The View22 painting day at the National Museum of Wildlife Art started with a typical question: “what to paint?”. Most places in our valley almost dictate the painting subject because it is so outstanding that one is compelled to paint it. The Museum environs demand a different painting solution. Even though the panoramic views at the Museum are outstanding, trying to focus in on one area presents a problem in composition because the artist must capture the beauty of one area that does not, in itself, contain a predominant feature. There are aspen groves, grassy hillsides, rock outcroppings and far away vistas that might be subjects, but the artist must enhance the local interest and beauty of these areas to grab the viewer’s interest.
On this day, the View22 artists had been invited to be a part of the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s “Art in Action” program, an art outreach program for the Museum’s summer visitors. Four of us were in attendance – me, Jennifer Hoffman (also from Trio Fine Art), Kay Northup, and Travis Walker, and we set up shop along the Sculpture Trail and each used our own unique approach to finding a “painting solution.” Leslie Steen from the Land Trust was also set up at a table to let folks know about our View22 project – and the new, 181-acre Land Trust easement on East Gros Ventre Butte above and around the Museum that had been protected last November.
I chose to paint the rock outcroppings above the Museum, on the newly-protected land. The problem here was to paint the height and thrust of the rocks as a powerful counterforce to the slope of the hillside below. I don’t know if I succeeded, so I will leave that up to the viewer – but needless to say, the protection of this portion of wild area above the Museum will continue to offer a glimpse of the overwhelming beauty that is worth preserving in our valley.