FAF Scott Christensen

Noted Teton Valley painter Scott Christensen will host open studios throughout the Fall Arts Festival. Contact the studio to see this piece, “Swiss Trail,” a 48-by-72-inch oil on canvas, and other works.

Whereas most people spend summer taking advantage of everything Jackson Hole, Scott Christensen decided to spend it in Norway.

He had been trying to go for about six years and was finally able to make it a reality in July, when he made friends and painted under the midnight sun.

“I started with Reine and went to different old fishing villages up there,” he said. “I met some people up there — an artist and geographer — and they hauled me around to paint, because the wife likes to paint, and that was a pretty amazing connection just out of the blue.”

So Christensen spent the time with fellow art lovers “painting literally all day,” and taking in the fishing villages, water and insane mountains and fjords that decorate the Viking landscape.

Christensen, who operates out of Victor, Idaho, has long been known as one of the country’s top landscape painters. But while others are interested in capturing the exact shade of gray on the Tetons or the predawn reds and yellows, he is interested in abstraction.

“I love abstraction in every piece of work,” he said. “It’s got to have it. You look at all the moving parts and the connectivity of it — it’s hard to put it together.”

Christensen views the landscape as pieces of a puzzle. He tried to combine it all in a way that not only captures the scene but elicits the emotion one feels when standing there, staring into the wilderness.

“I’ve done some nonobjective art and abstracted stuff to search out what I want aesthetically,” he said. “I’m always searching for a harmony and unity.

“I’m trying to evoke an emotion,” he said. “That’s way more important to me than trying to make a thing.”

During the Fall Arts Festival, fans will have the opportunity to discuss the artistic process with Christensen during open studios that will be available all week by appointment. Those interested can call the studio at 208-787-5851 or email art@chistensenstudio.com.

Besides the Scandinavian excursion, Christensen recently spent a great deal of time working on an exhibit for the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.

He is starting to prep for another exhibit and, as he put it, “just get things down on canvas.”

“I’m just trying to get ideas, and some of it comes together, some of it doesn’t,” he said. “I covered canvas, anyway.”

Christensen said he’s been working in various mediums, including gouache — a kind of watercolor that uses pure pigment with water — and he’s so enthusiastic about it that he can’t sleep.

“I get excited about all these new things, and it’s pretty lucky, you know,” he said. “There’s so many people who never find that thing they would like to do. I feel so lucky about that. I don’t have work — I get to.” 

Contact Isa Jones at fallarts@jhnewsandguide.com.

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