View22: Field Study Works Now Available Online!

In 2017, we invited 21 local artists to create place-inspired art on 18 Jackson Hole Land Trust conservation properties in Teton, Fremont, and Sublette counties. The momentum for the project built over the summer as artists created their works and interacted with the community at artist demonstrations at the R Lazy S, and the Teton Food Tour.

View22: Field Study will culminate this Sunday, August 13th, 2017 with an exhibit and sale at the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s 37th Annual Picnic at the Hardeman North Meadow in Wilson.

The 80 finished works are now available for viewing and purchase through our downloadable e-catalog! The catalog will be updated periodically to reflect sales.

For inquiries regarding art sales please contact Roxanne Pierson at or 307-733-4707.

Jocelyn Slack – Trail Creek Ranch

I wanted to paint a view of the ranch from the Nordic Center where one can see the buildings nestled at the base of Black Canyon. It was a nice cool morning, the heat tempered by morning clouds. I rode my bike up Hwy 22 to the ranch. The cloudy sky quickly turned black accompanied by thunder and lightning. As sheets of rain marched down the Pass I could hear the wind ripping through the trees. Scooping up my gear I sprinted for the warming hut where I could tuck in behind it on the east side. As I waited out the fast moving storm I saw this piece of road curving into the forest. Under the shelter of the cabin I made a quick drawing with out too many rain splatters. It was a beautiful day all the more exciting with the storm.

– Jocelyn Slack

Amy Unfried – Trail Creek Ranch Update

After I returned to Jackson Hole this spring after over a month away, it was not long before I went up to my foundry near Bozeman to work on the several pieces that were in process there, including my Trail Creek Ranch piece. I was pleased to find that it had cast well: the foundry had determined that the branch was too thick for a direct casting to be successful, so they made a mold of it and a wax replication which would cast beautifully, although by doing so it also increased the cost of making the piece and thus the finished price. It was particularly good that it came out so well, because the smaller “backup” piece that I had taken to them at the same time ended up not casting well at all, with the result that I abandoned that piece.

As usual there was work to be done on the metal to get it the way I wanted, and the five birds—three larger plus two very small—all needed to be positioned and welded on, and after sandblasting to create a uniform clean metal surface, the patina could begin to be applied. The patina artist is working on it in the photo above. Also shown is the piece with the patina finished — all five of the birds with impressionistic but recognizably colored plumage, and the bronze branch now indistinguishable from the wooden one. The piece, alongside other new pieces of mine in a similar state, is not yet waxed and is still awaiting being mounted on its wooden base.

Amy Bright Unfried’s Sculpture, Inspired by Trail Creek Ranch

When Leslie Steen asked me to participate in the Land Trust’s art exhibit this year, I was pleased to be asked. When she asked which of the properties on which the Land Trust holds easements I had a connection to, the answer was easy: Trail Creek Ranch. Trail Creek is the reason Steve and I live in Jackson Hole and close to Wilson.

Our first trip to the valley with our children was to Trail Creek Ranch in 1984, and we visited again in 1985 and 1989. By the time we started looking for a place to build our eventual retirement house, we were already in love with the views of the Sleeping Indian and the Buttes, the lodge pole and aspen forests and the abundant wildflowers, all of which we knew from our time at Trail Creek and wanted to have at our new home. It took years for the transition from visitors to part-timers to residents to take place, but we built our guest house in 1991 and ten years later our main house, and have now been full-time residents of the valley for fourteen years.


I told Leslie I had some serious time constraints in producing a new piece of sculpture based on Trail Creek’s inspiration in time for the annual picnic. In addition to the long time frame that bronze casting requires — two months at a minimum — I also had plans to be away from home for extensive chunks of the intervening time. I would need to start right away and work fast.

The following Tuesday, with the agreement of Trail Creek manager Alex Menolascino, I went over to the ranch to walk around and see what might move me to creativity. Here’s how the ranch looked on March 31: still a lot of snow, especially in the trees. Deciduous trees decidedly bare.

Although for the past four years the sculptures I have been making have been abstract, deriving from knitted Moebius strips cast directly in bronze and accompanied by abstract birds, this latest body of work is an outgrowth of work I did over the preceding ten years. That work consisted similarly of direct-cast one-of-a-kind bronzes, but they were derived from small interestingly shaped branches that I would find during my walks around this valley. These I turned into little trees accompanied by somewhat impressionistic local Wyoming birds. That body of work tapered off when I got to the point where I wasn’t finding branches that interested me any more: for the most part, I had encountered branches in a great many shapes already and wasn’t coming up with new or interesting designs to make with the ones I was finding.


