Plein Air on the Yellowstone Wet Painting Exhibit

Surrounded by four majestic mountain ranges, Park County offers a beautiful natural setting for relaxation and recreation along the legendary Yellowstone River. The quaint and quiet town of Livingston is steeped in the history of Lewis & Clark, Calamity Jane and Yellowstone National Park. Visual artists, writers, and musicians call Park County home. We invite you to come and experience why so many are drawn to this inspiring area. Artists will be painting from Wilsall to Cooke City and Springdale to the western border of Park County, Montana. Fun activities will be planned throughout the week
ending with the Wet Paintings Exhibit. Early check-in begins the afternoon of August 3 and the event closes with an eight week Plein Air Exhibit to start the day of Saturday, August 11th.


2019 Participating Artists
VALERIE AMON: Valerie is a Colorado-based painter who specializes in figurative, wildlife and landscape artwork rendered in an impressionistic style.  
Light, shadow, color, and brushwork are key elements in her paintings. Living in Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado gave Amon a deep appreciation for the diverse beauty of the West.  Her unique style was developed by combining elements of the areas where she’s lived with experiences painting and studying with her chosen mentors.
Montana-born Amon’s award-winning paintings have appeared in national juried exhibitions such as Oil Painters of America, Salon International, American Impressionist Society and Icons of the West, among others.  She has been featured in print publications such as Southwest Art and television programs including the Food Network’s “Food Nation” with Bobby Flay.
Valerie does a wide variety of commission work.  For more information, please visit Valerie’s website at
JAMES BUTI: Born and raised in Libby, Montana, Jim grew up with the time and resources he needed to fall in love with nature and its beauty. With the encouragement of his family to develop his artistic talents, he was able to blend his passion for the outdoors with his love for art. His firsthand experience in nature, whether it is through hiking, skiing, camping, hunting or fishing, can be seen in the details and compositions of his artwork.
Graduating from college in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science Degree Art, Jim developed his own artistic style and settled on the subject of landscapes and wildlife. Jim drew influence from the works of artists such as Bob Kuhn, Robert Bateman, and Howard Terpning, to name a few.
Jim paints in oils, watercolor, and acrylic, but his talent doesn’t stop there. He also sculpts and cast work in bronze, welds unique pieces of art, and is currently expanding his talents to include wood and stone.
Jim and his wife, currently live in Livingston, Montana, capturing the beauty that surrounds him through his paintings and other forms of art.
PHILIP CARLTON: Although his artistic roots are in contemporary portraiture and still-life, Philip Alexander Carlton’s passion for the past few years has been painting in the outdoors. As an outsider with no training in classical techniques, both his style and his compositions can be a bit unorthodox. He aims to avoid the most obvious subjects, in favor of a more ephemeral kind of beauty: moments of glorious light and color that grow and fade in only a matter of minutes. Recently, his paintings have served as a journal of his frequent travels throughout the Western United States.
THOMAS E. ENGLISH: Tom has been a Montana resident for the past 26 years.  He is an avid outdoor painter as well as a studio painter and has traveled and painted throughout Montana and the West.  He has participated in many shows around the United States and his work has been widely collected. English works primarily in oils and enjoys painting in a loose impressionistic, yet realistic style.  More recently he has been exploring the rich textures and bolder possibilities of palette knife painting. His current inspiration comes from daily hikes and observations found on the Montana ranch he lives on and shares with his artist wife Shirle Wempner.
