For all of us in Jackson, Wyoming, the year began with a remarkable opportunity to view a mountain lion that had made a kill within the city limits. For days, we were able to safely observe this elusive predator as it fed on a deer carcass. The graceful movements of this form descending the steep hillside were incredibly inspiring to me. I loved its shape against the snow!
I started painting these blue birds during the heart of our winter months when our landscape is covered in snow and out world seems all white. Blue birds carry on their wings blasts of color and they inspired me to play with a brighter palette to express joy.
As you may know, at the gallery we hosted at the a group exhibition of top floral painters. While the snow was still piled high in Jackson Hole and we were all called to shelter at home, I filled my studio with flowers to paint. The fresh colors of these petals brightened up my otherwise still and quiet world. I lost myself in painting their beautifully complex structures. I learned a great deal from these top artists and loved sharing our collection.
This is the view that inspired me to become an artist in the first place! As I grew up, this was the direct angle of the Tetons that I saw from my home at the Triangle X Ranch. It was early on when I felt the need to find a way to express my love and gratitude for the beauty of this valley and for me, that voice became painting. This image was painted early summer when the mountains are still covered with snow, but the valley floor is teeming with greenery.
With this year’s social distancing mandates, our family had to become creative when spending time together. Our solution in July was for the whole family, three generations, to go on a 40 mile pack trip in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness. This painting, done on location, depicts lunch being made one afternoon and remains a wonderful memory for me of this trip.
It was an extraordinary year for grizzly bear sightings in the Grand Teton National Park. This was a painting of a bear known as “Blondie” because of her light tipped fur. I had the good fortune of seeing her in the early spring, likely not long after she emerged from hibernation. Right at sunset, the low light was casting a beautiful pattern across her face. My goal for this painting was to capture a sense of movement and light.
I believe it is important for artists to take risks and that’s what this painting felt for me. Here, I took a bird that seems so common place – The American Robin. I tend to take for granted that it will show up each spring. It felt reverent to create a composition that might draw us in and look at the robin with fresh eyes.
The ruby-throated hummingbird weighs a mere 0.11 ounces and beats its wings 53 times per second. In this painting I wanted to show it’s lightness and diminutive size. The hummingbird figure is intentionally contrasted against a white background while the flowers are created in negative space by leaving the white of the paper. This piece was inspired by the work of Fr. Terrance Ehrman, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame who teaches about the ecology and divinity.
I absolutely love living in this high desert landscape where the horizon extends out forever and the sea of sagebrush is dwarfed by the scale of the heavens. This painting reminds me of one of my favorite sayings “In Wyoming, we don’t have to look up to see the sky.”
My aim in this painting was to depict the essence of a great horned owl sitting watchfully on its perch in a cottonwood tree without painting every feather and every branch, instead leaving room for your interpretation. I delighted in the palette of mint blue set against the warm sienna tones. A big shout out to wildlife photographer, Brad Schwarm whose photo inspired this painting.