Plein Air in Grand Teton National Park

Detail of John Scott, Plein Air in the Park

Detail of John Scott, Plein Air in the Park

What do you get when you cross a magical setting with those who are able to dispense magic via pigment? The 4th Annual Plein Air in the Park event!

In partnership with the Grand Teton Association and the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, both local and visiting artists tramp into the superlative outdoors of Grand Teton National Park to set up their easels and hearken back to the authentic tradition of open air “wet painting.” These painters got started in the area on July 6, and tomorrow, July 15, a selection of their work will be displayed at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center in Moose, WY. If you’re looking to add a truly one-of-a-kind memento of Jackson Hole to your collection, this is a wonderful place to start. Even better, 40% of the profits from all painting sales directly benefit the Grand Teton Association and their admirable free educational, interpretive, and scientific programs in the national park.

Kathryn Mapes Turner painting in Grand Teton National Park.

Kathryn Mapes Turner painting in Grand Teton National Park.

Our publisher, Latham Jenkins, recently made it into the field to observe these artists in action–truly, en plein air. First, he spoke with artist John Cook of Louisville, TX, who is a 2013 recipient of Best in Show honors from the American Impressionist Society. A first-time participant in the show, he says he’s “Never seen such beauty,” when contemplating the Tetons. As the light shifted over the course of the day, he painted 10 separate paintings on the same canvas.

We also caught up with the always-eloquent Kathryn Mapes Turner, whom we’ve profiled on the blog before. Represented by Trio Fine Art, Turner has a new show opening there on July 29th called “Here. Now.” Hear her thoughts and learn more about the way that Plein Air in the Park catalyzes artistic inspiration and philanthropy in our beloved backyard.

Mark Your July Calendars for “My Thin Place”

In our One Work blog post last autumn, we had the pleasure of speaking to Kathryn Mapes Turner regarding two of her large-scale paintings. We are now excited to spread the word about her upcoming show, “My Thin Place,” coming to Jackson this July. Kathryn very eloquently shares the impetus behind the show, and the concept of a “thin place” below. Read, enjoy, and be sure to catch the exhibition!

painting by Kathryn Mapes Turner

“Emergence of Fall”

A Thin Place
The title of this exhibition is derived from a Celtic term referring to a place where the boundary between the material world and the spiritual world is particularly thin. For Turner, the Greater Yellowstone Wilderness is a “thin place.”

Kathryn Turner had the good fortune of being born into a fourth generation ranching family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This ranch, located within what is now Grand Teton National Park, enjoys one of the most direct views of the Teton mountain range. Turner says, “Each day, for as long as I remember, I was greeted by those mountains. They are, in a very real way, a part of me. Early on, I felt the urge to find a way to express my passion for this ecosystem, and imagery became my lexicon for this song of appreciation. Ever since, I have devoted my craft to doing justice to the beauty of this landscape.

In belonging to a landscape in this way, I feel a rightness, an at-homeness where I am knitted to the world. This rootedness allows me to be present to what is- a practice the Buddhists refer to as mindfulness, and the contemplative Christians call recollection, and the Quakers call centering down. For me this experience is lived tactically where my nerve endings are bare against the land. As I take in the magnificence and scale of this landscape, I am moved beyond myself. I refer to the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem as my ‘thin place.’

This collection of paintings is about this relationship with the landscape. Rather than photo-realistic depictions, they are interpretations and impressions of what I experience when I am in the natural world. It is my hope that, for the viewer, the paintings are themselves a quiet meeting place between internal emotion and external stimuli, a meeting place of the material and non-material.”

Turner’s work has been recognized nationally by many top awards including “Best of Show” at the American Impressionist Society and the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Association. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Wyoming State Museum and the Charlie Russell Museum. SouthWest Art recognized Turner as “21 Young Artists with Promising Careers.”

Show Details:

“My Thin Place”
An Artist Exhibits Paintings Inspired by the Spirit of the Landscape
Trio Fine Art hosts an unprecedented exhibition of paintings by Kathryn Mapes Turner.

• July 9-26th, 2014
• Artist Reception July 17th 5-8 p.m., FREE and open to the public.
• Gallery hours Wednesday-Saturday noon-6 p.m.
• Exhibition can be viewed online at Trio Fine Art after July 5th, 2014

View22 Exhibition Opens This Week at Trio Fine Art!