CHARLIE FIFIELD: Charlie was born and grew up in Livingston, Montana.  After graduating from Montana State University in 1976 I began a career as a rangeland management specialist with the federal government. I spent most of my career working for the Bureau of Land Management in Casper, Wyoming.  I have always enjoyed being outdoors and my love of nature and chosen career path has guided my work as an artist.  Wildlife, vegetation and landscapes are the primary focus of my work.  I usually work in pencil and watercolor but also work in ink.  My art has been influenced by numerous artists and has changed over time as I became exposed to different mediums, styles, techniques and artists.  Western artists Charlie Russell and Frederick Remington influenced my early work.  Later, works by wildlife artist Robert Bateman and landscapes by Andrew Wyeth greatly impressed me.  I have always felt comfortable working in pencil because it is a medium I can control.  I have always liked watercolor but find painting with watercolor a challenge.  I am greatly impressed with artists who have mastered this medium and my goal is to one day master it as well.  Artist Statement: The beauty of western landscapes, the diversity of vegetation, wildlife and geology provide the inspiration for my art.  It is my goal to capture the uniqueness of these features in drawings and paintings.  Often personal experiences guide the creation of my work which provides an emotional connection to the subject I am trying to display.  
LUKE FOLGER: Folger is a visual artist, percussionist, composer, and music producer who moved to NYC in 2007 after finishing a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Utah. Drawing was utterly constant throughout his childhood and teenage years in eastern Washington state and western Montana. While he’s most known for his sci-fi inspired abstract paintings, Luke’s attention to detail and careful atmospheres make his plein air work rather striking.
KAREN GARRE: Living in Montana for almost 25 years has given me the opportunity to paint some of the most beautiful places in the country.  The paintings most often have three techniques – brushwork, palette knife, and the most recently added, pouring.  The colors are the interruption of my feelings about the place. I strive to bring a feeling of joy about our land to the viewer.
DAN GERKEN: Capturing vitality is everything. As a plein air and studio painter, it is always vitality and an essence of sprit that my impressions of western landscapes strive to embrace.
To catch such a fleeting quality, I paint from nature what I find meaningful and magnetic. I paint what I think will work best. Then, I trust that vitality will come through with its animated voice and vibrant beauty.
CAROL HARTMAN: Large colorful oil and cattle marker landscape paintings on Birch panels depict the rich history and the unique significance of the land touched by the people who homesteaded the West. The majority of my artworks are created to honor that history and that incredibly beautiful and remote landscape. Some locations are listed on old census maps. Some are found from early photos provided by Heritage Centers. With the help of many relatives and friends, more sites, some with treasured and weathered old buildings still intact, are being located. The resulting paintings reflect current visuals of those significant locations.
KELLY HARTMAN Kelly Hartman grew up in Silver Gate, Montana with the beautiful Beartooth Mountains as her backyard. From an early age she enjoyed art but didn’t actively pursue it until college when she attended Northwest Community College focusing on painting. After two years she left the area to get her BFA at Western Oregon University in Monmouth. Following graduation, she moved back to Montana, where she found her second calling in the museum field. Kelly has been the director of the Cooke City Montana Museum and is currently curator at the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman. She spends much of her free time painting and printmaking; her work heavily inspired by the natural world. She has exhibited her works at the Bozeman Public Library, the Cooke City Montana Museum, the Sweet Pea Festival Juried Show and the Livingston Center for Arts and Culture in recent years. 
LES HERMAN: I was born in Billings, MT in 1950, moved to Great Falls in my teens, and to Gardiner in 1965.  The beginning of my senior year, I was kicked out of school, my parent’s house, and really had no place to go.  A compassionate friend named Rob Christie took me under his wing and helped me petition the school board to return to school and graduate that fine spring in 1968.  I lived with him for almost 6-months. He opened my eyes to the world of art. Rob had graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago, and gave me creative liberty to his studio, patiently guiding me on color theory and the fundamentals of oil painting.  We spent hours at night discussing art and exploring art history. He was the first person to really inspire my creative spirit.
My art studies at the University of Montana always stayed with me and provided the foundation for my artwork.  During my travels I always carried a sketchpad and watercolor kit, drawing and painting when time would allow. Now, after a 32-year career with the Department of the Interior, I’m at a new crossroad in my life where painting and art can once again be my passion and avocation.
