Adventures in the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes

Hauling Gear Sand in everything; tents, shoes, teeth, food...  Hauling and filtering every drop of drinking water...  Hot sun and cold rain...  At one point I counted and found I was wearing seven layers of clothing; everything I had brought with me but a few extra pairs of socks!  Yet, last month, in the Kobuk Valley National Park,  I had one of the best adventures of my life as an Artist-in-Residence painting in the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes.

The Dunes cover an area over 25 miles square and are ever-changing in the constant wind. Bordering the dunes are tributaries to the great Kobuk River, alive with Grayling and surrounded by dense willow shrub and forests of black spruce.  On the dunes, tiny flowers and hummocks of grass stand high on pedestals carved Painting Setup by the scouring wind.  Towering over all, enormous clouds sail across the sky, trailing showers and rainbows, receding into distant horizons all around.  It was a painter's paradise.  If all goes according to plan, I'll present the 18 paintings I began on the Kobuk in a show next March.  Meanwhile, I continue to prepare for a show with the Alaska State Museum, opening this November 4th.  

Thanks for checking in!  


Springtime in Juneau


Spring is roaring in to Juneau like a pride of lions.  Winds gusting through town at 90 mph send the snow into deep drifts.  Snow plumes shoot off the mountain tops while below, on Gastineau Channel, speeding whirlwinds suck icy water far into the sky.  Not a good time to paint outdoors, but lucky me, to have this view framed by my studio window!  

This Friday, March 4th, we are opening a new show in the Franklin Street Gallery at the Baranof Hotel.  The Baranof will offer a wine-tasting and Barbara Craver, Puanani Maunu, Jane Stokes and I will be hosting an open studio in the gallery. 

Come in out of the cold and try your hand at the watercolor, acrylic painting, and pastel work stations that will be set up.  Art activities and wine tasting will be from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.  I hope you can come!


Gallery Walk 2010

IMG_7057Thanks, everyone, for coming to my show last November.  In fact, I would like to thank all of you who have encouraged me and supported my painting throughout my career.  I'm about to embark on a year of painting full time, not just because I've always wanted to say, "I'm taking a sabbatical," a phrase that sounds so incredibly civilized, but also because the timing is right.  I launched the year with my show at the Canvas Gallery last month. This month I'll have new work for the annual Gallery Walk in the Franklin Street Gallery at the Baranof Hotel.

Every year, I am impressed by how many people show up at galleries all over Juneau, eager and joyful, full of holiday spirit, in support of Alaska's art and artists.   I hope you can join me and the other Baranof Gallery artists for our Gallery Walk reception on Friday, December 3rd, from 4:30 to 8:00 pm.  Meanwhile, you can see my new paintings in the photo album labeled 2010 Gallery Walk.  

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Very Happy New Year!


Can't Say No!

Learning to say Yes! has brought some crazy wonderful experiences into my life; my recent visit to Romania has to be one of the very best examples of positive reinforcement ever.  What a treat to visit such a beautiful part of the world, to meet so many interesting people, and to paint just a tiny bit of the life of the village where I stayed.  As usual, when I travel, I brought way more art supplies than I used. There were just too many temptations!  


Several of my little paintings became thank-you gifts to my generous hosts, but most of them just didn't get made.  On this trip I learned that a quick sketch might be all I'd have time for. I may not have as many paintings as I would like, but my sketchbook runneth over.  

I've got an exhibit opening at the Canvas Gallery this Friday, November 5th, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.This show will include my little paintings from Romania as well as recent work from Juneau.

Click on the 2010: Canvas Gallery photo album to your left to see work that will be in the show. Tom Locher will be there, at the piano, bringing elegance to the reception and I hope you can be there, too.  

Tiny Miracles


Summer is over; the days are shorter, the breezes chillier, and the air is pungent with the fragrance of Autumn.  The delightful blossom of Spring has packed the full potential of next year's summer season into one tiny miracle; a seed!  

In the last few weeks I've worked at the Jensen Arboretum, in the fields of fireweed near Brotherhood Bridge, and in my own yard, painting fruits and berries, seeds and pods, trying to catch that sense of life and regeneration that comes with the turn of the seasons. 

Poppy Pods Small My new paintings will be on display at the Franklin Street Gallery starting September 3rd, and, to make this First Friday especially elegant, Tom Locher will be there, at the piano, and a free wine tasting will be offered by the Baranof Hotel.  

You can see photographs of some of my work at the Franklin Street Gallery in the Photo Album to your left, but I think it would be even better if you could come down to join the party on Friday!

One of a Kind

IMG_4945On Friday, August 6th, the Baranof Hotel, a classic art-deco style hotel built in Juneau in the 1930's, celebrates the opening of The Franklin Street Gallery at the Baranof, Juneau's newest fine arts gallery.  

Featured artists at Friday's opening include Barbara Craver, Cristine Crooks, Colleen Goldrich, Pua Maunu, Jane Stokes and me!  We'll be in good company at the Baranof; the hotel owns and displays a collection of paintings by many well known Alaskan artists, including Sydney Laurence and Eustace Ziegler.  