Don’t miss the opening of View22 this Friday at Trio Fine Art! An opening reception for the show will be held from 5 to 8 pm on Friday, December 6th at Trio Fine Art, 545 North Cache, Jackson, WY (4 blocks north of the Town Square), with artists’ remarks at 6 pm.

The show will feature works from the View22: Painting Jackson Hole’s Open Spaces project, an inspired collaboration between the Jackson Hole Land Trust and Trio Fine Art launched this summer. The goal of View22 is to unite land conservation and the arts to cultivate a deeper sense of place in Jackson Hole. The project draws inspiration from artist Thomas Moran, whose paintings of the rugged beauty of the Yellowstone region captured the imagination of the country – and Congress – and played an important role in the establishment of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

“As full-time landscape painters in Jackson Hole, we have a vital interest in the preservation of open space within our valley. It is the natural beauty found in wide open spaces that inspires our creativity. Through sharing our interpretations of the landscape, we hope to shine a spotlight on the importance of conservation efforts made possible by the Jackson Hole Land Trust,” said Kathryn Turner, Jennifer Hoffman, and Bill Sawczuk, the artists of Trio Fine Art.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2013, Kathryn Turner, Jennifer Hoffman, and Bill Sawczuk visited an iconic Land Trust protected property in the valley each week to paint “en plein air” and raise awareness of the importance of open space protection for the valley’s wildlife, community, and landscape artists. These experiences have been shared on the interactive View22 blog along with photos and histories of the properties, and with the community through several plein air demonstrations.


“We continue to be honored by the incredible commitment that these artists have shown to the View22 project,” said Laurie Andrews, executive director of the Jackson Hole Land Trust. “Through their deep understanding of how the valley’s protected open spaces affect their daily lives, and their talent and creativity, they’ve shown us all a very special view of our work.”

Eighteen Land Trust protected properties have been painted on location as part of the project. Finished works from these painting sessions will be on display at the Trio Fine Art gallery from December 6th through the 21st and online at Trio Fine Art and at Jackson Hole Land Trust after December 4th.

A new opportunity for watching the View22 artists in action has been added for this December at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The artists plan to paint the sweeping view from the top of the Bridger Gondola, from which over 20 Land Trust protected properties can be seen. Stay tuned for more details by early December.

A portion of the proceeds from the View22 show will benefit the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Please visit the View22 website or contact the Trio Fine Art Gallery at 307.734.4444 for more information about the show and opening reception.

About the Jackson Hole Land Trust
The Jackson Hole Land Trust is a private, non-profit organization that was established in 1980 to preserve open space and the critical wildlife habitat, magnificent scenic vistas, and historic ranching heritage of Jackson Hole. By working cooperatively with the owners of the area’s privately owned open lands, the Jackson Hole Land Trust has ensured the permanent protection of over 23,000 acres in and around Jackson Hole and the Greater Yellowstone Area.

About Trio Fine Art
Celebrating their seventh season, Trio Fine Art is a collaboration between three Jackson- based artists – Kathryn Mapes Turner, Jennifer L. Hoffman, and Bill Sawczuk. All three are deeply committed to depicting the landscape of the area through fine art. All three artists gain an intimate understanding of the land by working “en plein air” or on location all through the year. By working together, they have been able to earn the distinction of being one of Jackson’s most celebrated galleries specializing in landscape painting.


One Work

In this new series on the Homestead blog, we sit back and let Jackson Hole’s creative professionals become the storytellers. Each One Work blog entry is focused on the genesis, production, and meaning behind one significant local piece. During our conversations with artists, designers, and other creatives, we invite you to learn more about craftsmanship and the artistic process. Discover what it takes to make One Work.

Impact

Impact

Walk into the Trio Fine Art gallery and there they are: two towering, silvery canvases dominating an entire slender wall. The paired aspens paintings, Cathedral 1 & Cathedral 2, stop one right in one’s tracks.

“Are they meant to be a pair?”

Apparently, Kathryn Mapes Turner gets this question a lot. We’re in the gallery she co-owns with Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuk, and as she relays the story of how these two stunning works moved from concept to finished paintings, we sip tea and stare upwards, focused in on the flecks of ghostly paint.