It was my hope, however, that I would find some downed branches or twigs at Trail Creek Ranch that would speak to me in some way and inspire renewed activity in this kind of work. So I walked slowly around the ranch, my eyes to the ground, looking for sticks, picking some up, discarding them, hanging onto some possibles for a bit, deciding against them.

Under a tree, hard by the eponymous Creek itself, I came across a stick that was larger than what I usually have used in making my direct-cast tree sculptures previously. There are technical casting considerations that have determined the sizes of my trees–too thin or too thick both present casting challenges that may result in serious flaws or failure of a piece. This thick but pleasing branch seemed worth the risk, so it was one of the ones I took home.

During the following week I worked on the piece in my studio every day, turning it into a tall snag with a redtailed hawk, a magpie and a raven. I also worked on a second, smaller piece – a little tree with curving branches hosting six little birds– in case the first one didn’t turn out well. Since there wasn’t time for me to drive the work up to Belgrade, MT, where my foundry is, I had to ship them by FedEx, although the pieces were decidedly fragile in their state as twigs and wax. I got them off on my way to the airport Tuesday. When I return in May I’ll find out how things have gone at the foundry.

– Amy Bright Unfried

Trail Creek Ranch Painting Session

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Photos by Jenny Wolfrom.


I’ve passed Trail Creek Ranch many times on ski tours and mountain bike runs down Teton Pass – it is the ranch on your right as you come down on the Old Pass Road. While biking or skiing by, I will usually take a quick glance over at the ranch to watch the horses grazing, sometimes seeing an elk or a moose hanging out in the fields. In all these fly-bys I’d never given much thought to the history of the Trail Creek, nor have I ever taken the time to look closely at the rustic barns on the property. Luckily, my first experience actually visiting the ranch this summer was to watch a plein air painting session with Bill Sawczuk, who happens to be quite the expert on Jackson history and has a passion (and talent) for painting barns.


Bill was already set up when we arrived and had been painting for a bit already. The Trail Creek Ranch has a prominent, classic old barn that we assumed Bill would be painting, but he chose the smaller, more discrete hay barn, claiming it had better light and would be more interesting to paint in the plein air style. Not being an artist, this didn’t hold much meaning to me at first. However, as I sat and watched Bill paint the many different layers of the barn and scene – the fields, forests, and ridgeline that surround the hay barn – I quickly came to realize that he had made the right choice. It was a hazy Jackson morning and as the sun burned through the clouds, Bill was able to capture the various browns, tans, and creams of the logs that construct the hay barn, which was complemented by a full spectrum of green hues that framed it. While Bill painted, he shared with us his stories of Wilson and Jackson, interjecting once in a while to explain a specific technique of plein air that he was using. Sipping on coffee in the middle of a field during the weekday felt a bit foreign, and almost guilt-inducing, to me. Wasn’t there something I should be doing at the office? Why didn’t my cell phone get service? It took a while for me to adjust to the fact that I was supposed to be there to sit and experience the beauty and peace of the land I was on. Soon after that, I realized I didn’t want to leave, which is probably how most, if not all, guests of the ranch feel.


Trail Creek is a bit different from other properties that may come to mind when thinking about Jackson ranches. Tucked into the mountain side and surrounded by trees, the ranch sits under some of the best backcountry skiing you can find. That is what originally attracted Elizabeth “Betty” Woolsey to the property and led her to purchase the first parcel of the ranch in 1942. Betty soon came to realize that Trail Creek had just as much to offer after the snow melted and she expanded the ranch to the 270 acres it is today. It has been working dude ranch since 1946, hosting families who want to enjoy a vacation at the ranch and pack trips into the mountains. Betty placed the entire ranch under a conservation easement with the Jackson Hole Land Trust when she died in 1997, ensuring that the property would be safe from development and could be enjoyed as she experienced it for generations to come. Betty’s goal was to share the pleasures of outdoor recreation with everyone, and she safeguarded that mission with the legacy she left through Trail Creek Ranch.


-Jenny Wolfrom

Trail Creek Ranch Photo by Kim Fadiman


This painting session is scheduled for August 22nd, 2013 and will be a plein air demonstration open to the public. If you’d like to join us at this location, please visit our Events page for information about how to register. Sign up to receive email updates from us to the right so you get our blog posts right in your inbox!