I’m not quite sure I have a particular style.  I just love to paint; it’s an act of doing. The more I do, the more I learn.  I’m at a time in my life, that I just feel blessed that I can take the time and let my creative juices flow.  Through the years and continual travel, I still think Livingston, Paradise Valley, Gardiner, and the Greater Yellowstone area are the prettiest places on earth.  It always feels like home. What better place for plein air painting.
BONNIE HOLMES: A native Californian, my artistic talent was encouraged at a very young age by both of my parents.  My father, who has always been an ardent admirer of beautiful design and art, expresses his artistic talent in wood, having made most of the furniture in his home.  My mother was an accomplished technical illustrator who used to admire the ‘freedom’ I expressed in my early watercolors.
Up until the early 1990’s, my focus was figurative work with the occasional still life.  Everything changed when I married and my husband, Tom, introduced me to fly-fishing.  Having been a city-girl, I was overwhelmed with the beauty surrounding me in the great outdoors.  The light, shadows, atmospheric effects of weather and the moment-to-moment changes in each hour of the day presented an altogether new set of challenges and, thus, ‘the landscape’ has become my “world” and focus in painting.
Since the mid-1990’s, when I was first introduced to plein air painting by Milford Zornes, I have continued my education through many workshops in the West and Northwest, with many notable instructors.  Mentoring has also been an important part of my artistic growth, both through art club memberships and along with my “painting” friends. Tom and I spend half of our time in Montana, the other half in Southern California.
DG HOUSE: Contemporary Artist DG House is Guest American Indian Artist in Grand Teton National Park and Artist in Residence in Yellowstone National Park and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art in Indianapolis, IN. Her work has exhibited in the finest Art Museums including the HolterMuseum of Art, the Missoula Museum of Art, the Yellowstone Art Museum and the CM Russell Museum in Montana as well the Phippen Museum of Art in Prescott, AZ, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, the John Clymer Museum of Ellensburg, WA and the Indian Market at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Over her 25 year career, House has painted a life-size fiberglass buffalo bull and calf for the City of West Yellowstone, MT, participated in the CM Russell Museum Art Auction and mastered the quick draw on the square for the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival in Jackson, WY. House has also created the album art for the, “If I Were an Otter,” CD, created a kite which is travelling the Buffalo Jumps nationwide and flying during special presentations and is currently creating a sculpture installation for the NEA at the Traveler’s Rest State Park, MT. DG House’s work is in permanent collections worldwide including musicians Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and Michael McDonald and Grand Teton National Park.
House is represented by Kicking Horse Gallery, Polson, MT and Yellowstone Gift Shops, Yellowstone National Park, WY
PENNY JAMRACK: Penny is originally from England and has lived in several countries including Uganda, Australia and Mexico before moving to Texas in 1977.  She now plans to make Bozeman Montana her home after several years in Austin. She has studied art in Australia, Texas and Montana and paints in watercolor and acrylic media, often plein air, inspired mainly by the exceptional natural beauty around us.   Other creative interests include making one-of-a-kind designer jewelry and mosaics. She is a member of Southwest Montana Arts and her artwork has been exhibited and sold in Montana, Texas and Australia.  
JENNY JELINEK: I love the challenges of painting vistas in the great outdoors and backcountry of Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming.  My still lifes come straight from live studio setups – I try to bring the scene alive through color and compositional perspectives.
As a teenager in Wisconsin, I started oil painting – and later, while attaining a degree in math/computer science at University Colorado-Boulder, I took many studio fine art courses.  There, I learned how to prep my own boards and experiment with different paint application and technique.
“I have continued to build on the basics of painting:  technique, color, design and perspective. I love a good challenge and the outdoors!  Often I will carry my gear (or drive my side-by-side) as high as I can to get a great view.  I have had my share of adventures with paint on the trail!”
My love of the west has a consistent theme.  During the spring, summer and autumn months I live in a cabin in the Crazy Mountains of “Big Sky” Montana, while the rest of the year is spent in “Colorful” Colorado.  Come enjoy this painting adventure with me!
