Jackson artist paints contemporary wildlife portraits.
When Amy Ringholz paints, she’s rarely alone. Her Jackson, Wyoming, studio is on a ranch where she often sees elk or foxes in the yard or trumpeter swans flying overhead. When she works at night, an owl visits the log cabin barn. During the day, the wide garage door opens to longhorn cattle grazing in the field.
“It’s a really magical place,” Ringholz says. And a perfect setting for an artist known for her western art and animal depictions.
Originally from Ohio, Ringholz grew up sketching and drawing portraits. People often commented on the depth and emotion she created in her subjects’ eyes, even as a young child. In high school, she won a countywide art competition. Rather than pursue her art career in college, Ringholz studied art education. During her time teaching, however, she realized she also wanted to create.
“I was so jealous that the kids got to make art and I didn’t,” Ringholz says.
That’s when she decided to move out West. She ended up in Jackson with a job on a guest ranch where she did housekeeping in the morning and painting in the afternoon. That summer, she sold more than two dozen paintings to people she met.
“Little did I know at 24 that Jackson Hole is a huge western art market,” Ringholz says. “We’re the third largest in the country.”
She spent the next decade building her name and traveling to art shows across the West. At 34, she was the youngest featured artist in the noted Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival in 2012 and the first woman to receive the honor in 13 years. Now, at age 39, she is an internationally recognized artist and owner of Ringholz Studios.
Ringholz’s artwork is bright, colorful and contemporary. Her specialty is wildlife portraits, which she creates using a variety of media such as oil and ink on canvas, graphite and stain on paneling, and watercolor on paper. Her work often includes a spectrum of colors including bright earth tones, such as oranges, reds and yellows.
“People really love my color palette,” Ringholz says. “I’m not afraid of any color.”
Also signature to her style is her personification of animals. Each creature portrayed shows an emotion or story.
“People can all relate to animals sometimes easier than figures,” Ringholz says. “You look into the eyes of the animals and they’re all very deep and thought-provoking. They’re strong or they’re shy or they’re in love.”
Even though Ringholz is no longer a teacher, she is still inspiring students. She created the Ringholz Art Supply Award where she recognizes nine aspiring artists yearly and pays for some of their art supplies. “It’s the most rewarding thing I do,” Ringholz says. “I’m a big advocate for giving back and letting that cycle continue. I’ve been blessed and it has allowed me to bless other people.”
Ringholz will present her work again at this year’s Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival from Sept. 6-17.