This week I want to note a handsome new book, “Plein Air Master and Mentor,” a suitable retrospective of artist Gregory McHuron.
He was an artist in every sense and meaning of that word. Art consumed him, inspired him and sustained him. He was a husband, provider, philosopher, rabble-rouser, good citizen, student and teacher.
Above all, he was an artist. There seemed to be no limit to the artistic endeavors Greg could master.
Greg, a master plein air painter, accepted his chosen technique, though it put him outside on any day throughout the year — and he lived many years in the high Rocky Mountains. Among other adaptations Greg switched from watercolors to oils when temperatures fell to 20 degrees or below.
Although he painted everywhere he went in his extensive travels, Greg became a Jackson Hole artist. His work, while individual, displays influence of earlier Jackson Hole painters.
This book was a final gift from Greg’s wife, Linda, a product of the author Susan Hallsten McGarry, with support by Peter Ward and Steve Datz. Congratulations to them, and thanks.
“Plein Air Master and Mentor: Gregory I. McHuron” can be purchased at local book stores or online.
We knew Greg and Linda, and I collaborated with Greg on a book titled “Birds of Sage and Scree.”
Being close with Greg was exhilarating and revealing, even during difficult times for each of us. Of course, we had support from many locals. One hesitates to try to name everybody who pitched in, but I must mention Peter Ward and Ken Thomasma. In “Sage and Scree,” Greg was in full control of each painting, demonstrating inspiration and excitement — while occasionally giving me a prod.
A remarkable guy.
Field notes: Most bird-watchers, amateur and professional, will be on the lookout for birds that have been displaced or killed by the hurricane winds and rain affecting the shore islands of the North American continent. There’s no way the 2017 hurricanes haven’t affected both seagoing and land birds.
Meanwhile, up here in the Rocky Mountains birds are getting ready to migrate. Some have already started.
Leine Stikkel and Ron Gessler each remarked that male hummingbirds are absent or few in number, having left on migration.
Leine reported seeing a Wilson’s warbler, a green-tailed towhee and a big flock of immature and adult yellow-headed blackbirds behind St. John’s Living Center.
Mary Lohuis saw two female Western tanagers Saturday.
Gerry Spence sighted a small flock of evening grosbeaks.
Mary Hunt reports spotting a fall catbird.
Some leaves are falling, some are changing, but most are green. There are some red maple bushes in the canyon.
Tim Griffith of the Teton Raptor Center, which is studying wildlife behavior from the Aug. 21 eclipse, offered the following update on the staff’s findings:
Of the 18 recorders that taped wildlife activity during the eclipse, all but one recorded no birds from about six minutes before totality until about six to 10 minutes after. The same is reported with most insects.
Red squirrels and an unknown species of chipmunk did not seem to notice the celestial event. They kept chattering even during totality, he reported.
Preliminary observations showed not all song birds sing dawn songs after totality; rather, it seems species specific.
Wolves and coyotes were confused and vocalized during and immediately following totality.
Nightjars were common just before and during totality, but disappeared shortly after totality ended.
The Raptor Center is trying to quantify these observations by listening to all of the recordings roughly 50 minutes before totality until approximately 50 minutes after, then comparing the same time period with the two days before and after eclipse.
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