Tag Archives: Plein Air Painting

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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View22 is 36! Tiny Preview, Jackson Hole Art Auction

Lee Riddell's "View 22: Open Studio Art" painting, "Summer Sky, R Park."

Lee Riddell’s “View 22: Open Studio Art” painting, “Summer Sky, R Park.”

“I love being a part of the View22 project – where the creation of art is both inspired by and contributes to the protection of wildlife habitat and open space for all to enjoy. As a landscape painter, being out on these properties emphasizes for me the importance of preserving these lands forever.” ~ View22 artist Lee Riddell

Since it’s inception, “View22,” an arts-inspired fundraiser for the Jackson Hole Land Trust, has been wildly successful. This is the second year local artists create works, sharing their own experiences outside, “open studio” style, at dedicated Land Trust locations to celebrate the organization’s 36th anniversary.

Bronwyn Minton, for "View22"

Bronwyn Minton, for “View22”

Green flags marking “open studio” locations are up now through August 14th. Locations include  the Hardeman Barn, Hardeman North, Wilson Centennial Ponds, Wilson Wetlands Trail, R Park, Emily’s Pond, Spring Creek Ranch, Rock Springs at JHMR, Karns Meadow, Flat Creek Corridor, South Park Service Center, Hatchet Meadows, and the Indian Springs Swan Ponds. Look for these flags, and you’ll find View22 artists at work, and waiting to talk to any and all visitors about the heart-thumping experience of painting on conservation land. 

Ben Roth's artwork is inspired by Spring Creek Ranch landscape.

Ben Roth’s artwork is inspired by Spring Creek Ranch landscape.

The project concludes with an exhibit and sale at the Land Trust’s 36th Annual Picnic on August 14th, 4-8:00 pm at Fish Creek Ranch in Wilson, WY. Families are welcome, music will play! Tickets are $50 for adults; kids 12 and under are free.

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A Closer Look at Plein Air

Bill Sawczuk, from "A Closer Look."

Bill Sawczuk, from “A Closer Look.”

Why take “a closer look?” What does it mean, relative to plein air painting, to examine the world more closely?

Summer is the season, and Jackson Hole is the place to find out. The summer brings a multitude of artists into the open, where they mingle with wilderness, wildlife and, this year, a blockbuster number of tourists. Like the good people working for the postal service, neither sleet nor snow nor bears eating easels can keep plein air painters from delivering the plein air “mail.”

Plein air painter and partner at Jackson gallery Trio Fine Art, Bill Sawczuk is set to host his summer solo exhibition “A Closer Look.”  The show, says the artist, will explore the [myriad talents] of an experienced eye. In partnership with a well-weilded paintbrush, an artist’s eye may take very close examination at its surrounding beauty.

Sawczuk’s work has been largely traditional, primarily broad landscapes, directly translated. “A Closer Look” searches out what doesn’t immediately catch the eye. Seemingly static scenes change, and Sawczuk wants to see what’s new.

“Old cabins in Grand Teton National Park are picturesque to be sure, but there is more to be seen and felt. [I have] tried to express the loneliness and melancholy [I] feel when describing these cabins in a painting. It can take very little to say a lot, to explore the material, and to convey [my] feelings to the viewer.” says the artist.

Bill Sawczuk at work.

Bill Sawczuk at work.

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Is This Thing On?

Wendell Field. North of Static. Wood Print.

Wendell Field, North of Static. Wood Print.

It is on! Fancy that.

Hello, and welcome back to the Jackson Hole Art Blog, where, this summer, I’ll be working to keep you updated on the arts scene in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Plein air events will be prominent, particularly in July, when the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters return to Grand Teton National Park to paint for two weeks, interact with wildlife, the visiting public and demonstrate their legendary talents.

Jackson’s new artist community continues to grow despite a raging, excruciating housing shortage. The muse is the message, and extracting yourself from your muse is painful. Jackson arts are exploding, and for the most part have beautified and enhanced the area. Creativity includes murals, installations, public art, and the Western art scene continuing to diversify its genres.

The Greg McHuron Memorial Book Project is complete! Contact the Grand Teton Association to order your copy today!

The Greg McHuron Memorial Book Project is complete! Contact the Grand Teton Association to order your copy today!

