“This pairing, RMPAP and the GTA, is so special to me. Grand Teton National Park is a monument to the majesty and fragility of the natural world. Getting to capture that beauty with other artists I admire and respect, all for the benefit of the park I love – what an honor and a treat!” – Jennifer Hoffman
So many lovers of plein air painting, artists, fans and the very fine representatives of Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton Association (GTA) have been looking forward to this: The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP) return to Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) this month to present “Plein Air for the Park 2013: National Paint Out & Show.” July 8-21, 2013, over 40 of the country’s most distinguished, recognized plein air painters gather in GTNP and the Jackson Hole area to execute countless free plein air demonstrations, a Quick Draw at Menor’s Ferry, and put on a highly anticipated three-day “wet painting” show and sale at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitors Center in Moose, Wyoming.
Participating Jackson Hole artists include “poster artist” Erin C. O’Connor (it is her portrayal of Mt. Moran gracing RMPAP promotional materials), Kathryn Mapes Turner, Jennifer L. Hoffman and Bill Sawczuck. Each RMPAP artist will create myriad new plein air works; selected paintings will be exhibited and offered for sale in the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor’s Center (CTDC) beginning July 15th. This year’s Show & Sale Opening Reception takes place at CTDC on Thursday, July 18th, beginning at 7:00 pm. Awards will be presented by this year’s judge, Chris Moran. As they did last year, 40% of proceeds benefit GTA, supporting that organization’s educational, interpretive and scientific programs.
“This exhibition is celebrating Grand Teton National Park through art. Plein air painting captures the spirit of a place at a moment in time,” says Turner. “The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters are a committed, highly skilled group of artists who work hard to bring the essence of this valley to light. The result is a stunning show that benefits the Park and all who love it.”
Last year’s event, a spectacular success, raised significant funds for GTA, introduced new artists to the GTNP region, and introduced plein air collectors to new artists. The extended residency also underlines each artist’s great talent; the number of new, exquisite works depicting this region’s beauty were astounding. All RMPAP events are free, and open to the public, including July 18th’s opening reception! The setting couldn’t be better, spirits could not be higher, and the party—which includes participating artists—is charged with excitement! Oh, and then there’s the fine food and drink…An announcement of awards begins at 7:45 pm.
The late, great plein air artist Greg McHuron, who was a member of RMPAP, passed away last year. His contribution to plein air painting in this region cannot be over-estimated. July 18th’s sale and celebration will include a tribute to McHuron, and a special space will be dedicated to the man and his work. It is bittersweet, says RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz, that this is the first time McHuron won’t be with his colleagues and friends in the field. Giving back to the Park is a wonderfully appropriate way to honor McHuron’s life and principles.
“It is always a pleasure to return to Grand Teton National Park. It is a painter’s paradise, and we have enjoyed a warm welcome from the Grand Teton Association, the Park, and the community. I am really looking forward to seeing what our artists come up with this year,” says Datz.” “Though the Park’s grandeur is obviously appealing, I think many of us will also be exploring it a little more deeply, attempting to bring its subtler charms to life in our work. I anticipate a very exciting show.”
A great number of RMPAP events take place between July 8th and July 21st. They are:
Saturday, July 13th, RMPAP joins the Grand Teton Association’s “Artists in the Environment” program for a 3-hour painting demonstration at Oxbow Bend, GTNP. Times are 2:00-5:00 pm. Participating artists are RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz, Kathryn Mapes Turner and Jeanne MacKenzie. The artists will also conduct an informal Q&A session during their demonstration. Look for the “Artists Demonstration” banner!
A Quick Draw takes place Saturday, July 20, beginning at 9:00 am, at Menor’s Ferry in GTNP. The public is invited to watch paintings being created start-to-finish and may purchase paintings at the Quick Draw fixed-price sale immediately following, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.
Scheduled artists demonstrations take place July 13th to July 19th. A full listing of those demonstrations may be found here. Artists will be painting at Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake Lodge, Oxbow Bend, Taggart Lake, the Jackson Hole Visitor’s Center and the CTDC. Throughout their visit, RMPAP artists may also be spotted just about anywhere in GTNP, so keep your eyes peeled!
Monday, July 15th, paintings will be available to preview at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitors Center. Works are available for sale beginning July 15th; the Opening Gala & Reception takes place at the Visitors Center on Thursday, July 18th, beginning at 7:00 pm. The show remains up through July 21st, when the event comes to a close.
Datz points out that the term “plein air” derives from the French “en plein air,” which translates as “in open air.” Our current usage of the term originated with the Impressionists, he notes, though the technique traces its origins back to the seventeenth century.
“In their quest to capture the effects of outdoor light and seasonal weather, the Impressionists insisted that only through careful observation coupled with working on location, in the moment they were observing, could they hope to accurately render effects of light and weather,” says Datz. “This ideal remains the central premise of plein air painting. Just working out of doors is not enough – observation is the key element of the plein air method. Artists must experience their subject directly – the information they translate into their painting comes in real time, with no intervening or distorting implements. It is a discipline firmly rooted in seeing and hearing, breathing the air, feeling the weather, and channeling all those immediate sensations to the canvas. The best plein air works show us more than just the visual truth and beauty of a place – they give us a sense of what it felt like being there in the moment.”
A full list of participating artists is available at Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painter’s website: http://www.rmpap.org/national_show/
“Hair on fire mode!”
That’s how pastel artist Jennifer L. Hoffman was thinking as she contemplated opening her new show of new works at Trio Fine Art right in the middle of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters’ events—which she’s also deeply involved with as an artist and organizer. How she pulled that straw, I’ll never know! Hoffman is also a mom living south of Jackson, which means her life these days is about as hectic as it gets.
But knowing this artist, she’ll pull it off beautifully. With each show her art is more lovely, filled with a sense of inner calm and peace…and a surety of place…and never invaded by telltale signs that her hair may be on fire. In fact, the idea for this show, titled “Renewal,” springs from John Muir: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike,” wrote Muir. (The Yosemite, 1912).
The show’s title piece is a 24×24 inch pastel, ‘Renewal,’ and it is the largest plein air painting Hoffman has attempted.
“The balsamroot in Hoback this spring was absolutely outrageous,” she says. “The hillside in the painting looks like the folds of drapery, and this spring the red dirt, sagebrush and golden balsamroot created a breathtaking yet subtle combination I couldn’t resist painting.”
She is a plein air artist. In thinking about her work, I am also thinking about headlines I’ve read declaring a “plein air craze” is grabbing the valley. It’s not sudden infiltration, it’s only that this very special painting practice, for over a hundred years a sacred and pure art form in this region, is now considered cool. Of course it’s cool! Artists like Hoffman and her colleagues—painters and drawers who can presently be counted in multiple generations—have rarely done anything else.
Hoffman’s the real deal. Since first seeing her work I’ve considered it special. Smoke’s effect on the atmosphere does play a role in this show; a fire had grown so large Hoffman felt compelled to capture it. Painting on location south of Pinedale, Hoffman noticed air “thick with the smell of smoke, and everything was illuminated in this orange glow. It was other-worldly.” Fire, she says, is also a point of renewal for the land. Her work is prayerful, romantic, dream-like, and speaks to our soul. Her craftsmanship is impeccable, her mixing and use of color sublime; each of her works is as layered and technically sophisticated as any you will see.
“Renewal” opens at Trio Fine Art on Wednesday, July 10th, with an opening reception for the artist at the gallery on Thursday, July 11th, 5-8:00 pm. www.triofineart.com http://www.jlhoffmanfineart.com/545930/renewal-7-10-7-27-2013/