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Mystical American Rivers Can Run Through Your Living Room
December 1, 2022
Mystical American Rivers Can Run Through Your Living Room
Dave Hall, who has gained renown as "the painter of Greater Yellowstone rivers," is on a quest to protect the ecosystem one great riverscape at a time. You can join him
"Dawn in Lavender," a painting by Dave Hall. You can put a signed, limited edition reproduction of this work on your wall. Of the inspiration for the scene, Hall writes: "For years I've hiked with friends and camped in a favorite Yellowstone location, along the banks of a favorite Yellowstone creek (both of which shall go unnamed)—there I've seen wolf tracks in the gravel meanders and over the years grizzly mothers have taught their cubs the ways of the world in the meadows. We are visitors to their wild home. A painting is a good way to experience their place without taking from it. This work celebrates the sunrise."
We all are drawn to those ethereal spacial maws—the pulse, rhythm, serenity, the constant shape-shifting of wild water and the terrain that holds it..
The trancelike allure of being by a river, lake or sea is impossible to put in words. Somehow, Dave Hall delivers us into them through his tranquil portrayals of Greater Yellowstone's watery landscapes. A year ago, Hall made available exclusively to Mountain Journal supporters a small number of limited-edition, hand-signed reproductions of some of his impactful originals that exist today only in private collections. Each scene came with a classic rustic frame.
Hall generously has decided to do the same again. Learn more by clicking here. His paintings look great on any wall. Fine art also makes for great gifts if you want to leave a positive impression on a loved one, and, best of all, they're daily reminders of Greater Yellowstone as a fountainhead not only for American wildness but as the headwaters of three great river systems that originate in the ecosystem—the Snake-Columbia; Upper Green-Colorado; and Yellowstone-Missouri-Mississippi.
Think of it this way: tens of millions of people who live downstream may not realize that the water flowing out of their tap might have originated on the slope of a mountain where a wild grizzly or howling wolves or bugling elk might have left tracks in the mud. His paintings capture such places.
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Ancient Greeks invoked the metaphor of flowing water as an allusion to time passage, to changing currents, as in life, being one of the truest constant elemental forces leaving us humbled, and to fluidity connecting past, present and future.
Hall is called to the near-mythic rivers of Greater Yellowstone for myriad reasons. Besides their almost sacred status to him as a fly fisher and naturalist, and the dynamic fusion of their aesthetic expressions, he as a painter sees rivers as meditations for pondering the meaning of wildness. He paints in oil, but he also is in a way a water colorist.
While many people dream of dwelling near stretches of the main Snake, Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Wind, Boulder and Henrys Fork—among numerous smaller others—the fact is most will not. You cannot "own" the place but you can bring the spirit of venerated lifelines into your homes or office through a Hall painting.
As part of a new collaboration between Hall and Mountain Journal that invites our reflection on how art can aid the cause of wildlands conservation, Hall sees journalism as being an essential vehicle for elevating public awareness. Art by Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson convinced Congress to create Yellowstone; decorative duck stamps have saved millions of acres of wetlands; and it has advanced the cause of public support for environmental protection in ways little else has.
This piece, titled "Harriman Morning," is not part of the "Greater Yellowstone Suite" art for enhancing great journalism collaboration with Dave Hall but it is an example of a work that has drawn national praise for the painter. The large original painting is in the collection of the great, great granddaughter of Union Pacific railroad executive E.H. Harriman after whom a popular wildland state park is named in Island Park, Idaho located in the western quadrant of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
MoJo is hoping to expand its reporting ranks and Hall is enabling those who appreciate fine art to help make it happen as part of what he calls “a quadruple win” opportunity. Click here to see how.
Those who make a $1,000 contribution to Mountain Journal will: 1. Be able to select one of Hall’s five soothing river scenes, part of his acclaimed “Greater Yellowstone Suite Series” and made available as limited edition giclees. 2. Know that part of the contribution is tax-deductible (MoJo is a non-profit 501 (c)(3)) and it will be doubled by NewsMatch through the end of 2022. 3. Your generosity will help expand MoJo’s coverage of critical environmental issues threatening the ecological integrity of Greater Yellowstone. And, 4, lastly and perhaps best of all, your painting will inspire you ever day of the year.
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In one of Hall’s tonal visions conveying moods as Mark Rothko did in his banded color fields, a river can run through the living room; it can bring happy pause to the foyer, spark an idyl yearning late at night before dreamtime and, if this artist has his way, convince we viewers to more heartfully contemplate what must be done to protect their corridors of liquid sustenance that hold Greater Yellowstone together.
Wilkinson and Hall first got together at the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Center in Montana’s Centennial Valley nearly a decade ago when Hall was an artist in residence. Today, Hall divides his time between Salt Lake City where he once taught at Rowland Hall, and a retreat in the woods around Island Park, Idaho not far from the banks of the Henrys Fork. And he recently joined the MoJo board of directors.
“We’re losing the essence of Greater Yellowstone and the pace of it started to accelerate amid Covid which brought an inundation of more people,” Hall says. “One of the best, most-effective lines of defense, if we have any hope to saving the specialness of the region is to have a well-informed public that cares enough to become an advocate for Greater Yellowstone’s protection,” he says.
Peruse Hall's paintings and a description in his own words of what inspired them. With the holiday season approaching, they are certain to be in demand. “I am honored to to be able to offer 15 paintings—from five signed reproductions of my favorites these last two decades,” Hall says. “All are archival prints on canvas. I designed the frame after the California landscape craftsman frames of the middle 1900s. I have done all the staining and finishing.”
For a peek at Hall''s larger portfolio of new original works, pieces that are today part of major personal collections and commissions, click here.
#1 Dawn on the Henry’s Fork (below)
"Dawn on the Henry’s Fork is a large painting," Hall notes. "I painted it in an afternoon, which is very rare for me. I tend to be more methodical, while still conscious of mood. Dawn took on a life of its own."
#2 Morning on the North Fork (below)
"Morning on the North Fork was painted after a walk alone below Big Springs in Greater Yellowstone’s western tier. I had forgotten my bear spray, which heightened the experience. I like the palette — more vibrant than much of my work."
#3 Thinking of the River (below)
"Thinking of the River was painted for an auction supporting the Henry’s Fork Foundation. It represents favorite locations on the River, where I spend most summer days longing for trout to rise. It’s a rare mid-day painting."
#4 "Dawn in Lavender" (see at top of story)
#5 Summer’s Coming (below)
Summer’s Coming is no specific location. It was painted during the early spring as I looked forward to summer’s mayfly hatches. I love the early morning mist on Greater Yellowstone’s moving water.
POSTNOTE: Some of the works above are part of personal and public collections. Only 15 smaller reproductions are available as part of Hall's special offer to benefit MoJo. They won't last long. We are grateful for your support.