Susan Marsh “Early Morning Sun” Watercolor, 2014, 11” x 14” (Susan Marsh)

A group exhibit hanging now through the end of July at the Teton County Library aptly embodies the notion that there is more to art than meets the eye. 

The exhibit features the work of the Teton Plein Air Painters, a group formed seven years ago to support painting “in the open air” through mentoring, critique and companionship.

“We have seen impressive growth,” said Fred Kingwill, a watercolor painter and early member of the group. The weekly, on-location painting sessions and once-a-month critiques provide members with an incentive to keep working, improving and enjoying their art form. The group has grown steadily and now includes 170 artists.

Artists gain much from the pursuit of art in the outdoors with friends. The physical challenge of lugging palette, easel, paint and tools to where the views are is significant. Add the mental challenge of capturing an image and suffusing it with the mood and feeling of the moment and one will find the combined exertion nurtures body, mind and spirit.

This month the Plein Air Painters share the ultimate benefit of their work with the Jackson Hole community in the form of some 40 paintings that transport us to the picturesque rivers, creeks, ranchlands and mountains of Jackson Hole. Some are dramatic, some up close and personal, others whimsical and charming. All of the artists whose work is on display have the ability to convey artistic inspiration.

I have long admired the work of artist Sharon Thomas. Her contribution to this show, created with her partner Fraser Thomas, did not disappoint. By applying oil to linen, she creates a moody and atmospheric landscape. A dramatic stormy sky drips dark oil to the yellow plains below, evocative of rain and the fleeting passage of time. 

Bobbie Miller “At Day’s End” Pastel, 2015, 8” x 8” (Bobbie Miller)

Bobbie Miller’s “At Days End,” also shares the wide Wyoming sky. In this case, Miller uses pastels to capture the range of pinks and blues in an evening sky. The insignificant mountains below fade into darkness, with a hint of lingering sun on a strip of green meadow. It is a bold, strong composition in which you can see the clouds moving across the sky.

Mary Lohuis “Fireweed” Pen and colored pencil, 2019, 6” x 8” (Mary Lohuis)

Citizen naturalist Mary Lohuis’ finely executed botanical paintings remind the viewer of the joy of pausing along a hiking trail to appreciate the marvel of a bright plant that catches the eye. These watercolor and ink renderings are charming.

Artist Susan Marsh in her painting, Early Morning Sun, uses watercolor paints to capture the Teton Range on a frosty winter morning. The painting is alive with muted colors that capture a subtle play of early morning shadows over the peaks. I must say, it’s exceedingly pleasant to experience a sub-zero day in Jackson Hole in the comfort of the cozy gallery at the Teton County Library.

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Seasoned painter Eliot Goss also tackles the Jackson Hole mountain-scape with great success. For “Phelps Lake” he uses a heavy layering of paint and broad directional strokes to convey the majesty of the craggy peaks. In contrast, the glassy shimmer of the lake in the foreground is captured through smooth application of paint using short strokes and the layering and blurring of color. The artist skillfully handles the shadow and reflection of the framing landmasses. Use of thick impasto, a somber palette and broken abstract shapes create a regal mountain scene.

Eliot Goss “Phelps Lake” Oil on board, 2016, 12” x 16” (Eliot Goss)

Teton Plein Air Painters is a community of artists benefiting a community. They invite interested people to join them.

Studio Wyoming Review is supported in part by generous grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources and the Wyoming Arts Council with funding from the Wyoming State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Marylee White

A Wyoming native and 33-year resident of Wilson, Marylee White has worked as a newspaper writer, an arts-based preschool director and an integrated-arts, K-12, program manager. In 2015, the Wyoming Arts...

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