Yellowstone’s beauty has inspired the works of innumerable artists over the last 150 years. Three that stand out to us are Ann Justin, Jennifer Johnson, and Todd Connor—all of whom show during Western Art Week in Great Falls. These professionals are responsible for the artworks featured on the preceding pages. If their art moves you, discover what moves them:
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Todd Connor has lived and painted in Montana for most of his professional career. His love of the outdoors grew from a childhood spent camping, hunting, and fishing. At the age of twelve he started painting in pastels and oils.
After high school, Todd took time away from his art to serve as a Navy SEAL. He then traveled the country visiting historical sites and National Parks, where his love of history and the outdoors came together with his desire to pick up the paint brush again.
Todd received a BFA in Illustration from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1997. After graduation, he worked as a color board painter for Universal Studios Japan theme park project. In 1999, Todd made the move to Montana painting full time where he was met with much success.
His work is shown in many museums, including The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Briscoe Museum in San Antonio. He is a member of the C.M. Russell Museum Skull Society of Artists, which represents the legacy of Charlie Russell and the American West.
His work is found in many private collections including Stan Kroenke, Tom Brokaw, and Montana Governor Greg Gianforte.
For more information, visit toddconnorstudio.com.
Jennifer Johnson spent her childhood summers camping and hiking all over the United States and the National Parks with her family. It was Jennifer’s father, a plant pathologist with the U.S. government, who first got Jennifer hooked on nature and landscapes.
Jennifer received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas in 1996. She was directed into the Graphic Design field and put down the canvas and paint for computers. Her career took a different direction in 1999 when she took a leap of faith to start her own faux painting business. She applied and painted custom wall finishes in private homes, including Italian inspired plasters and murals. To remain on
the cutting edge of the faux painting market, Jennifer studied in Italy with a master faux finisher and muralist.
This experience renewed her desire to paint landscapes.
For the last twenty years, she has balanced being a mother and a landscape/wildlife painter. She enjoys Plein air painting and the challenge of capturing an ever-changing and nuanced scene. Her work is displayed in permanent collections, including the Famous Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole, and her most recent honor was induction into the prestigious Russell Skull Society of Artist with the CM Russell Museum.
For more information, visit jenniferjohnsonstudio.com.
Before she was an esteemed pastel artist, Ann Justin was a photographer and theatrical costume maker. Photography developed her eye for composition, while her years working in costuming developed her drawing skills and an understanding of color.
Since 2005, Ann has lived in Bozeman, less than 100 miles from Yellowstone’s entrance. While she has traveled to the park many times, one of the most impactful experiences she’s had there was a plein air painting trip led by artist Aaron Schuerr. They hiked, camped, and painted—capturing the beauty of this unique environment.
Ann has enjoyed many adventures in Yellowstone since. The changing of the seasons, the park’s hydrothermal features, and area wildlife bring new sights year after year. In September 2019, Ann was selected as a guest artist at Old Faithful, through Yellowstone Forever.
Recently, she has been exploring Native American traditions through modern- day powwow celebrations. She loves the intricate regalia and the dances, and enjoys recreating them in pastel.
For more information, visit annjustinpastels.com.