saturday, July 14th, 2012, 9:00 am – Noon, at Grand Teton National Park’s Willow Flats Turnout, overlooking Mt. Moran and the Oxbow Bend vista. Get up early and catch Walker where we rarely get to see him: painting those glowing, transluscent landscapes. Here in Jackson, the arts community has come to know Walker’s work so well. His paintings are unmistakable, and his profile as an artist continues to grow.  For his demonstration Walker has chosen one of the Park’s most scenic spots—the vista overlooking Mount Moran is recognized around the world. Moran’s peak is reflected in the Snake River, winding through the area. Oxbow Bend is also a very good place to view wildlife~~the earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to see blue herons, bears, moose, eagles, ospreys….you get the picture. In fact, take LOTS of pictures.

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