At 9:29 a.m. last Saturday, Amy Poor, John Potter, and Julie Chapman were standing in front of their easels in the Jackson Hole, WY, town square, eagerly awaiting the signal to pick up their brushes and start painting. They were three of about 20 artists participating in the Quick Draw, in which they had an hour to create a painting. (If it were reality TV, this would be the quickfire challenge on Bravo’s Top Chef.) “It’s masochistic and tough,” says William Smith, who practiced beforehand to shave minutes off his time. A few minutes later, a five-piece orchestra on hand for the event struck up the theme from Mission: Impossible.
The Quick Draw is part of the annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. The night before some of the artists were also ensconced at the nearby National Museum of Wildlife Art, where their works were on display at an annual miniature show. This year California watercolor painter Thomas Quinn received the Artist’s Choice award for his elegant piece depicting a quail foraging for prey. Meanwhile in the museum lobby, collectors dined on treats such as mashed potatoes in champagne glasses.
Gallery owners participated in the festival with show openings and receptions for the artists. Paintings at some venues like Trailside Galleries sported an array of red dots—good news for the art market. Another piece of good news out of Jackson Hole is the opening of Altamira Fine Art, an exciting new gallery just off the town square. The space has an uncluttered, contemporary feel and represents artists such as Tom Gilleon (above), the festival’s featured artist.
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