Finding Ourselves in Art

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” reads the Pablo Picasso quote that greets guests in the entry of Ed and Lee Riddell’s Jackson home

Ed and Lee not only collect art, they create art—their home was designed with a ground-floor studio space for Ed’s photography and Lee’s painting—plus a special room for Ed’s beloved turn-of-the-century 1950s Vandercook letterpress.

The Picasso quote could be the tagline to our Artful Living issue, featuring homes designed around art—and the homeowners who collect works through travel, gallery openings, commissions and friends—or by visiting top galleries all over the world via the Internet, like Tim Lowell in Larkspur

“Blue Spruce Sunset,” acrylic on  canvas, by Dan Gray, [Photo by Eleanor Williamson]

Agnes Bourne and Stu Plummer, neighbors to the Riddells, have curated a collection from family heirlooms, gifts from friends, travel and Agnes’ work as a designer and art enthusiast. Active philanthropists, they outfitted a ground-level apartment for artist residencies in Jackson. Agnes, passionate about the importance of art, shared a quote by Thomas Merton with me: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” She adds, “Everyone has the opportunity to live with art,” grand or simple, whether it’s a handful of wildflowers, lighting a candle, or a poem. 

When Jeremiah Young was in the midst of renovating a 1904 building in downtown Billings, Montana, he was inspired to create an art gallery in a narrow second-floor corridor. Stapleton Gallery was born in 2016, on a trajectory to become a world-class gallery. When I toured the space, I couldn’t help but wonder how Jeremiah does it all—he’s proprietor and creative director for Kibler & Kirch, creative director of Old Hickory Furniture Company, husband and father. It’s clear that he is fueled by passion for beauty and art.

Still, some of the most treasured art doesn’t come from a gallery at all—at home, a collage from my daughter hangs among the work of my favorite artists. Similarly, at the Lowell/Roberts Larkspur residence, a paint-splattered papier-mâché trophy head gifted to Lowell by his stepson occupies prime real estate in the kitchen space. And the Riddells, for all their museum-quality art collection, are quick to share a story about a cherished simple wreath of lilacs they found around their aspen tree from the neighborhood children. Priceless.

Some selections of my favorite works:

“Le Monde,” charcoal drawing on French newspaper,


“Einstein” (Fleabane Daisy), photograph, ©2011 Edward A Riddell,


“Orange Julius,”  oil painting, by Robert Spooner,
Categories: On Location