Tag Archives: Painting

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.


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’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


Wild & Precious Life: Post #541


“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, give my heart to all of you. That’s one thing, and after a while I’ll be doing it again. In less than a month I depart Jackson Hole for an extended stay in my New England home. I’ve been reading your emails and resisting my own default button: write a blog post! Surrounded by brown boxes, packing tape, piles and piles of stuff I didn’t know I had, and an ever-shifting list of moving chores, I’ve had to curtail writing about art. 

"Passage #39" - Dan Namhinga. Acrylic on canvas, 84 x72"

I miss it so. I will miss you deeply. You artists, you galleries, you museums and auctions, you wild and crazy fun events, salons, exhibits, Fall Arts Festivals~~~and most of all, the blissful, heavenly days spent out in Grand Teton National Park watching painters capture this beauty~~~feeling so proud to be present. To get to tell the world about your adventures, even as I’m on my own adventure. There’s so much more to learn. This website, together with soaking in the West’s stupendous art histories, has changed my life.


Thank you for your trust and respect. Thank you for allowing me to share with the world (and the world does see!) the power of Jackson Hole art. Once I’ve settled some, I’ll be back to thinking and writing about you.

I’m proud of the Jackson Hole Art Blogsix years old, plus. This is post #541.

971071_575727195817073_81363745_nI know the Blog’s mission is appreciated. It’s the first blog of its kind in Jackson. Most importantly, I love you all and am blessed by your friendship, your support and the countless projects we’ve shared. We started something! I’m grateful for my experiences and affiliations with the Grand Teton Association and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, Artists in the Environment, Greg McHuron, Bert Raynes, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Altamira Fine Art, the Brookover Gallery, Trio Fine Art, Homestead Magazine, our newspapers, Jackson’s Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Hole Art Auction, Wyoming ArtsWyoming Public Media and all Blog sponsors. Each and every artist!

With any luck I’ll pull my head out of the basement and see you in the coming weeks. If we miss one another, you know where to reach me, and I know where to reach you.

Look outside your immediate selves and your generation; rescue whenever possible and appropriate. Volunteer in places and for causes that aren’t “sexy.” Stay honest.

Keep sending your news. Though I can’t write about them for a while, I always want to hear what you’re doing with your wild and precious lives.

Namasté!   ~~~~ Tammy




Wavelengths & Enlightenment


There’s nothing about Jackson art in this post!

Starting off here with a sensitive commentary on the film “Quartet”. Its story line and ensemble acting were so engaging, but the biggest stars of that film were its magnificent trees. So many scenes set amidst extraordinary, historic, spreading ancient oaks and forest. Shelter, sustenance. Their almost imperceivable sounds, whispers.

A friend wrote:

“At times, Tammy, the tree world from the point of view of being in the air among their branches, feeling the ways in which they influence the movement of air and light from above, softening always this space overhead for us on the ground, opens the feeling that collectively trees must be very advanced life forms that have achieved something like enlightenment.”

51SPlPHuYHL._SL500_AA280_Joni Mitchell (listen!) wrote:

“If you’re drivin’ into town with a dark cloud above you/dial in the number who’s bound to love you/oh honey you turn me on, I’m a radio/I’m a country station/I’m a little bit corny/I’m a wildwood flower waving for you/broadcasting tower waving for you…..” 

It’s something about sound and airwaves and the feeling of being connected and collected that made me put those two writings together.

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Culture Front Features Dance; Get In Here & Draw!

Still from "Elusive Stranger” by Hole Dance Films.

Culture Front’s final live event of the season features Jackson’s Hole Dance Films performing artists, delving into “Live Process,” says Culture Front director and moderator Meg Daly. This season-ending event takes place Thursday, October 25, 5:30-7 p.m. at The Rose cocktail lounge. The event is free and open to the public; you must be at or over the age of 21 to attend….this IS a bar, folks!

There’s no Jackson artist getting more media exposure right now than Kathryn Mapes Turner. “Live Process” will take the evening’s audience behind the scenes of the making of a dance film, a project about Turner’s family history, and her legacy as the sole woman in a big ranching family—ultimately, it’s about her connection to place. Phrasing, setting, theme and story create cohesive films–this film has dance at its core. Audience members will have the opportunity to observe a current work-in-progress and offer feedback.

Hole Dance Films specializes in dance film and is a non-profit program of Dancers’ Workshop, artistically directed by Carrie Richer and Kate W. Kosharek.

“This is a different project for us,” Kosharek said. “In the past we have started with a simple concept or abstract idea. With this project we have a more complex approach because it is a documentary of someone’s life.”

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Mark Sunday’s Flower Power; YARD Open House

If you’ve been to Jackson’s Pearl Street Post Office, you know these flowers. You may have also seen them at various other front desks, shops and venues around town. These glowing, hot-colored assemblages feel beamed down, a gift from friendly aliens.

The artist, Mark Sunday, is a Jackson local. I will give Sunday a label: Outsider Artist. He’s not represented by a gallery, his work is scattered about town and, unless you ask, anonymous. Sunday enjoys giving good folks one of his stylized flowers. With the right karma, Sunday’s whimsical flowers and his other work— intricate, imagery-rich sculptural assemblages—will be available in more venues.

His work is all the more remarkable because Sunday has Stargardt’s Disease, a form of macular degeneration; he suggested I title this post “Impaired Vision.” It’s a great title, and Sunday is given to self-mocking humor, but I’d not sleep well referring to Mark Sunday that way. He is, however, legally blind.

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