Ed Peterson isn’t your archetypal artist, nor is he the typical painter Carrie Wild shows in her gallery.

Peterson hasn’t been toiling for years in a dingy studio, splashing oil paints over canvases and waiting tables while he waits for his big break. He isn’t some upstart kid.

Peterson is an octogenarian who stumbled into his career as an artist almost by accident. He came to the 2011 Fall Arts Festival — as a spectator, an art enthusiast — and visited Wild’s original gallery.

“I was painting, doing demonstrations, and he was asking me lots of questions,” Wild said.

Over the course of the nearly two-week festival, Wild meets dozens, if not hundreds, of people who ask about her work. Though she spent a good amount of time talking with Peterson, she cataloged the experience with the rest of the whirlwind that is Fall Arts Festival.

Fast forward, and Wild has moved into a new, larger space at the corner of Broadway and Glenwood Street, replete with welcoming windows and bright, natural light. While she was moving into the new location, Patterson walked through the doors. He told her that he had left that 2011 interaction feeling inspired, went home and took a painting class.

On his second visit, he brought with him a book of paintings he had made.

“They were really awesome. Like lots of color, lots of freedom, painting wildlife,” Wild said. “He’s doing some kind of Rothko-style pieces and just full of color, and just his enthusiasm over it was amazing.”

Peterson will be in Gallery Wild for a solo show during Palates and Palettes, his first as an artist. But he won’t be the only artist visiting the gallery for the festival because Wild has several coming into town.

Renowned sculptors Rip and Alison Caswell — who have close to 50 sculptures in the gallery — will visit Wednesday, Sept. 11, to talk about their wax sculpting technique. The Caswells ran a gallery in Jackson for about two decades before deciding they wanted more control over their work, so they hauled off to Troutdale, Oregon, just outside Portland, and opened a foundry.

Rip Caswell is “involved with the process, from the very start of the accretion to the very end,” Wild said.

For those who are more into brushwork, Wild will host a group show Friday, Sept. 13, an ominous date for the superstitious but “a good day for her,” that will include her, Patricia Griffin and Matt Flint, who are all wildlife painters. The trip represents the heart of Gallery Wild: The contemporary work plays with texture and color in ways that move beyond the stuffy confines of traditional wildlife art to something that melds a love of animals with a penchant for experimentation.

Griffin and Flint “are two artists I’ve really admired,” Wild said, “and I’m really excited that they’re in the gallery with me now.”

To cap the festival, Gallery Wild is hosting celebrations the last two days. On Saturday, Sept. 14, artists will filter in following the QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction to hang out in the gallery, and the following day, Wild will put out a brunch spread — complete with mimosas and bloody marys — to cap a wild couple of weeks and her first opportunity to show off her new gallery.

“I’m loving the location,” she said. “And I’m loving all the windows, how bright and airy it is.” 

Contact Tom Hallberg at fallarts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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