ELIZABETH LAROWE: As a professional artist capturing a moment and a mood in time has been the driving force of my artistic endeavors. I build on the basic elements and principles of design to “enhance” nature, interpreting the scene and rearranging its elements into a pleasing composition.
Watercolor paint especially fascinates me. In a few brief strokes I can capture the impression of a scene. The media is fresh; I love the “happy accidents” that happen on the paper. The nature of watercolor allows for spontaneous color mixing, white surfaces reflect light which increases color.
Controlling watercolor is an ongoing challenge; I am constantly exploring new surfaces and techniques to enhance color and texture. Currently I have developed a unique finishing technique on watercolor paintings to create a more vivid and intimate experience without a glass barrier.
CONNIE LUECHTEFELD: My husband and I have lived on Horse Butte near West Yellowstone since 1996.  We bought our home there because he loves to fish and I love to paint.
There is endless inspiration in Montana.  Whether it’s the horses in the pasture or the mountains and rivers all around us, there is never enough time to paint it all.
I have had many opportunities over these past years to study with incredible artists, who also happened to be great teachers.   I am a member of Oil Painters of America (OPA) and Southwest Montana Arts (SMArts).
My paintings are somewhere between ultra-realistic and somewhat-painterly.  It is my goal each year to loosen up and just enjoy the process.
I have attended many of the paint-outs sponsored by Southwest Montana Arts and they have proven to be a lifesaver for me!  They have taken me to beautiful places I never would have found on my own, while introducing me to painters I would have otherwise never met.
I am incredibly grateful to be living in this majestic state, and even more grateful for the lifelong friends I have made here.  I am looking forward to the 11th Annual Plein Air Painting on the Yellowstone event and I hope to see you there!
JANET MOCZAR-BUTI: As early as she can remember, Janet has always loved art. Being raised in a home where art was appreciated, her parents encouraged her to pursue her artistic talents. She started out sketching with pencils and pastels. In 1994 made the jump to oil painting and by the year 2000 she had sculpted and cast her first bronze. 
Her artistic education consists of a raw natural gift, as well as various pastel, oil and sculpture workshops. But it’s her knowledge and love of animals that comes through in every piece. From pencil sketching, to pastels, oils and sculpture, she strives to bring to life the spirit and power of each subject.
Janet and her husband Jim currently live in Livingston Montana, creating original works of art and accepting commissions on a regular basis. Her work is displayed in homes all over the world.
Why only Originals? There is something special about an original painting which keeps Janet from making prints of her work.
She says: “I believe that in the cut and paste world which we live today, it’s an artists’  responsibility to bring into the world something that is hand crafted and truly special and not cheapened by mass production.  Originals are like a breath of fresh air, changing along with the lighting in a home or office throughout the day and you never tire of looking at them. In addition, the buyer can be certain they will not find another of its kind, which also adds to the value of the artwork.”  
Artist Statement – I create because I HAVE to… it’s not an option, it’s like breathing, and I can’t live without it.  As a “being” I am required to stop from the busyness of life so that I can simply “be”… To me that is a moment when I am consumed with my surroundings and nothing is distracting me from soaking in the immense beauty and mystery of the outdoors and every creature we share this great planet with. Out of that “being” moment, I can share with others through paint or sculpture so they too can stop and be consumed by it. If I can stir emotion in a viewer through my artwork, I have truly lived.


LEEANN RAMEY: My paintings are contemporary expressions of color and texture. I am curious by nature and love the prospect of discovering something new — whether it’s experimenting with different mediums, paint, texture, subjects or the effect of a varnish or ink, I want to have fun and explore. I primarily paint in acrylic because the fast-drying time allows me to
work quickly which produces a fresh, abstract quality that allows people to interpret the paintings how they choose and hopefully experience the same joy that I feel when I paint. Recently, I have begun painting with oil as well, using a palette knife.
