Star Valley plein air 2022

Plein air painting competitions are not something that I spend a lot of time doing. Mostly I just prefer to create and let the muse take me wherever the wind blows. On occasion though, I will indulge myself if it happens to be in a place that I want to spend some time in, using the deadline factor as a way to motivate myself to produce more work in a single day than I usually do.

Such was the case this fall when I was told about a unique opportunity to paint for a few days in one of my favorite locations – Star Valley, Wyoming. Star Valley is a rural painter’s paradise, with rich farmland decked out in tractors and barns in every direction. There are also waterways that are very appealing, such as the Salt and the Greys rivers with their many spots to paint and fish to your heart’s content.

In the past, I hadn’t thought of this pristine valley as an art destination, but mostly as a place to run workshops and pass through on my way to Jackson Hole, which is only an hour and 15 minutes away by car. But then a painting buddy, David Dean, told me that they were about to hold their first-ever painting event and it piqued my interest.

Seems as though the Star Valley Arts Council and the newly opened Western Skies Gallery teamed up to put on this cozy event which is bound to grow as the word gets out there.

In retrospect, I had a blast, even though I spent most of the time on my own painting in this beautiful location. The evenings were mostly quiet, spent at a farmhouse with friends, David and Chris Brand, whose hospitality and friendship I appreciate; not to mention a seafood restaurant in town that rivals any crab shack that I spent time at the summer before along the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Yep, Star Valley has my vote!

For future information on this special event, send email to [email protected] or [email protected] or

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John Hughes teaches landscape painting classes for Salt Lake Community College and the Scottsdale Artist School, along with private art workshops and classes. His work is represented by Montgomery Lee Fine Art (Utah) and Mountain Trails Gallery (Wyoming). Hughes is a member of the Plein Air Painters of Utah, Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, and the American Impressionist Society. John’s work and art advice has been featured in Plein Air magazine, Fibonacci Fine Arts Digest, 15 Bytes magazine, Outdoor Painter, and Artists on Art. His work was recently featured in the book "Painters of the Grand Tetons" by Donna and James Poulton. He now maintains a studio in Taylorsville Utah, where he resides with his wife Teresa, four children, and two grandchildren.


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