Kathryn Mapes Turner, of Trio Fine Art, grew up in Grand Teton National Park on her family’s Triangle X Ranch. She’s arguably experienced just about everything a Jackson Hole winter can throw out there.
But, says the artist, there is winter…and there is THIS winter. With little sun, high winds, frigid temperatures and hundreds of inches of snowfall, even this valley veteran turned to accessing her imagination in lieu of accessing 15-foot high snow berms.
“Winters are always magical,” says Turner. “A typical winter brings peace and solitude; it’s a time to scale back, explore internal creative impulses, and ‘save up’ for summer when once again I’ll be able to respond to the sublime stimulation and inspiration of painting out in the field.”
“It’s all made me think back on my anthropology studies. We explored how the arts flourished in communities that had their basic needs met as opposed to communities that didn’t.”
Endlessly fascinating are the transformations snow and ice bring. Winter turns the outdoors into a dream world, simplifying landscapes, paring it down to essentials. But this winter, Turner admits her soul was not buoyed by her favorite winter activity, skiing.
“Powder skiing is my exhilarating activity. When I ski, I’m motivated to create paintings as dynamic to look at as I feel when I ski. That’s where “Dance,” pictured at the top of the page, came from. I would downhill ski in the mornings and return to the easel in the afternoon to capture that same energy on canvas,” Turner explains.
Then winter changed. Drastically. Winter in Jackson Hole became an ongoing weather crisis marked by sharp anxiety that creeps in during states of emergency.
“I wish I could say I can capture this frustration on canvas, but with no power, phone, internet, flooding, avalanches and road closures life was too complicated to focus as much on my art in recent weeks,” says the artist. “It’s all made me think back on my anthropology studies. We explored how the arts flourished in communities that had their basic needs met as opposed to communities that didn’t. Art flourishes in times of peace, and these past weeks a feeling of peace has been hard to come by.”
As I write, Turner is returning from a successful trip to South Carolina where she exhibited in that state’s prestigious Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Turner’s “Prairie Run,” shown above, won the Western and American Art Collector Editor’s choice for Best in Show.
Thrilled, Turner writes that she is “blown away and super grateful” to win the highly coveted award. It’s the most recent in a long line of successes for Turner, one of Jackson’s most celebrated plein air painters.