Idaho, if anything, is a place you can count on to find some peace and quiet. There is little traffic, and ranks 39th on a list of populated states. It also has landscapes any outdoor enthusiast would adore. An outdoor enthusiast, or an artist. Jeff Hepworth is a landscape artist who works in oils. His art is on display at the Spori Art Gallery. The exhibit is called “Quiet Moments.”
Hepworth says his love of landscapes started when he was a child.
“My parents had a truck and camper with a large picture window over the cab and back in those days it wasn’t against the law to ride in a truck camper so I would lay on to[p and as we traveled down the road a lot of beautiful places I would just watch,” he said. “And I became mesmerized by the journey.”
He says his brothers and sister would usually sit in the back seats of the truck fighting and complaining about the trip while he would be enjoying himself looking at the scenery.
“I learned that the journey to the destination was actually one of the funnest parts for me.”
He also spent much of his time outdoors, “roaming the foothills of the Wasatch mountains with my bb gun and get in all kinds of trouble,” he told BYU-Idaho Radio chuckling.
Creating A Landscape
To create a painting, Hepworth says he uses three different methods.
1. Paints from a pencil sketch made on site
2. Paints from photographs taken
3. Paints in the open air
He says he often will make small brush paintings or sketches on site and then make his larger studio portraits from these small pieces done on site.
To choose the site he ultimately paints he says he and his wife travel a lot.
“So wherever I go I look for beautiful things and that’s what I paint, just anything that inspires me,” he said.
He says he finds himself drawn to mountain landscapes, so not too surprising, his favorite place to paint has been the Tetons.
“There are so many beautiful mountains in that area of the country and it’s not too far from our home,” said Hepworth, “it’s only about less than a three hour drive, so we frequent the Tetons.”
Advice to New Painters
His advice to new painters?
“Paint, paint, paint,” he said. “Learn from the problem solving that is in the process and learn from trial and error what works for you… just get in there and do it a lot.”
When he first started learning to paint he used to work exclusively in watercolor, and eventually switched to oils.
Although it doesn’t happen as often anymore if he ever paints something, and isn’t happy with the result then, he says, that is when he is happy he switched to oils.
“Oils are very forgiving, they give you a chance to think about the process and change the process and manipulate things more, whereas watercolor is very spontaneous, what you put down is what you are stuck with,” he said.
He recalls one painting he did soon after graduation and being married he painted a truck parked under a barn.
The painting had a lot of summer greens in it, Hepworth smiled and said “the greens got a little bit out of hand and I kept trying to correct them, over and over again. And it became very comical to the point I started to purposely make mistakes just out of the humor of the situation. I wish I still had that painting to this day, because even though it was the worst painting I ever did,” Hepworth said laughing. “It was a great learning experience and it humbled me.”
Teaching workshops he always wishes he still had that painting so he can show students that it is ok to have some flops.
What do you hope people feel when coming to view your art?
Hepworth says he hopes they feel the same way he does when creating the piece. “We have so many beautiful places in this world and I hope they make an emotional connection that says to them ‘there is a God there is a creator’ that’s why I think I make my paintings soft and quiet,” he said.
He says he feels the same just going out into the wild.
“When I go out into nature that is one of the most enjoyable things, is when you’re in a quiet place away from the traffic away from the noise, everything is just slowed down, your blood pressure lowers and you just make that connection,” he said.
Hepworth’s art will be on display in the Spori Art Gallery until October 25, 2018.