Photos courtesy of Jill Baldauf and Mimi King
This particular day was a true treat for a few reasons. First, the Trio artist for the week was Bill Sawczuk and he was in fine form, even more hilarious than the last time. Second, the historic Hardeman Barns located in Wilson (which now houses the Teton Raptor Center) are – for lack of a better word – awesome. Third, I was joined by Leslie Steen and Jill Baldauf from the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Jill also brought her parents, Jan and Tom Baldauf, who were visiting from California. I soon learned that the reason Jill brought her mother and father was because Tom is also an artist – and Jan had been an docent at the San Diego Museum! Being an abstract painter, Tom’s work is quite different from the landscapes that Bill paints, but that did not seem to discourage any of his interest in every aspect of the outing. Lucky for me, these two men are both great teachers and were more than happy to share all their knowledge of painting. I sat back in the hot July sun and soaked it all in.
Bill and Tom talked in terms that were unfamiliar to me but a very familiar language to both of them , pausing occasionally to point out what was going “behind the scenes” as Bill was painting. Bill explained to Tom about the common color factor that he implements in all of his paintings, just as he had done for me in the last painting session. However, this time Bill used the word alizarin crimson to define this unifying color to Tom, instead of the simple “barn red” he had told me at the Rocking H. I have so much to learn!
Bill also explained how to avoid the “tv screen effect” when plein air painting, which is to have something in back of the canvas. This helps with accuracy when finding a color, because the sun isn’t able to light up the canvas like a television screen. Tom understood the techniques that Bill was using on a much higher level than me, and I loved every bit of information he shared as well. Together, Bill and Tom helped me understand what was going on in Bill’s head as he painted the barn, from vanishing points to roofline highlights to shadows and how to paint a silver roof without silver paint (it’s actually a very light shade of blue).In between the mini art lessons, Bill and Tom kept me laughing with quips about painting. I could not have asked for a better pair of teachers.
To enlighten anyone like myself who was unfamiliar with the history of the Hardeman Barns, there was a “Conservation Property” sign along the road that told the story of how the Barns and nearby meadows were protected by the Land Trust and a big community effort in the late 80s, and that the Land Trust had bought the property and the hay fields across the highway as part of this. On our way out, I stopped into the Raptor Center office, curious about their role in the community, and found out that they are a non-profit organization dedicated to the education, conservation, rescue, and rehabilitation of the raptors in the valley. To learn more about their work, visit https://www.tetonraptorcenter.org!