Tag Archives: Plein Air

Grandma’s Pink Lilacs–Miniature Auction

IMG_3456

Grandma’s Pink Lilacs by Russell Ricks, 6″ x 4″, oil

I loved being at Grandma Samuelson’s house. We could be kids there. Noisy, rambunctious, active kids. Peace roses with their pink tipped yellow petals and noisy, rust-colored, yard-strutting roosters were both a part of the outdoor experience at Grandma’s house. There were cookies and cousins, bouncy beds and Lawrence Welk.

When the Aunties would come, it seemed like a gathering of the generations. They talked of family, both living and long passed on. They filled us with stories that gave us a glimpse of where we came from and who we would someday become.

This lovely little painting, Grandma’s Pink Lilacs, holds the memories of childhood in Grandma’s yard. We are excited to be auctioning it off this weekend. Follow the directions below and this little gem could be yours.

How the Auction Works

The auction will proceed as follows: 

  • You are bidding on the painting only, Unframed
  • Opening bid starts at $100 USD
  • Bids will go up in $25 USD increments, minimum
  • Place your bid in the “Comments” section of this blog post (above)
  • Highest bidder gets the painting. No holds.
  • The bidding for this painting will go from Thursday evening (6/28/2018) 7 pm MDT until 7 pm MDT Saturday evening (6/30/2018)
  • Shipping cost will be charged separately.

Once the bidding is closed, we will contact the highest bidder via email to arrange payment and to exchange shipping information.

Good Luck!!

 

 

IMG_3456.JPG
Advertisements

Don Ricks and His Legacy of Art

 

don-photo-004

Don Ricks (1929-1996) was often referred to as an artist’s artist. He was highly respected by his peers and aspiring artists, alike. Don grew up in the shadow of the Teton mountains. His humble beginnings as the son of a turkey farmer gave no indication that he would achieve the level of success that he did.

Ricks knew from an early age that he wanted to be an artist. His fifth grade teacher enlisted Don’s help to draw illustrations on the chalkboard for the class. This kept the active boy constructively occupied, and helped Don realize that he enjoyed creating art.

When Don graduated from high school, he went to Ricks College in Rexburg on a football scholarship. After serving a two-year LDS mission in Helsinki, Finland, Don returned to Ricks College. Here he met his beloved wife, Iris Hunter.

Over the next few years, Don and Iris pushed through the struggles of starting a family while attending college. They ended up at Utah State University in Logan, Utah where Don studied Studio Art.

Eventually, they found their way back to Rexburg where Don set up a sign shop. It was difficult in the beginning, but eventually the business took hold and Don was able to support his growing family.

Through it all, Don never lost sight of his desire to paint. His family always came first, but he knew there must be a way to take care of his family and paint, as well. And always by his side was his greatest ally, Iris.

In 1968, Don was introduced to Russian artist, Sergei Bongart.  Bongart invited Don to come to California to study with him and in 1970 he was finally able to go. Don came up with the idea to sponsor a plein air workshop in Idaho, with Bongart as instructor. As soon as the Rickses got home, Iris got to work making arrangements for a workshop. This would be the beginning of many more workshops known as Painting Vacations.

Painting Vacations evolved to be highly successful, on-location plein air workshops held in different spots around the western United States. Don eventually became the principle instructor, as well as Milford Zornes, watercolorist.

The Painting Vacations were a family affair, involving Don’s children, as well as Iris. Russ has fond memories of helping his dad’s workshop attendees set up their easels and then painting along with the rest of the class. He received a unique art education in this way.

Eventually, Don was able to give up the sign shop and focus entirely on his art career. His work has been collected throughout the world. Many of his paintings are now familiar prints that have found their way into homes and businesses.

Because he involved his family in his creative journey, his sons, Douglas, Russell, and Marty have all pursued art as a career. Douglas has since passed away, however, Russell and Marty are both actively following in their father’s footsteps, chasing their art with great passion.

