Craig Spankie

I decided to check out River Springs, now known as Rendezvous Park (R Park) for my View22 project. I went there with my children a couple of weeks ago. Surprisingly there was a lot of activity at the park as the Jackson Hole Land Trust was hosting their annual FoundSpace art event in conjunction with R Park’s annual Summer Solstice party. We wandered about and the kids made pirate ships with the folks from Jackson Hole Public Art and floated them down  the stream.

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I was interested in the connection between the R Park and Emily’s Pond via the pathway bridge so I made another trip back a few mornings later to explore the area more thoroughly.

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On my second visit I came over the bridge from the Emily’s Pond side into R Park. It was your classically stunning early summer morning in Jackson, with wildly contrasting colors and the Snake River rushing by I felt confident I had gathered enough inspiration to begin my piece for the View22 project…

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– Craig Spankie

Diane Benefiel

I can see the Wilson Wetlands Trail from my deck. I walk or ride my bike along the wetlands boardwalk between Hungry Jacks and Owen-Bircher Park several times a week. I’ve experienced the wetlands in all seasons ever since Dodie and ‘Stearnie’ Stearns donated it to the Land Trust in 1995.

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One of the most accessible of the Land Trust locations, it’s a diamond hidden in plain sight of bustling downtown Wilson. Tucked into the lush grasses and willows is a diverse wetlands ecosystem including a creek fed by Edmiston Spring located to the south of Dick May’s welding shop.

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Anxious to get started on my View22 piece, this morning I got an early start as I needed shadows to help define the complex landscape of the wetlands. I carried my gouache paints and other supplies on my bike and in my backpack.

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Painting the Wetlands Trail is an exercise in “green.” Could it be possible every green in the universe appears in the Wetland Trails? It seems like it. I was happy with my first color study but I concede it’s going to be a challenge to capture the essence of the wetlands. Luckily it’s right in my backyard.

– Diane Benefiel

Elizabeth Cogburn Birnie

 

My assigned property for this summer’s View22 project is a section of land just south of the Hobacks in Teton Village. I had hiked and skied through this Land Trust property countless time but had no idea it was one of the Land Trust properties until this spring! On my hikes up to Rock Springs, I have enjoyed the beautiful wild flowers, rushing streams and deep forests. I am working on painting one of the views from the property as well as some details of the wild flowers.

– Elizabeth Cogburn Birnie

Emily Boespflug

I was in awe soon after dropping down the shallow slope from the highway into the Bar Cross Ranch near Cora. The uppermost peaks of the Wind River Range peeking over the foothills remained snow-covered though July was upon us. I paused with painting in mind but the mosquito swarm was worse than I’d ever experienced and I lived Central Florida for 3 years! I chose to continue onto other dirt roads throughout the property seeking a view away from the mosquito laden area I fell in love with upon arrival. Rolling foothills, black Angus and a mountainous horizon were included in every angle so I chose a distant view of the ranch house for my first painting. 

I knew I would soon have to brave the bugs for the most epic painting and returned the next day at sunset to experience the perfect light crossing the golden grasslands and warming the snowy peaks. A powerful, yet soothing energy ensued as I pushed through the evening hours the following weekend to capture the genuine spirit of the land, somehow ignoring the mosquitoes infesting my eyes, mouth, ears and every inch of my paint. After turning in my paintings I learned that I wasn’t the only one to be touched by the unique beauty of this working ranch. I shared a similar meditative focus with some of our most influential and inspiring humans including members of the Kennedy family and the Grateful Dead, who at some point had also retreated to the solitude found within this special property for their own creative aspirations. What a profound experience!

– Emily Boespflug

Erin O’Connor

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Boyle’s Hill was one of my first favorite painting spots in Jackson Hole.  Just far enough out of town, narrow dirt roads laced around the green ponds, and wise outstretched cottonwoods offered respite from the summer sun.  Every vantage held artistic merit.  This was an idyllic local secret – all-American really – a place for family picnics, the Mountain Man Rendezvous, and kids to hang out the way kids do.  Some nights, yeah, there were parties.  Some days were sweetly quiet, the breeze rustling through the trees, dragonflies buzzing above the water, and just me painting.

Trumpeter swans were one of my first favorite birds.  In the 1966 edition of ‘Birds Of North America, A Guide To Field Identification’ (the very book I used as a child and still treasure today), it said this:  “This largest swan, recently close to extinction, is now increasing in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming…  Very rare outside it’s breeding range.”   My father, who knew of such things, said that fewer than 100 remained in the wild here.  I worried terribly about the extinction of swans.

