Essential Ground: From Prairies to Hills – The Landscapes of Jan Sohl

Detail from "Confluence of the Missouri and the White" by Jan Sohl

Detail from "Confluence of the Missouri and the White" by Jan Sohl.

Jan Sohl is forever becoming a landscape painter. Growing up, she watched her parents and grandparents make things and followed them on their adventures into South Dakota’s Black Hills and over the prairies and mountains to Yellowstone country. Jan believes the stories told by the magnificence of these landforms are significant in the compositions she builds in her paintings and drawings.

In defining where her inspiration comes from, Jan says, "I see something outside. I know this sounds crazy, but there's a flash of harmonic vibration in that scene, like a bright chord played by a symphony. The curtain goes up. Then the sketches and block-in are applied to find the way through the idea. The painting is built up, working the colors into the values. Then it seems the piece has to be deconstructed so the right harmonies balance with the necessary dissonance. And, if I let go, the music finds its symphony. It is preserved because it never comes again.”

Jan enjoys painting outside, ‘en plein aire’, whenever time is available. In September 2016, she participated in the 7th annual South Park Plein Air Arts Celebration in Fairplay, CO, where her pastel drawing, “Montgomery Falls Rapid,” won Best of Show. She has also participated in plein air paint-outs in the Black Hills and in the Harvey Dunn Plein Air Paint-Out in DeSmet, SD.

A signature member of Artists of the Black Hills, Jan participates in the professional artists’ association’s many events. Among the places her work can be seen is Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries in downtown Rapid City, SD.

The Center for Western Studies is proud to present "Essential Ground: From Prairies to Hills – The Landscapes of Jan Sohl" in the Madsen/Nelson/Elmen Galleries of the Fantle Building from February 6 through May 12, 2017. A gallery reception will be held Friday, February 24, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. UPDATE: The gallery reception, originally scheduled for February 24, which was postponed due to inclement weather has been rescheduled for May 11 from 5-7 p.m.