Don Ricks was a man who worked hard at whatever he pursued. He was determined and passionate about his art. And now, his legacy lives on through his sons.

 

Falling in Love with Montana

When I was a teenager I visited Butte, Montana to spend my August birthday with my nephew who shares the same birth date. I remember thinking after that visit that Butte must be the ugliest place in the world. I couldn’t imagine anyone living there by choice. (Sorry, Butte fans, but that is how my teenaged self felt about it.) Through the years, as I would meet people who loved Montana and spoke longingly of going back to Big Sky country, I just didn’t get it. I thought they must be a little nuts.

Fast forward a few (ahem, 45) years and I have newly discovered Montana. My son and his wife moved to Kalispell, in the northwest region of the state. During my visit in September, I was amazed by the crystal teal-colored waters of Flathead Lake. Then I noticed that the rocks around the lake were teal and purple. Their color was reflecting through the clear water of the lake.

As if to welcome me to my new state of appreciation, an eagle flew along side our car and then disappeared over the trees. The sky, clouds and air were brighter and fresher than any I had ever experienced.

Thanksgiving brought with it some extra time off from our normal obligations, so Russ and I took advantage and headed back up to spend the holiday with our son and his family. Kalispell didn’t disappoint. Even though the weather was a bit chilly and foliage was heading into winter, we still saw plenty that was scenic and paintable.

I was so excited to show Russ this beautiful place! It turns out he had been here before as a teenager. His father held a painting vacation workshop at Flathead Lake, so Russ was quite familiar with its exquisite scenery.

We took a day to wander the galleries of Whitefish, just 15 minutes away from Kalispell. We met some great gallery people and saw some incredible art. We were planning a trip to Glacier National Park for the next Monday. When we walked in to the Walking Man Frame Shop & Gallery, they were just in the process of framing up some old prints of Glacier Park. The best conversation about Glacier, hiking, and plein air painting then ensued.

Peter, the owner of Walking Man, is a photographer. Daniel, his assistant, is a painter and digital artist. Both are in love with Glacier National Park. Daniel knew all the ins and outs and closures and habits of the park. He even enthusiastically offered to go paint with Russ anytime. The conversation ended with Peter telling us, “The sun is shining right now! You need to get your butts up there to paint!” Said like a true artist.

russes-camera-1128

We made it to Glacier on Monday. It was pretty chilly, fluctuating between 21° and 34° fahrenheit. The Thermos of hot chocolate that our daughter-in-law sent with us, and Russ’ ingenious setup for keeping his paint supple allowed him to paint as long as the battery held out.

storm-over-lake-mcdonald-12

The sun and cloud cover played hide-and-seek creating some stunning play of light through the low hanging clouds.  When we started out, there was just enough of a breeze to create little rippled waves across the lake, but not enough to make it unpleasant. Geese flew overhead and called from the opposite shore. Little nuthatches foraged and played in the trees, keeping me entertained while Russ painted.

By the time Russ was ready to pack it in, the wind had picked up and the temperature dropped dramatically. The waves across the lake became more brisk. It was beautiful. And cold.

Tuesday came and it was time to head back home to Utah. We had decided to make it a material-gathering drive home, so we had planned to stop whenever we saw something worthy. We were like cartoon characters, driving a short distance then pulling off, jumping out, and running around taking pictures. Drive a few more yards, pull off, jump out, run around. It literally took us two days to make a 12-hour trip.

There was one good stretch where the snow was coming down pretty heavy. The snow falling from the sky even looked different, more fluffy, more lovely than any I had ever seen before.

russes-camera-1273russes-camera-1267

Pine forests stood guard, keeping their treasure secret, until we snuck past them and discovered the lake hidden behind them. We saw lakes so still and clear that they gave a perfect reflection of the mountains and trees surrounding them. The snow created an almost dream-like effect. Fog clung to the surface of one lake, disguising where the lake ended and the fog bank began.

Never again will I wonder how anyone could love Montana. As John Steinbeck said, “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”