A few years back, my father and I stopped at Boyle’s Hill.  There are only two small parking areas now, the ponds fenced off, the inner dirt roads grown over, all traces of its previous use gone.  Trumpeter swans crowd the banks, loud and raucous in their success.  They glide across the green water in a riotous cacophony of gleaming white.  Dad was thrilled, taking photos, and I was thinking about the next time I’d come out to paint.  Neither of us mentioned how easily this might not have happened.

This idyllic spot is still something of a local secret, and that’s okay.  When preservation fails, conservation can make the difference.   The Jackson Hole Land Trust has, in no small way, assured vital habitat for wildlife.  One acre, and one crucial pond at a time.

– Erin O’Connor

Jocelyn Slack

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

Kathy Wipfler

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I moved to Jackson Hole in 1980 to pursue a career in fine art. In my first years here, I did lots of part time work for some of the descendants of the homesteaders of the valley. I was graced by their myriad stories of the struggles to survive in very hard times & a harsh climate. One of those families worked the lands of the Hatchet Ranch, using horse power & human grit to succeed in making the land productive enough to raise their families & keep the Hatchet & surrounding land open.

When I am on location painting these places, the stories I have heard help to inform me of the recent human connection to this amazing place.

– Kathy Wipfler

Kay Stratman

I have been honored to join a group of artists asked by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to focus on various properties protected by the Land Trust. The project will culminate in an exhibition and sale at the annual JHLT picnic on August 13th. My assigned space is called the Wilson Wetlands, a small intimate wetland located right in the middle of Wilson, WY.

I never noticed it before when I drove by, but by spending some time there I understand its importance. Besides being a very lovely respite to wander through for humans, it hosts a number of critters and plants that rely on wetlands for survival. Wetlands are so often drained, altered, or covered over to create more land for us humans. Without these wetlands these critters, plants and birds would not be a part of our lives. Though I often paint vast expansive landscapes, my theme for this collection will be something much more close up – wetland birds. I made a recording of bird sounds on one visit so I could not only identify who made the sounds, but also to have something wonderful to listen to while painting.

– Kay Stratman

Lee Carlman Riddell

I love that the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s View 22: Open Studio 2016 celebrates the protected lands in and around Jackson that are open to the public. I wanted to explore a new area and chose Flat Creek Corridor, wondering where it was and what I would find there.

To my great surprise and delight, it is the sagebrush / aspen / pine covered hill leading up to Josie’s Ridge, a walk that my dog Tosca and I do several times a week. I had no idea it was a Jackson Hole Land Trust protected property.

At first I wanted to create a painting that showed how close this beautiful land is to where many of us live by including the sage-covered hillside, homes below, and the view to the Teton Range to the West. Sometimes an idea just does not translate into a painting, especially the way I see the world. I simplify until I have the feeling of being in the place on canvas.

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On an early morning walk up Josie’s Ridge in July, every different species of wildflower seemed to be in bloom at the same time. It is a short window in Jackson when we are treated to a fireworks display in the wild like this. There is also a fullness, a lushness to high summer here.

My painting is a celebration of the life on this hillside and  the color in this very accessible place where wildlife, people, dogs and mountain bikers are all welcome.

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– Lee Carlman Riddell

Laurie LaMere

I spent almost every day of this week, both morning & evening, plein air painting on the Seven Mile River Ranch. What a privilege it was to have access to this lovely ranch. The Green River flows through the entire property. The first morning I went out there, I fully expected to be carried away by the mosquitos. I went prepared with multiple layers of clothing and plenty of bug spray. To my pleasant surprise, there was a gentle breeze…. enough to keep the bugs at bay. For the entire week, I was never chased off by the bugs. How amazing was that? Especially since there was plenty of water around, do to flooding.

The first morning out, I set up alongside the pond, next to the old Cooley place. I was entertained by a multitude of frogs. The sun was shining brightly & there was a striking reflection in the pond. I spent four hours quietly painting, and when the light changed enough that I decided to shut down, I was sad to have to leave.

That evening, I set up by the Green River, facing upstream, with a view of the Wyoming Range in the distance. This was the start of my second painting. I watched a Blue Heron for a while, with his slow, graceful movement. As dusk set in, I was serenaded by song birds. In fact, every visit to the ranch was a concert of some sort, most often by birds.

With each trip to the ranch, there was some kind of pleasant surprise. I saw a momma Moose and her new born baby on several occasions, Sandhill Cranes, Ducks and Geese, Deer, many different songbirds, and of course the Blue Heron.

As the week progressed, I revisited these places several times to finish up my paintings. I just can’t imagine a more peaceful or glorious way to spend time outdoors, and I thank God for these wide open spaces and for the privilege of living in Wyoming.

– Laurie LaMere