from the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center collection
In the winter wildlife abounds in Gardiner! We're always watching out the windows, since you never know what you might see. Out one window I just watched an eagle catch and eat a fish out of the Yellowstone River. Looked out another window, 2 bucks were sparing. And then, back to river viewing to watch a couple Dippers bobbing in and out of the water.
If you aren't familiar with Dippers (or Water Ouzels), they jump into the water going completely under in search of aquatic insects - year round! Amazing and fun to watch.
It was a great day to head into the Park and paint - 5 degrees with fresh snow, but no wind. REALLY quiet. On the way in we saw a grizzly at an elk carcass. VERY strange for a grizzly to still be 'out and about' this late in the year. The roads are snow covered now, so it was slow going into Lamar Valley where I wanted to paint. I'm working on a studio painting of that area now with elk and needed to take it back to the spot for some 'on-site' references. The eagle we saw on the way back out. Ahhh, I love where I live!
We just got back from a great art trip! First, we went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the opening of Clyde Aspevig's show at the Steamboat Art Museum. It was fabulous! A phenomenal show of his work. He also did a wonderful painting demonstration that we attended. I can't say enough good things. Go see the show for yourself, it's up through the winter - we definitely recommend it! Then we headed to the Denver Art Museum. They have a show of Ernest Blumenschein's work. He was a founder of the Taos Society of Artists. What an amazing group of his work! That show was wonderful too. We saw a lot of awesome art in a short period of time. Now we're back to the studio and REALLY motivated to 'get producing'! Gotta go....
This week was our last painting class of this session. The class was a lot of fun and many were interested in continuing. It was great to see how many people 'got the bug' for painting! I'm hoping to teach another 6 week session after the Holidays. Lately, I've been studying more about Sargent, Sorolla, Inness, the Wyeths, along with some other 'Masters' from the past. (I confess, I'm a book junkie!) I thought some of this information could be interesting to add into our next session. As it gets closer, I'll post the specific class dates on our Events page.
Last night was the Gardiner Christmas Stroll. There were loads of people. The gallery was packed! Everyone was so complimentary of our new gallery and our work. We really enjoyed visiting with friends and meeting so many new people. That was fun! Thanks to all who stopped by.
LOADS of fun at the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center today. I guess that's quite relative!.... I painted snakes preserved in a jar from 1932. Very interesting! I really like to paint water and glass and by adding snakes from Yellowstone Park collected in 1932, it made for a great still life. After a few finishing touches, I'll get an image of it up on to the site.
I talked about composition last night at painting class. Everyone did 'thumbnails' first to be sure they had a good design. Concentration was high and the designs were really successful. Our ending time flew right by! John helped to close up the studio. It's almost a full moon, so it was bright outside. Bright enough for him to see bear tracks in the yard! We went out this morning to get some photos of them.
A bird's eye view....I particularly enjoyed painting this today, from the collection of the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center. The nest and eggs were collected in the Park in 1924! Amazing that here I am painting them 84 years later.
It was a great night of art last night! Monday night was the first of our six painting classes I'm teaching here this fall. The place was filled to capacity with lots of creative energy! We have a wonderful diverse group. We started out with some basics to get everyone warmed up. Next week, we're on to Design & Composition.
A plein air painting I did at the edge of the Shields River.
Plein air painting can feel really good on days like this! I'm hoping the weather hold this week too. But 'rain or shine' (or snow!), I'll be out in Yellowstone painting this week. Since most of the roads will be closing through the Park Nov. 3rd, this is my last chance of the year to get to some of my 'favorite spots'.
We got amazing views of the Canyon Pack. Beautiful wolves! 4 adults and one pup. The female in the group is from the past Hayden Pack. I had the chance to watch her as a pup at Otter Creek with her mother last year. Several months after that sighting, the pack was attacked by the rival Mollie Pack and her and two other pups were the only survivors. On my way into the Park to plein air paint, I saw her mother badly injured after that attack. She didn't survive the day. With the inspiration from those experiences, I created a large studio painting that I'm just finishing up now. So it was a really treat to see her this year.
On our way back from Idaho, driving through Yellowstone, we came across a grizzly bear at an elk carcass. He was guarding it from a small pack of wolves. We've done a lot of traveling in the last week through a lot of beautiful wilderness areas, but it certainly is amazing what we see in our own 'back yard' called Yellowstone!
We just got back from installing a large lighting project in Idaho. It was for a ski lodge. The ski themed chandelier pictured above includes antique skis, snowshoes, pack baskets, ice skates, 2 snow scene paintings and A LOT of other details - definitely hard to capture in a photo!We incorporated river stones, twigs, burls, leaves, and bark. It was a really creative job. You'll be seeing some of the pieces from the project on our web site before too long. The project included lamps, dining lights, bronze sconces, kitchen pendants, large chandeliers (both exterior and interior)... and much more.
My easel set up on Blacktail Deer Plateau this morning.
I was up and out early, anxious for my first plein air snow painting of the season. As I drove into Yellowstone in the dark, fresh snow covered the roads. I hiked up onto Blacktail Deer Plateau. It was an amazing morning. Absolutely, perfectly quiet. Vast and foreboding. Gorgeous, subtle colors everywhere. Just the kind of landscape that feeds my addiction to plein air painting and satisfies my soul. I appreciate life more when I feel fragile than when I feel invincible. So a morning like this is a good reminder for me, of the power and scale of Mother Nature and how small we are.
What a difference a day makes! This view is looking toward the Roosevelt Arch from a window in my painting studio. Yesterday, I was catching the fall colors and soaking up the sun, plein air painting with a friend in a wonderful spot in Paradise Valley. This morning it looks like winter out there!
Electric Peak with fresh snow, in Yellowstone National Park, over the Yellowstone River.
Such a gorgeous time of year. It's hard not to just sit by the window and enjoy the view all day. Luckily, it's so beautiful it makes you want to get out there and paint it! And that's what I'm planning to do in the morning.
We had a wonderful surprise today! Years ago a couple bought a pair of bronze bear sconces from us when we were exhibiting our work at the Adirondack Museum in upstate New York. They were from New Hampshire. Well, today, to the surprise of us all(!) they walked into our gallery in Gardiner, Montana. They're taking a long road trip, from New Hampshire to California. They drove by our gallery and the painting in the window caught their eye, so they stopped in.... not knowing this was our new gallery. What a great coincidence - really nice people! So they bought John's fox sculpture to use as a hood ornament. Now that's creativity!! The little bronze fox is riding into the sunset, off on his first road trip. That lucky fox!
It has been absolutely GORGEOUS weather here this week. We've jumped on the opportunity to do some landscaping around the new gallery. I painted in the Hoodoos in Yellowstone earlier this week and it felt like summer. Today I was inside for a bit painting a portrait of a long time Yellowstone volunteer. But tomorrow, it's back outside to paint at the northern end of Paradise Valley with some friends. Hopefully, the weather will hold out. These last really nice days of the year are such a treat to paint out side, because I know soon, very soon, I'll need the 'full gear'...down coat, insulated boots, long underwear, hat, gloves and hand warmers, too. Ahhh, but right now, it feels like summer!
This morning I set up my easel at the edge of Swan Lake in Yellowstone, just as the sun was coming up. A pair of swans were sleeping when I arrived. Eventually, they woke and started preening. I took A LOT of photos, hoping that some will be useful for painting or sculpting references.
Across the river from the gallery, we were watching a pair of pronghorns this afternoon. How lucky we are to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park right out our window!