Visual Arts

From the Maynard Dixon Camp Out

The annual weeklong Maynard Dixon Camp Out event in Mount Carmel invites artists from Utah and beyond to exhibit their works in the Maynard Dixon Gallery and participate in the “Wet Paint” sale in the restored Maynard Dixon studio. They can also present workshops, participate in panel discussions and do free demonstrations of their work. Sales commissions of 35% go to the nonprofit Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, established by Susan and Paul Bingham to preserve and maintain the Maynard Dixon home and property, and to encourage creativity and camaraderie among artists, and exposure to collectors and the general population. The Bingham’s chose the name of the foundation because Maynard Dixon always included the Native American symbol for the thunderbird with his signature on paintings.

Utah artist David Estes heard about this event last year and was eager to come. One of the reasons he gave was …”It’s time away from my studio!” Being here encourages him to step out of his comfort zone (still life) and be outdoors enjoying the landscape and tackling the challenge of the changing light on the scenes he paints. He tells us that he will definitely be back next year.

Susan Gallacher, artist, teacher and owner of Salt Lake City’s Kings Cottage Gallery, has been here several times and taught a three-day workshop this year and is presenting her works done this week in the Wet Paint sale tomorrow, at the Maynard Dixon studio. She is drawn to the beautiful environs that continue to inspire her plein air work every year. She knows every inch of the property restored by the Thunderbird Foundation, and a lot of the history therein.

Three sisters from Park City, Kansas and Hawaii (they call themselves the Dolsberry girls) gathered here for the first time because, as one of them put it, “it’s been on my bucket list to take a workshop from Peggy Kroll Roberts. We’ve been doing her online classes forever and love her work.”

There is something for everyone here, even if you are not painting. The artist demonstrations are available to all, there are social events hosted by the Binghams, such as a Dutch oven dinner, a pizza night, a meet-and-greet gathering, a reception and, of course, the Wet Paint sale. Guest artists scurried to finish up their week’s worth of plein air paintings and hang them for the sale.

Well-known California artist John Burton created a 40″ x 20″ oil painting in a demo on June 23rd in one and a half hours, painting to classical music, as he wanted to replicate the environment in his studio at home. His commentary was instructive, funny, philosophical, and humble. He paid special homage to nationally acclaimed artist Mian Situ, who was in the audience.

Another well-known artist, Lorenzo Chavez, came from Colorado and gave a three-day workshop, exhibited in the Maynard Dixon Gallery, and has his work in the Wet Paint sale. He learned about Maynard Dixon from a friend in the 1990s, and that was a big part of his reason to leave his career in graphic design and focus on fine art.

During the campout, Utah artist Shanna Kunz exhibited in the Gallery and gave a talk to other artists about the benefits of using social media to increase the exposure of their work to get themselves known and their work shown. She is also in the Wet Paint sale.

A panel discussion, “Taking Your Art to the Next Level,” moderated by Idaho artist Lori McNee, was presented by artist and gallery owner David Ericson, artists Eric Bowman and Gary Ernest Smith, and Los Angeles art adviser Lui Antal Deák.

The combination of local, national and international artists here makes this event a unique opportunity for the exchange of ideas and learning from one another in a very welcoming environment. Everyone here, guest artists, invited artists, people accompanying visiting artists, are encouraged to vote by ballot for the artist they think has the best body of work in the Gallery, which makes for exciting speculation. Winners were announced at the Friday evening artists’ reception— Utahn John Poon, first prize, Texan David Griffin, second prize.

There are approximately 150 artists here this year. Most are Utahns, but there are plenty of others who find this event very much worth their while to travel here. The list of artists from Utah includes Bonnie Posselli, Doug Braithwaite, Jeff Pugh, Spike Rees, Joshua Baird, G. Russell Case, George Handrahan, and many more.


The 2016 Maynard Dixon Camp Out took place Monday, June 20, to Saturday, June 25 at the Maynard Dixon property in Mt. Carmel, Utah. To learn more about the event and the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts visit

Categories: Visual Arts

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