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Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational returns Sept. 24-29

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An artist paints a scene near Madison Junction during last year’s Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational. The event will return to Yellowstone Park this September. NPS PHOTO

By Christine Gianas Weinheimer EBS CONTRIBUTOR

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park are invited to be part of the second annual Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational Sept. 24-29, and help celebrate the current and historical presence of art in the park.

During this unique event hosted by Yellowstone Forever—the park’s official nonprofit partner—sixteen of the nation’s best artists will paint “en plein air,” or outside on-site, in various locations throughout the park. Visitors have the opportunity to attend daily painting demonstrations and other art activities, including a “Paint-Out” at Madison Junction on Saturday that gathers all the artists, who will have 2 hours to complete a painting of Yellowstone.

A selection of the artists’ “wet paintings” produced during the week will be displayed alongside studio-produced pieces at the Old Faithful Lodge Recreation Hall. This artwork will be available for viewing and purchase at a ticketed event on Saturday, Sept. 28 and for the general public on Sunday, Sept. 29. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Yellowstone National Park priority projects and education initiatives.

Accomplished painter and distinguished museum director Ian McKibbin White will judge the art entries, in addition to giving the keynote address at the banquet.

Artists at this year’s event will travel from as far away as Texas and California. All 14 artists from the 2018 Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational will return this year, along with two new artists: John Cogan and John Potter.

John Cogan of Farmington, New Mexico, paints the landscapes and wildlife of the American West in a unique style that has become known throughout New Mexico and the Southwest. A multi-year participant of the annual plein air events at Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, Cogan has won awards at both events. In January of 2019, Cogan was chosen as an Associate Living Master by the Art Renewal Center, an honor that places him among the most important representational artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

John Potter of Red Lodge, Montana, spent 20 years as an award-winning illustrator before committing his attention to painting full-time in 2002. Often painting en plein air in the rugged mountain landscapes of the American West, Potter brings his small outdoor studies home, where they are then used as reference to create his larger studio works. He has participated in shows and exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is represented by galleries in Red Lodge, Jackson, Big Sky, Cody and Santa Fe.

Maps of artist demonstration locations will be available the week of the event at all of Yellowstone Forever’s Park Stores.

Visit for more information including a full list of artists and a detailed schedule.

Christine Gianas Weinheimer lives in Bozeman and has been writing about Yellowstone for 17 years.

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