So far, I think this magical evening at the Spring Creek Ranch has been my favorite painting outing – I was able to spend time with Trio artist Jennifer Hoffman, meet some amazing people involved with the Jackson Hole Land Trust, and experience an unbelievable view!
To get there, I drove up Spring Gulch, past the open meadows of the Hansen Ranch (where Kathryn painted earlier in the summer), and up the winding road to the Spring Creek Ranch, not knowing quite what to expect. Parking at the Spring Creek Ranch hotel, a shuttle waited for Jennifer and I and other guests of the Land Trust to take us up all the way to a scenic and protected open space at the very top of the ridge overlooking the Elk Refuge, Town, and places far beyond. The Land Trust was having a special event for their Open Space Council members to fill them in on news and projects, and let them experience our View22 project with their own eyes – so we had an audience for the evening.
Jennifer found a point just a few steps downhill from the event to get set up. Her specialty is oil pastels, so her palette looked more like a rainbowed gradient of chalk than the distinct dabs of oil paint that I was used to seeing with Bill and Kathryn. From here, we were able to see everything in all directions – truly a one-of-a-kind view of Jackson. It made me feel like I was on top of the world! My perception of Jackson has definitely been redefined by this experience – who knew Flat Creek was so extensive, so meandering?
I took a few pictures, but they barely do the landscape or the sky any justice. You could see clouds gathering and sweeping down throughout the valley, but where we were, the sun was out, weaving its way among shadows created by the dramatic cloudscapes around us. I am not sure how they do it, but artists like Jennifer have a special knack for capturing the entire atmosphere of the place they are painting. The task of painting the incredible view and the magic light of the evening did not seem to faze her one bit – and the group of admirers watching her as she worked and asking her curious questions didn’t either! Of course, the atmosphere we had that evening would not be possible without the Land Trust’s dedication to protecting the open spaces of the valley – something that Jennifer expressed to the group when she said a few words about View22 and how important these open spaces are to her and her daughter. I continue to be amazed at how many of the beautiful things I see each day are a result of the Land Trust’s hard work.