Cross my heart and can’t wait to do it again, one of the great highlights of my 2012 arts summer was the culmination of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters’ (RMPAP) “Plein Air for the Park” National Paint-Out & Show. Last July, approximately 40 plein air artists converged in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) and the Jackson Hole area, painting their hearts out for two weeks. All paintings completed were exhibited and sold in a three-day event at GTNP’s Craig Thomas Discovery Center (CTDC), in Moose, Wyoming.
The place was PACKED. And there are those who missed last year’s event still notifying me they wish they’d been there. Recently, a senior Park employee confided to me that the Park, as a collective, loved the event. It all went off so beautifully that RMPAP is returning this summer, July 8 – 21st, 2013. The event benefits GTNP and is hosted by the Park and the Grand Teton Association (GTA). This year’s opening reception, at the CTDC, takes place Thursday, July 18th, beginning at 7pm. Awards will be presented at 7:45 by this year’s Judge, Chris Moran.
A Quick Draw takes place Saturday, July 20th, beginning at 9:00am, at Menor’s Ferry in GTNP. The public can watch paintings being created from start to finish; they then may purchase paintings right off the easel at the fixed-price sale immediately following, 11am – 12 noon. Approximately 44 professional, recognized artists will participate in this, RMPAP’s 12th Annual National Show.
The GTA began collecting works of art on behalf of the Park over 50 years ago; the collection has become a valuable part of GTNP’s legacy. Last year, two works were purchased by GTA for the Park’s permanent collection; two more were purchased by patrons and donated to the Park. AND, last year’s event raised close to $21,000 for GTA!
“It is a thrill and a pleasure to be back in GTNP and working with Grand Teton Association again this year,” says RMPAP President (and participating artist) Stephen C. Datz. “We welcome the opportunity to continue the artistic tradition at the Park, expand public awareness and appreciation of plein-air painting, and in so doing benefit the exceptional efforts of the GTA on behalf of the Park.”
Additionally, GTA’s annual summer plein air program Artists In The Environment will “merge” with RMPAP this year, on Saturday, July 13th, at a location and time TBD. Up to five artists will gather at a location in GTNP to offer painting demonstrations and an informal panel discussion and Q&A session. As always, look for that bright, colorful “Artists Demonstration” banner!
I’ll add that this event, these people, and the spirit behind this special two weeks of painting outdoors will always remind me of Greg McHuron, who embodied the best of plein air. We miss him immensely.
Those of you who know me that my abiding love for these programs….well, it abides. When I first moved to Jackson Hole, I never thought I’d end up knowing more about Western art and our region’s tradition of plein air painting than I do about almost all other schools of art. But I do, and it’s among my life’s happiest surprises and great satisfactions.
Artwork, in order of appearance:
Image of Aspens ~ “Light’s Dance,” by Kathryn Mapes Turner, oil, 12 x 9 in. Winner (in a two-way tie), Artists’ Choice Award, Best Painting.
Image of Stream, Early Morning ~ “Greeting the Dawn,” by Stephen C. Datz, oil, 8 x 12 in. Winner, Grand Teton Association Board of Directors Award, now part of the GTNP Permanent Collection.
Image of Mt. Moran ~ “And Evening Ensues,” by Erin O’Connor, oil, 14 x 18 in. Winner of the GTNP Superintendent’s Award and now part of the GTNP Permanent Collection.