The distinguishing feature of this new gallery is that it will show only original work.  These days, with so many prints being made in such large editions, this is an unusually strong statement of appreciation for the exclusive quality of art that is not produced for the masses; original art is created one piece at a time.  A painting or piece of jewelry or pottery that is the only one of its kind has an added value; it is imbued with the mystery of creation.

I hope that you can come to the Franklin's First Ever First Friday.  The reception will be from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Franklin Street Gallery at the Baranof Hotel in Juneau, Alaska. 

Once in a Blue Moon

IMG_5706It isn't very often I get to participate in two art shows in one month or have the fun of celebrating two openings of the same show!  This month, however, it seems I will have the double pleasures twice!

First, on Monday, a number of artists and other interested folks gathered at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center to see my paintings from Petrified Forest National Park and to talk about Artist-in-Residence Programs. 

Here are some links I shared on Monday: The National Park Service Artist-in-Residence ProgramTransArtists, and Res Artis.  What fun it is, to explore these sites, and see how many opportunities exist for artists in this country and all over the world!  

After the first wave of educationally-oriented folks drifted away, a whole new crowd came in and we started the party all over again.  Thanks, everyone, for coming!

Next up, this Friday, an opening of a show by Juneau's Plein Rain Painters We're having a group show at the Canvas Gallery and we're celebrating with two openings.  The first will be our "soft" opening, Friday, July 2nd, and then on Friday, July 9th, we'll have another to coincide with a city-wide Second Friday.

I've posted my paintings for this show in the 2010 Canvas/Plein Rain photo album on this page.  Thanks so much, as always, for your interest in my work!

Thank You, Teddy!

IMG_4919Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and other like-minded conservationists, our country has a wealth of National Parks preserving wilderness and historic sites that otherwise could easily have been lost forever.  What joy, to visit these enchanted places, to see the beauty that was once all around us, and to know these sanctuaries exist to protect flower, bird and beast, and every tree and rock, from the ravages of human expansion and development.

Thanks to a great Artist-in-Residence program sponsored by our National Parks, I spent a few weeks last fall focused exclusively on painting in Petrified Forest National Park.  Petrified Forest is small treasure, not much more than 25 miles end to end, but full of delights.  Traveling from north to south you can visit the Badlands, the historic Painted Desert Inn, archeological sites with petroglyphs and pueblos, and, of course, the Petrified Forest, a desert landscape littered with fallen tree trunks turned to stone in every shade of the rainbow.


On Monday, June 28th, I'll be showing my desert paintings and sharing what I've learned about the AIR program at the Arts Roundtable at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, from 5 to 7pm.  My paintings will be on display in the JACC Gallery for one day only; I hope you can stop by!

Check out the photo album to your left for a preview of the show.

Wandering in the Desert

From Blue Mesa I, 2009, Acrylic on Canvas, 18Well, no, I haven't been wandering in the desert since September, but when I was there, I really did lose myself in the experience.  It was a step out of my busy life into timelessness; never before have I had the luxury of time for my art that I experienced there.  As a painter in Southeast Alaska, I am often working out in the cold or in the rain, conditions that tend to hurry a painter who works in the field.  In Arizona, warm and dry, and entirely on my own, I had the time and freedom to explore the rough beauty of the desert without any sense of urgency.  I was able to sink slowly into a whole new kind of interaction with the landscape. 

One evening after painting several hours on top of Blue Mesa, I watched a storm rise in the distance and sweep across the landscape right towards me.  I was alone up there, all the other visitors to the park long gone.  The wind raced in, gusting hard.  The sun broke through the storm clouds now and then, back-lighting huge drops of rain coming down in sheets all around the mesa, but never where I was standing.  At first glance, the desert might seem like a big empty space, but at that moment, it was charged with energy, full of glory, and inspiring in every way.

I've posted a few of my paintings from my experience as Artist-in-Residence at Petrified Forest National Park and a few of the photos of my trip to and from Arizona in the photo albums.

On the Road Again

IMG_2826  It's been nearly 30 years since my sister and I last visited the Great Southwest; America's red rock country, land of the pinyon pine-juniper forests, sagebrush, bluebirds, and starry nights. I'm on my own this time, en route to Petrified Forest National Park,where I'm honored to have been chosen as one of the Park's official artists-in-residence. 

After an incredibly beautiful sailing down the Inside Passage on the MV Columbia, I've camped my way across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah to Arches National Park, then to Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park.  Tomorrow I'll pass through a small corner of New Mexico on the way to Arizona and my little adobe house in the park.

I look forward to working in such a different environment, meeting visitors to the park, and encouraging them to pick up a brush and join me in my efforts to paint the painted desert.

Ready, Set, Show!

8 Poet, 2009, Acrylic on Canvas, 18It's been a real challenge putting together "Friends and Neighbors."  These figure and portrait paintings are different than anything I have ever shown before.  Barbara Craver and I are looking forward to presenting our work together.  

