Because they are beautiful, but that goes without saying.
We can ask “Why are mountains beautiful?” As an artist, I analyze this through the process of painting them. The Tetons are complex, faceted with a myriad of planes, each catching the light at a different angle. This jagged granite form has been sculpted by ice and water for eons. Rendering this complexity is a puzzle that I get lost in. The process of painting the Tetons is compelling, daunting, humbling and ever-changing experience that requires me to concentrate, be present, and focus.
I grew up with these mountains and even though I have been painting them for 30 years, I feel that I am far from mastering them. When I was first learning to paint the mountains, my artist friend, Greg McHuron wouldn’t take me on as his student until I had done 100 drawings of the Tetons to learn their shape and general structure. Now my goal remains the same as when I started- “How do I simplify this subject and still capture the essence of the mountain’s majesty?” It is ever-challenging and yet still also a grounding experience that roots me to my home.
In Jackson Hole, we are surrounded by mountains—on the westside of the valley, the Teton Range. Parallel to that is the Gros Ventre Range. To the north, the Absorkas. South, you find the Wind River Range and the Salt River Range.
To me, being surrounded by mountains feels like an embrace!
Painting them deepens my appreciation for their magnificence.
I hope my paintings bring you as much joy as I have creating them.