More than 50 artists gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for Plein Air Fest at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. It would be a challenge to not enjoy that landscape and that event, but the winners in the competition may have had wider smiles than the rest of the participants.

Dee Parker and Nance Franklin. Photo by Molly Moore

Mark Kelso working on his piece at Plein Air Fest

Greg Scheibel, of Montana, won Best of Show; part of his award is a full-page ad in PleinAir magazine. Organizers estimate that more than 1,000 people stopped at the museum to catch the event. Artists raved about the experience.
“I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that it was a blast,” says Mark Kelso, one of the participating artists. “Most of the artists knew one another, and the laughing, the joking, the shop talk all started instantly upon our arrival and continued throughout the day. Visitors to the museum strolled around the grounds throughout the morning, watching the artists work, talking with us, and in some cases eyeing select pieces that they hoped to bid on in the afternoon. Some artists chose to paint the view of Flat Creek and the mountains from the trail. Others turned toward the museum to paint the building itself and the surrounding landscape, while others still chose to paint more intimate subjects, including a live female model and a rider on horseback.”

Charles Dayton and Chad Poppleton. Photo by Molly Moore

 More than 50 artists participated in Plein Air Fest. Photo by Molly Moore

Participating artists worked on their paintings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A silent auction followed the painting session.
“While I was happy to have helped raise funds for the museum through the sale of the work, I’d have to say that what I enjoyed the most was simply getting together with so many friends for a day of painting,” Kelso says. “It’s a joy to paint outdoors, especially with weather and scenery like we had. But those kinds of experiences are made all the better when I can do that with others who are so skilled and as passionate about their work as I am. Great people, great place, and great art — tough to beat.”

The public takes in the work on display at Plein Air Fest, at the National Museum of Wildlife Art

Greg Scheibel with the piece that earned him Best of Show honors. Photo by Molly Moore


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