The Wild Side of Wyoming Inspires SEWE's Featured Artist

Kathryn Mapes Turner believes in painting what she knows. And as someone who was born and raised in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Turner knows the wildlife of the Grand Teton National Park. As is her habit, Turner rose on a December morning and was out in the park at daybreak photographing and drawing 40 moose as they grazed.

That kind of authenticity is clear in Turner’s paintings of wild horses, bears, birds and the mountains of Wyoming – and that’s what attendees at the 2018 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition Feb. 16-18 will see firsthand. Turner is the Featured Artist at the three-day event celebrating wildlife art, conservation and the sporting life.

Her painting titled “Unbridled” was selected as this year’s featured painting and can be seen on the official festival poster and other promotional materials. “Unbridled” depicts the wild horses that live in the wide-open spaces of the West.

“The featured painting is a powerful image and sets an exciting tone for the complete body of work yet to come,” says SEWE Executive Director John Powell. “We believe the subject and style of ‘Unbridled’ is going to resonate with an even broader audience.”

Turner grew up on a ranch in Wyoming, riding the trails of the valley and developing an appreciation for horses – both those on the ranch and the wild horses that run free.

“In the high desert plains of my native Wyoming, they live as mustangs, without domestication or fences,” Turner says. “Their range is as vast as the distant horizon line. In this image, I wanted to capture this wild freedom that is such a romantic notion in my own heart and one that expresses the spirit of the American West."

She adds, “I love horses and think they are an incredible combination of grace and power. They inspire my art.”

Turner’s father is a zoologist, so she comes by her love of animals honestly, she says with a laugh. Animals make up a large portion of Turner’s artwork as she strives to demonstrate just how important these creatures and their habitat are.

At the February event, attendees can meet Turner and view her wildlife paintings and landscapes – both of her beloved mountains and some Charleston landscapes she captured on a trip here in the fall. As an impressionist, Turner strives to capture the essence of the animals she paints.

Having been passionate about painting since childhood, Turner is now nationally recognized with top honors from the American Impressionist Society and the National Academy of Equine Art. Her work has been exhibited in the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Charlie Russell Museum and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Turner has been recognized as Wyoming Best Watercolor Artist in 2001 by the Wyoming Watercolor Society and was included in SouthwestArt Magazine's "Annual Profile of Young Artists with Promising Careers."

Turner’s original “Unbridled” painting will be available at auction during the VIP Preview Gala and Sale on Feb. 15. The poster is available for purchase on for $40.