Floating Glacier's Middle Fork
30" x 36"
The work above appears in the
2017 A Timeless Legacy
exhibit and sale.
Linda Tippetts is an award winning artist and native Montanan with a direct and personal connection to this landscape, one of the last vestiges of wilderness remaining in the West. One of six children, she grew up working beside her father on their ranch where she formed an intuitive relationship with the land.
Tippett’s passion for art began when she was accepted into a fine arts correspondence course. While living near Choteau, Montana and raising three children, she successfully completed the program. She learned her craft well, and took on a life in art with an unrivaled blend of natural ability and the work ethic of a Montana rancher.
She feels plein air painting is the most honest approach to art. “It’s pure dialogue between the artist and the subject,” she says. “The Rocky Mountain Front where I was born and raised embraces the essence of this philosophy. I seek to continue this dialogue and expand its scope.” In her plein air study of the historic Belton Bridge Tippetts felt there was an opportunity to incorporate elements of design. “It’s a challenge to let design be the ruling factor and still reveal reality.”
Tippetts is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of America and is perhaps one of the best-known artists of Glacier National Park. Among many awards highlighting her twenty-five year career is the 1992 National Arts for the Parks Academy Grand Prize for her painting, East Slope Tunnel On Going-to-the-Sun.
Tippetts has many stories to tell about her painting trips into Glacier National Park. Once, after spending the night in her car, she awakened to find she could not see out of the car windows. It seems the windshield was covered in ash from the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Another tale involves being pelted by pebbles thrown down on her by people at the top of a waterfall - to warn her of a grizzly bear watching her paint. She tells about another close call when she was forced to leave her painting spot by a ranger who alerted her to the imminent danger of an avalanche.
When Tippetts talks about her painting style, she uses terms like impressionist and representational, but feels the underlying strength has to come from an abstract design. “Abstraction to me is design. I like the feeling when I look at a painting, I don’t want to see the labor that went into it. I want it to be fresh and honest and immediate.” She feels that painting on location provides that immediacy, as you have to paint quickly. “The process is driving around, hiking around and constantly looking for that ‘aha’ moment that says I want to paint this.” One of these moments occurred at Iceberg Lake. “The inspiration, after a healthy hike, became the incredible light. I minimized most elements that could be minimized and concentrated on the light. The icebergs were plentiful – you never know until you see it ‘in the moment’.”
The above is an excerpt from the A Timeless Legacy – Women Artists of Glacier National Park book published by the Hockaday Museum of Art, Copyright 2015. Copies of the book are availabe in the Museum's gift shop and for online purchase here.