Karns Meadow Painting Session – September 14, 2014

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a deep longing for a sense of place in my life. This is a strong theme in my art. To feel connected to a town, a street, a house. I’m painting today in Karns Meadow, where the Karns family once homesteaded through brutal winters in the depression era. I love to paint these old places and think about the memories they have held. This grassy meadow was once a sprawling ranch, a home to several generations of the Karns family. Now all that’s left is a few irrigation ditches and bits of old ranch machinery. Symbols of the modern Jackson Hole, including a beautiful solar panel array, power station, and Walmart-sized Start Bus barn are the main features I see now.

I would love to paint the solar array someday. For now, I choose the vibrant green, red, and yellow of the grassy field. In the distance, the hazy sky has blurred the mountains into a soup of purple and blue forms, perfect conditions for my work.

Normally, I’m all alone out here when I am painting. But today, about an hour in, a neighbor at the edge of the park walks up to me. The woman tells me that I’m standing in what was a field of dandelions in the springtime. Her family collected all of the dandelions and made wine with it, would I like some? I don’t drink, but am too embarassed to turn her down. People in this valley are so resourceful. Making wine from weeds!

Travis Walker