There is a “creative conundrum’ in play. To my knowledge the most recent, all-inclusive write-up on issues affecting our artists belongs to Planet Jackson Hole, and you can read it here. I posted a response to the article:

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Art Moves; 2014 J.H. Art Auction; Book Art; Callens at Mountain Trails

In a few months I will be moving back to the east coast. Family calls. The length of time I’ll be away is temporary and open-ended. I’m grateful, more than I can express, for the loving, caring and supportive messages I’ve received from so many of you. I carry you all in my heart. Posts may “spread out” for a while as I manage logistics, and the Blog may change its focus or form ~~~ but it’s not disappearing. We’re joined, and we’ll remain joined!  Okay, I might write a poem if I keep on. It wouldn’t be a good poem, so time to write about what’s happening in Jackson!

Clymer, John, (1907-1989), Buffalo Chase, oil on canvas, 10 x 20 inches

Clymer, John, (1907-1989), Buffalo Chase, oil on canvas, 10 x 20 inches

The Jackson Hole Art Auction is rapidly receiving an inventory of fine masterworks to  be auctioned off Saturday, September 14, 2014.  This John Clymer is remarkable! Something about it quickens my pulse. Important artists already represented in this year’s auction: Oscar Berninghaus, John Clymer, Bob Kuhn, Ken Riley and Richard Schmid. Schmid’s diminutive painting of carnations was the surprise star of last year’s auction, selling many times over its estimate. Kuhn’s “Resting Cat”, a 22 x 42 acrylic on board, is estimated at $250,000-$300,000.

“The painting was the last Prix de West entry the artist completed in his lifetime, and was awarded the Major General and Mrs. Don Pittman Wildlife Award,” notes the auction.

Kuhn, Bob, (1920-2007), Resting Cat, acrylic on board, 22 x 42"

Kuhn, Bob, (1920-2007), Resting Cat, acrylic on board, 22 x 42″

Auction Coordinator Jill Callahan emphasizes that the public is welcome to stop by the auction offices to learn more about this year’s event. As always, the auction is seeking fine art consignments; I expect offerings to be welcomed into the summer season. For a complimentary, confidential evaluation please call 866-549-9278, visit www.jacksonholeartauction.com or stop by the offices in Trailside Galleries at 130 East Broadway, Jackson, WY — or 7330 Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ. www.jacksonholeartauction.com

Book cover art by Jane Lavino

Book cover art by Jane Lavino

“The Straw That Broke” is an “environmental thriller” written by Jackson’s Gregory Zeigler; the same author who brought us his recreated tale of Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie.” It’s Steinbeck’s 112th birthday as I write this. The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s own Jane Lavino created the cover art, and it’s awesome! What up, girl?  We need a Lavino exhibition! Promotional copy for Zeigler’s book sums up the plot: “A young scientist and free spirit, Lyn Burke, gets caught up in a battle between ecoterrorists and corrupt public officials over water in the drought-stricken desert Southwest. Lyn’s disappearance causes police officer Susan Brand and private investigator Jake Goddard to rush to her aid. Abduction, deceit, and murder threaten a cataclysm that places the entire region in jeopardy.” 

Wow, I’m thinking “Longmire!” If the book is as good as that TV series, it’s going to have you on the edge of your seat. Congrats to Greg and Jane! Check it out: www.gzeiglerbooks.com

Tammy Callens - Through the Aspen Grove - 36x18" Oil

Tammy Callens – Through the Aspen Grove – 36×18″ Oil

Plein air painter and portraitist Tammy Callens has a show of new works at Mountain Trails Gallery, in Jackson. Callens feels these paintings break new ground for her as an artist. I’ve always been a fan. Her work is romantic, impressionistic, marked by realism and personal. Callens has another quality: she’s humble about her work. I feel her intimate landscapes are some of the most captivating in town.

Callens sparked the idea of  pro-actively inviting children to participate in plein air painting demonstrations. She did this unwittingly, two summers ago during one of our “Artists in the Environment” events in Grand Teton National Park. Callens painted a difficult scene with great skill, and her most ardent admirers were young people visiting the Park, making their own memories by painting the wilderness explored on their summer vacations. It doesn’t get better than that! www.tammycallens.com