Western Art Collector

Kathryn Mapes Turner

Distilling nature


Kathryn Mapes Turner grew up on her family’s Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park surrounded by the area’s mountains and wildlife. “The landscape and the wildlife shaped who I am,” she says. “It tapped into my spirit—which is what I feel art does. It affects us at a deep level. It brings us home to where we are and it can inspire us to be more than we are. My goal is to have my art transmit the energy from the landscape or the animal. I’m not a photoreali­st nor am I interested in that. My work is a process of distillati­on. How do I get down to the essential? What’s essential to include? I don’t want to paint every eyelash.”

An exhibition of her latest work will be shown at Turne Fine Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, August 26 through September 27.

Indigo, her watercolor portrait of a doe, is an exercise in distillati­on, capturing the innocent simplicity of the doe and, from the artist’s viewpoint, is an exercise in “softness, movement and soft edges…what I’m realizing is the more I leave out the more space there is for the viewer to bring their own reactions to the piece. Then a more eloquent and elegant conversati­on will begin.”

Turner has mastered the subtleties of the mountain and valley light and the subtleties of the animals in their natural environmen­t. She has also learned the subtleties of her craft. She recalls spending a day in the studio of the eminent sculptor Steve Kestrel who began carving a fish from a long rock he had brought up from the river bed. He was forming the fish when the next blow of the hammer and chisel caused the top of the rock to flake off. Kestral stopped and said, calmly, “Oops! I guess that rock didn’t want to be a fish.”

She has also learned that in painting en plein air it is easy to be distracted by the wonders of the changing environmen­t. “Don’t follow the light,” she warns. “Stick to your original concept.”

I strive to create paintings that record my

own experience of the subject’s essential spirit and energy,” she says, “not an imitation of a fixed surface reality. This process requires my presence, enthusiasm, open-minded appreciati­on, playfulnes­s, courage and honesty. In this way, creating art is transforma­tive, universal and timeless.”

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Living by the Seasons, oil on linen, 36 x 48”
Living by the Seasons, oil on linen, 36 x 48”
 ??  ?? Indigo, watercolor, 8 x 8”
Indigo, watercolor, 8 x 8”
 ??  ?? Scattered Sunshine, oil on canvas, 36 x 36”
Scattered Sunshine, oil on canvas, 36 x 36”
 ??  ?? Vision, oil on linen, 12 x 24”
Vision, oil on linen, 12 x 24”

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