Each painting has been composed on the monumental scale of 4×8 feet, and although, in fact, they do not have to be sold as a diptych, their effect together certainly adds to the drama of the wall.

Turner mainly paints plein air canvases and field studies, which necessarily call for a smaller space capable of recording the transitory impressions of nature. She notes that working from her studio allows for more interpretation and the ability to change the scale—in this case, to a soaring eight feet.

Kathryn Turner stands to the left, explaining her process.

Kathryn Turner stands to the left, explaining her process.

In a fashion, Cathedrals 1 & 2 follow a progression of working styles for Turner, who is a life-long painter and local—she grew up on the Triangle X Ranch, one of the oldest continuously operating ranches in Jackson Hole. She herself began with watercolors, which she says “taught [her] the aspect of spontaneity.” In the delicate interplay between water and the tincture of pigment, skill and happy accident find the ideal marriage.

“It’s almost a dance you have with the paint.”

As Turner transitioned to working in oil paints and the larger window of work time they allowed, a premium paper company called Arches began producing a new paper on a large scale. Struck by the notion of combining two separate yet equally rewarding painting approaches, Turner’s thoughts turned to a large canvas, the largest she’d ever painted. She decided to approach this oil painting more like a watercolor, and yet still painting in oil, she’d have more time to experiment. Oil is also the longer-wearing medium, allowing the dual canvases to take shape through a combination of ephemeral brushstrokes and more lasting swirls.

Details

Looking closely at the canvas, one immediately notices its uniquely textured backdrop and almost charcoal metallic hue. This texture came about from embracing just a little bit of chaos. First, Turner mixed up big buckets of paint with heavy doses of water. At this point, she allowed the paint to drip down the entire length of both canvases. As the force of gravity pulled the paint downwards, the pigments of the paint separated and reacted with the watery solvent. “The fun happens when you let the paint do its thing,” Turner says. It’s a sense of adventure and “wait and see” that she brought to the entire project.

What led to the unique titles of Cathedrals 1 & 2? “When I’m in an aspen grove, I feel like I’m in a cathedral. I was driven to do something that would have that same feeling.” The subject also dictated the height of the dual pieces. Aspens are Turner’s favorite trees, and their vertical elegance was a feeling she wanted to duplicate in the impact of her paintings. “I wanted to make them more tree-like.”

The constellations and disturbance of the paint splotches one can observe when up- close-and-personal with the canvases also came about from allowing the paint to drip. While she painted the Cathedrals, Turner had both canvases laid out flat on the floor. A little dripping was inevitable, and quite beautiful.

Up Close

“Process is what teaches us what we need to know,” Turner says.

In terms of process, the framing of Cathedrals 1 & 2 proved the trickiest and most demanding aspect of the creation. The stark black float frames are sold with the pieces, and are designed so that the edges do not obscure any part of the actual painting. These visibly rough and torn edges add even more delightful texture and visual interest to the two ethereal paintings. Attaching the long, thin canvases to the backboard meant dabbling in permanent glue, so there was quite literally only one chance to get the alignment right. With a team of friends and a lot of research, Turner attempted—and succeeded—in the difficult framing.

Edges

Edges

It was all worth it, too, as the lack of glass dispels any separation between the paintings and the viewer. As Turner knows, these are the sort of works that beg to be scrutinized; often viewers even put out a tentative hand to touch them, catching themselves and stopping before going any further.

She’s glad of the varying reactions and inquiries she’s received regarding the paintings so far, explaining that, “when art inspires different reactions it makes it more compelling.”

As for Turner, she knows these two singular paintings are something that can’t be replicated—not by look or feel or the many serendipitous experiments that led to their completion. For everyone who sees them, whether once or repeatedly, they are pieces with their own place in time, history, and experience. Landscape painters know well the ineffable and mutable subject that endlessly fascinates them.

“I could never do this again,” Turner laughs. “That’s what art is.”

Visit Cathedrals 1 & 2 yourself during the upcoming View 22 event hosted by Trio Fine Art on Dec. 6 from 5-8pm. You can also contact Kathryn Mapes Turner at kathryn@turnerfineart.com and view samples of her other work at Turner Fine Art.