I strive to make my work positive and uplifting through the use of bold energetic brushstrokes and colors, charcoal, collage, ink and scraping back into the paintings to create more texture. My subjects include abstracts, landscapes and figures. I also paint whimsical, bright, funky pet portraits by commission. I am excited to call Montana my home and look forward to finding out how life in the West will influence my work!
TANDY MILES RIDDLE: I love the answers I find in paint, to the questions of the day, the light, my mind, & everything that brought me to that moment in time. For me, it is definitely a dance. Armed with color and a ground. Brushes and my fingers. There is a call and response. And once begun an exquisite problem to solve. Knowing when to start, when to stop, when to pause, & when to go back. My relationship with my work is dynamic…always changing, evolving. As long as I am alive to be part of the equation. In some sense, the next work I begin is the logical progression of the last. I assume this is actually true for everyone. I just happen to celebrate this aspect of art. This aspect of life.
STEVE SPENCER: Every painting I do builds, lifts and defines me. Indeed while in Montana I am especially alive.  It has given me splendid new friends and deep and abiding relationships. The people who have become like family and the sacred grandeur of the landscapes speak to me of home.
When a painting is reaching that point of being finished, the excitement builds and I feel quite like a little boy again capturing and holding some elusive wild thing. Indeed I have captured something; it is mine, yet it is independent of me. I gave it life, it gives me life….
LYN STCLAIR: Lyn’s work is based exclusively on her personal experience. She spends countless hours in the field watching the wildlife she portrays and exploring the country that inspires her work. Lyn’s paintings have won over 80 awards across the country, including Best in Show three years in a row at the Ward Museum Show.  Her work has been exhibited at the Tucson Museum of Art, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, and Bennington Center for the Arts, the West Valley Art Museum, the Hiram Blauveldt Art Museum and the Phippen Museum. Other notable exhibitions that have included her work are Arts for the Parks Top 100, “Wild in de Natuur” (Enschede, Netherland) and the Society of Animal Artists’ Annual Shows.   Lyn’s work is in the permanent collections of the Bennington Center for the Arts and the Worrell Museum. Recent awards include an Excellence Award at the Natureworks Show and First place traditional at Plein Air on the Yellowstone 2017.
DAVID SWANSON: My goal always is to represent scenes and subjects that capture my gaze and lay a hand on my soul, causing me to pause and see; then to paint them as faithfully and passionately as possible, with all the energy and skill I can muster.  Somehow reflecting and refracting through my lens the beauty of creation, occasionally I create something which, in my eyes, has aesthetic value. Hopefully, the painting then adds to the sum of beauty in the world. If one must obey the impulse to create something, this seems like a valid objective.
KAREN THIEL: About 20 years ago I watched a plein air artist work her magic, and I’ve been “hooked” ever since, that’s when my painting journey began. I’m not a studio painter, I only paint on location. Working in oil or pastel, and sometimes using a palette knife gives me the opportunity to share my vision of the landscape.   Over the years, I’ve been very lucky to study with some of the best western plein air artists. I feel fortunate to be “out there” painting what I love, and living in an area that has so much to offer.
DORCI TREMBLAY: I have a passion for oil painting. I love the textural effect of brush strokes on a canvas and how they embellish my intuitive style of painting.  I remember being very young in New Hampshire, sitting under a white pine trying to draw a group of pine needles with precision. I still look at the world with that same feeling of wonder and endeavor to present interesting subject matter with strong compositions and vibrant colors.
Originally from CT, I received my formal academic training at the University of Connecticut, School of Fine Arts, earning a BFA in 1967, and a MS degree from Southern Connecticut State College in 1972.  I was an art educator for 32 years in Hartford, CT, retired in 2000 and moved west in 2003.
JAMES K. VINCENT: I was raised in central Wyoming, where my grandfather was a homesteader in the Wind River country near the Arapaho Reservation. My interest in landscape painting was nurtured by many exploring trips with my father and my brothers along the backroads of Wyoming.
