From the Editor: Sharing Nature

Artist Kathryn Mapes Turner was born and raised on a ranch inside Grand Teton National Park. Surrounded by endless views and wildlife that was free to roam, those childhood memories serve as the inspiration behind her paintings to this day. “From early on, the landscape claimed me as her own; the beauty of this place has touched me at a very deep level for as long as I can remember,” Turner says. “Art became the practice of expressing my gratitude; my paintings are my love letter to the natural world.”

There’s no doubt that art and nature are deeply intertwined, so much so that as French painter Pierre Bonnard famously said: “Art will never be able to exist without nature.” Nature and the creatures that reside within it influence everything from works of art to architecture, poetry to fashion, inspiring creativity through the color palettes exhibited in sunsets and flower-filled meadows; patterns found in rock formations, sea shells, and moving water; and the characteristics of animals in the wild and birds soaring overhead. And the subtleties and nuances picked up by one artist are completely different from those of another. With unique perspectives reflected in their work, they share their respective visions through abstraction, realism, and everything in between.

In this issue, contributor Laura Zuckerman examines this connection between art and nature as illustrated through the lenses of three successful wildlife artists who share the influences that the natural world has on their work. “While nature and its creatures are mostly seen directly, the indirect and unique depictions when viewed and portrayed through an artistic perspective may be equally important,” Zuckerman writes. “Mutually beneficial, the relationship might even be described as necessary for humankind’s broader understanding, inspiration, and solace.”

Also in this issue, painter Troy Collins shares his vision for capturing “the inherent joy and wonderment of Big Sky Country and the Rocky Mountain West;” outdoorsman and sculptor Ott Jones discusses the importance of observing wildlife to “look for the little things that are really big things” that make his pieces so dynamic; Lucky Davis explains how memories of time spent in nature are morphed into his Tonalist-style paintings; and photographer Tuck Fauntleroy showcases two projects that transform natural elements in the landscape into abstract works of art.

Since we’re surrounded by nature in this region, it’s no wonder that many of the artists working in the Northern Rockies bring that to the fore in their work. And, as you’ll see in these pages, they interpret it in their own ways and, thankfully, share their unique perspectives with us.

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