5000 Miles of perfect weather, scenic beauty, and the whole family to share it with. We left Salida at the end of July for Driggs, ID for their inaugural plein air open event across Teton Pass from Jackson Hole, WY. When we arrived we were given a quick tour of the area by the event director, Julie Robinson. The area was stunning, a painters paradise for sure. I kept remarking that Driggs seamed like a sister city to Salida in that there was a substantial river running through the bottoms of the valley, mountain backdrops, a ski area similar in size, vertical drop, and distance to Monarch Ski Area and a thriving recreational tourism economy. Julie had done a phenomenal job of organizing this event and the town seemed to really welcome the artists to their area. I taught a quick two day workshop which went nicely as I got accustomed to the new surroundings.
We, of course, had the casita camper trailer in tow and we bounced around the valley. We stayed in full hookup campgrounds every 5th day or so to dump and restock, otherwise we were off the grid and up one of the many wonderful watersheds coming out of the Teton Mountain Range. We spent about 9 days in the area crossing Teton Pass a couple of times and spending some time also in Teton National Park. In the park, we rented a canoe on Jenny Lake and had a blast with Madison helping paddle around the shores. We hiked up Cascade Canyon, Hidden Falls, and Inspiration Point. Also while in the area, we went to go see the Carl Rungius show of his larger wildlife paintings and field study paintings at the National Wildlife Art Museum outside of Jackson Hole. I got a kick out of getting in to his head a bit and seeing his outdoor studies. Bob Kuhn stole the show though with his energetic draftsmanship and technique, I thought. I’m a new big fan of Bog Kuhn’s acrylic paintings of wildlife and was especially surprised to see some African wildlife depicted also in his body of work. While spending some time in Jackson, I approached Mountain Trails Gallery there on the square. They ended up taking about 7 paintings and I will now be represented in Jackson Hole by them.
Driggs treated me well with Scott Christensen giving me a 1st place prize in Oils, getting a People’s Choice and Artist’s Choice for my body of work, and People’s Choice in the Quick Draw!! Be on the lookout for my half page advertisement in Southwest Art Magazine which was part of the win!!
Below is the body of work from Driggs, ID (but don’t stop there, read on for the rest of the trip below the Driggs body of work):
From Teton National Park, we spent a couple of days in Yellowstone touring the geysers, hot pools, and waterfalls. We spent a day at the Old Faithful geyser and area so that Maddie could see that icon. Be on the lookout this winter for some paintings done of this amazing National Park.
From Yellowstone we drove along the Clarks Fork River in southwest Montana, through Idaho’s panhandle to Washington. Across Washington on the HWY 20 was spectacular. Eastern Washington reminded me a lot of Colorado, until we arrived at Northern Cascade National Park which at that time of year (dry season) was hard to beat. The park was incredibly vertical with river sized waterfalls at every bend, falling through a lush rain forest. I’d never seen such a wilderness and was taken by it immediately. We spent about 4 days in Northern Cascade National Park hiking and barely scratching the surface of the offering before we needed to move on the the coastal regions.
I participated in the Plein Air Painter’s US Open show held through the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island, and needed to check in to the school for the event. There were a couple of artists up there I’d met in their travels through CO earlier in the year. Alfred Currier, and Anne Schreivogl were welcoming as well as one of the locals on Whidbey Island, James Moore.
As far as the Plein Air Painters US Open show goes, I definitely feel it could use a little help. There were a couple of major problems in addition to a very uncommitted feel from the director, Lisa Bernhardt. For one, the sale happened at James Moore’s house which was very nice and accommodating, and a ton of work putting up faux walls and lights, but very exclusive also, and I felt for this reason hurt the attendance. Also there was the kiss of death where only three paintings could be shown and changed out when one sold. This is difficult for an outsider because they don’t necessarily know what kind of scene is in favor or what to pick to hang on the wall. This can be easily dealt with if there is a back room for people to mill through the other paintings created for the show. But there was not space or desire for this as someone might actually do more sales than someone else (heaven forbid) and an ego could be crushed along the way. There was also a minimum price of 400.00 in order to “train” the buyers the worth of original work. This is absolutely preposterous. You can not train a buyer any more than you can change the market. People have or have not the means to buy artwork. If they like a painting and the price is right, they will purchase but these minimums on price are only in place to protect artists that have their work priced too high, bottom line…period. It’s pathetic really. Anyway, about 12 paintings sold on the sale evening and 5 were mine… so get out your notebooks people and take notes on how a really good event takes place. Or not, and continue to put together a mediocre ego-fest as you wish. Not that I would get invited back given this scathing review, but I will not be going back to that event. I will say that the paintability of the area was phenomenal, and with or without an event, I will be back up there to paint more!! Below is the body of work from Washington and Oregon.
From Whidbey Island, WA we crossed Puget Sound to Port Townsend and continued our trip to the Pacific Ocean. We spent a night in the Forks area where we took some hiking trips to the beaches around Lapush and also the Hoh Rainforest. Some incredible painting and site-seeing ensued through our coastal route. We stopped again near Cannon Beach, OR and spent a couple of nights in the area. One of the hi-lights to this Northern Oregon Coast, was Smuggler’s Cove. Simply incredible!! After the dunes of the central coast, we headed back east on our way back to CO. A great trip, and I think we had two afternoons and one morning of rain!!