My interest in pastel painting started when I saw Jim LeBar’s iconic paintings of the Beartooth and Yellowstone National Park. In 2012 Jim became my mentor and one could not have a better teacher and friend. Sad to say Jim LeBar passed away this winter.
In the past seven years, my paintings have received awards in several regional juried shows including Plein Air on the Yellowstone. I am now represented by the following galleries, The Depot in Red Lodge, Terakedis Fine Art in Billings, the Frame Hut in Billings, Altitude Gallery in Bozeman and the Yellowstone Art Museum.
I look forward to my third year of painting with David Swanson in Plein Air on the Yellowstone.
SHIRLE WEMPNER: Shirle Wempner was raised on a horse ranch on the outskirts of Billings, Montana.  Her experiences growing up on the ranch infused a great appreciation of nature and encouraged her to put to canvas the inspiration she experienced on a day to day basis.  Working predominately in oils and utilizing broad-brush strokes and palette knife techniques, she creates a feeling of impressionistic realism, concentrating on a painterly representation of the subject matter.  Shirle’s desired subjects are wildlife, western and figurative representations, incorporating contemporary and historical themes.
Artist’s statement – “The most enjoyable aspect of my process is allowing the creative spirit to take shape on the canvas.  I strive to connect with the viewer and ask them to participate in the visual completion of the subject matter by ‘implying’ the subject rather than rendering a more detailed result.  This, I believe, draws the viewer into the painting and allows them to more fully participate in the essence of the piece.  Emotions are what touch and form our souls, and a stirring of emotion is what I strive for in each piece I create.”


This year’s wet painting prizes will be assessed and awarded by Robert Spannring.
Judges’ statement:
The principals of plein air painting – “painting in the open air” –  I will be judging are:
  • The painting was executed outside in the open air.
  • The brushwork is confident, fresh, and direct.
  • The composition/design is interesting and engaging.
  • Quality of plein air skills relative to painting size is evident.
  • The artist’s originality in presenting the subject is demonstrated.
  • The painting was painted within Park County.
Plein air – or open air painting is a very good term, as we all know from standing along a stream or road, being exposed to ever-changing weather, the occasional audience, and the continual transformation of natural light.  There is no better way to observe true color relationships and to learn about the endless color combinations and reflected light. Our outdoor world is our classroom, teaching us to interpret how natural light illuminates, defines the subject of interest.
Ah, brushwork!  This is where paint speaks, whether bold or subtle.  Fresh and confident brushwork speak volumes. I want to see directness, little hesitation to the applied paint.
Composition and design.  Here lie many different thoughts and ideas.  Composition and design comprise the underlying structure that holds all the elements together. That structure may be in plain view, or it might be less outspoken, hidden in a way.  Some elements maybe be grounded in weight or perhaps floating. A great abstract painting has incredible structure and so do traditional paintings. Understanding underlying structure in painting is key in my mind.
Small to medium-sized paintings are a grand way to capture quick, immediate color sketches of a subject.  They are fresh, meaning our minds are more intuitive rather than judgmental, capturing the emotion and sometimes the unseen.  In order to achieve this, a painter must have attained certain levels of skill in color understanding, spatial relationships, and a finesse in applying paint.  Larger painting sizes require an even greater mastery of these skills. Just because a painting is large does not mean it will reflect strong plein air skills.
Originality, the most sought-after artistic expression.  What is your visual language? Your vocabulary?  What is your artistic eye? Whether it be by color, perception, presentation, how does your artistic style uniquely interpret the subject at hand?
The painting must have been painted in Park County.
As a judge, I am not looking for highly finished studio work.  I think the glory in plein air work is the spontaneous, fresh, I would say unfiltered work which captures the fleeting moments that make you as an artist to want to stop and PAINT!

This year’s corporate sponsors are:


Aug 09 2019 - Sep 18 2019


Livingston Center for Art and Culture
119 S Main St, Livingston, Montana