After nearly 60 years of painting, Joanne Hennes is still searching for the perfect view.
Her career as a realist landscape painter has taken her from the Alps of Switzerland to the deserts of Egypt to the New Zealand wilds andthe volcanic peaks of Hawaii, where she found inspiration in the towering mountains, jungles and rugged coastlines.
In her early 80s her passion for exploring remains intense: She took a camping trip last summer that inspired her latest series of oil and watercolor landscapes.
She and her group reserved a campsite in Grand Teton National Park, where they trekked in with pack horses and stayed overnight to hike and explore some of the rarely seen off-the-beaten-track trails and places surrounding Solitude Lake.
This year, using walking sticks with rubber tips, Hennes and crew crossed the slippery rocks of Cascade Creek and explored territory where she and many others she knows had never been.
Looking down the hills through the fields of wildflowers she captured a view of the lake from above that struck her as she pulled out her materials and began to paint.
“I’ve never seen it painted from this particular angle,” she said, excitedly, and has spent the past several months recapturing scenes from that camping trip, including a 24-by-34-inch oil of Lake Solitude.
Sounding a lot like a professional botanist as she rattled off the names all of the wild flowers, foliage and trees in that populate her paintings, and limited-edition lithographs and giclees, Hennes described the many facets of nature that drive her creativity and draw her outdoors.
“I just love nature and being outdoors,” she said. “It’s always interesting.”
Having moved to Jackson nearly a half century ago, Hennes and her husband, Wayne, built a nature refuge on the lot they bought at the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club off Spring Gulch Road. Surrounded by spruce trees, boulders, a waterfall and a stunning view of the Tetons, Hennes built a studio next to the house where she derived daily inspiration from the natural beauty surrounding her.
The couple split their time between Wyoming and a condo in Hawaii, where Hennes still shows her work as well as at galleries throughout the West.
Locally, Hennes has left her mark on a number of Jackson landmarks, including commissioned wildflower paintings for each of the 37 cabins at Grand Teton Lodge Company, as well as an oil painting of Lake Solitude for the Moose Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park.
Every year during the Fall Arts Festival, Hennes enjoys having the opportunity to invite guests out to her home and grounds, and her studio and gallery, which along with her own work also features the work of painters Archie Teater and Conrad Schwiering, Wyoming bronze sculptors Rose Cash and Pershing Geiger, glass sculptor Karen Ladd and Choctaw-Cherokee potter Paul Hacker. This year she hopes to include her collection of woven baskets from the 1800s, which were recently appraised on the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow.”
Hennes’ studio is a 15-minute drive from Town Square. It is accessible from two roads: Spring Gulch Road off Highway 22 or off Highway 89/189/191 just south of Jackson Hole Airport. ￼