Now, with the painting, varnishing, framing, and hanging taken care of, it’s time to get ready for one of the most challenging aspects of any opening.  Deciding what to wear!  Last November, after finally settling on an outfit, in my rush to get ready for an opening I sprayed my beautiful silk blouse with Craft Bond Glue instead of Static Guard.  I wasn’t so attached to that blouse before, but afterward we were inseparable!

Get dressed!  Join the party!  The opening is 4:30 to 7:30 pm, Friday, April 3rd.  Tom Locher will be performing on the piano and refreshments will be served.  I'm looking forward to seeing you, my friends and neighbors.  I hope you enjoy the show.

"Friends and Neighbors," The Canvas Art Gallery, 223 Seward Street, Juneau, Alaska 907-586-1750

April Show at the Canvas Gallery, Juneau, Alaska

2 Hiding in Plain Sight, 2009, Acrylic on Canvas, 30 Over the years I've incorporated figures into a lot of my work, but only rarely have they been the main focus.  When my friend Barbara Craver asked me to join her this April in a show, primarily of figure studies and portraits, I automatically said yes.  

I love life drawing.  Trying to capture a likeness or the beauty and complexity of the human form has given me some of my most challenging and most rewarding experiences as an artist.

Ever since high school, I've made sketches of the people around me, wherever I lived or traveled, waiting in the airport or for a bus, in parks, cafes, at the pool or in a garden...  I love catching these quick sketches.  They hold a moment of time and place that would otherwise just vanish! 

When I paint landscapes, I feel free to play around with my subjects, color, and composition.  I rarely limit myself to anything like strict representation. 

All painting is interpretive, but some of the paintings I've done for this show go beyond interpretation of the real world into the land of dreams and imagination.  

Thanks, as always, for your interest in my work.  I hope you can make it to The Canvas Gallery in Juneau for our April 3rd opening.  If not, I'll be posting the paintings for this show right here on my website.  See Barbara Craver's work at:

Doing Art in My Head

6 Dark Clouds, 2009, Acrylic, 24 It's hard to believe that my last entry was nearly a year ago.  Where have I been?  Working my way through a hard year, a year of transition.  

It has always been true for me that when my spirit suffers, so does my productivity.  In fact, for a while, all my creative impulses were squeezed right out of the picture by more pressing concerns.  It was a lot like when my teenagers were still babies, and I had very little time to paint.  I became adept at composing art in my head.  I could visualize each step of the process and follow the concept all the way to the finished piece.   I spent a lot of time doing just that, dreaming my way through a lot of paintings before I had the opportunity to get my hands back on a brush.

After this year of chaos, the creative thoughts are flowing once again.  My stack of little sketches is growing faster than I can paint, and I've got a lot of catch-up to do.  I'm back to work, thank goodness.  Doing art in my head was important to me, but it's much more rewarding and easier to share when I actually get it out of my mind and onto the canvas.

I have two paintings in the Plein Rain Show at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center opening this Friday, November 7th.  I hope you can be there.

Small Paintings of Big Impressions

Italy, Kitties in Flower Pot I just got back from my first trip to Italy, where my sister and I spent a week exploring tiny villages, Etruscan tombs, and the mountainous terrain of Umbria. Picturesque doesn't begin to describe the incredible beauty of the landscape or the acute awareness of history that was everywhere around us.

Forget shampoo and hand lotion; my quart-size Ziploc bag was filled to absolute maximum capacity with tubes of paint; the important thing in my carry-on, outbound, is my painting supplies. On the way back, however, it's the little paintings that, I hope, have captured the sweet essence of our experience in a foreign land.

Paintings from Italy and my other travels will be included in a show of 24 small paintings at Skeins, on the second floor of the Senate Building at 175 Franklin Street. Starting Friday, December 7th, from 4:30 to 8:00, the show will continue daily through the weekend.

To preview the show, just click on "December Gallery Walk" on the screen to your left.


Thank You!

Canvas Opening So many thanks to give to everyone who helped with the opening on Friday! We had a huge turnout, an extravagant selection of refreshments, and a gratifying number of sales.

My sister came to Juneau to help me hang the show, friends joined in to keep the hors d'oeuvres coming and the beverages flowing. MK of the Canvas Gallery handled sales in the crush of the crowd with the calm and grace of Queen Elizabeth.

My sister took photos, made sure I wore my fancy dress, and kept me in balance, and I talked with more people in a few hours than I usually do in months.

Thank you, people of Juneau, for coming to see my work, and for supporting me in a big way!

Road Trip!

Autumn Harvest, Sisters, Oregon How lucky can you get? My sister and I just got back from a road trip across central Oregon. We were supposed to be going to Bend, and we did get pretty close. We made it, more appropriately, to Sisters, Oregon; a cute hybrid of real history and trendy boutiques. We wandered around town and checked out the art, but had the most fun at Sisters Bakery.

We spent a few nights in the high desert country; land of bare soil and gnarley old junipers. On the way back to Portland it was ponderosa pine until we came over the pass, back into the rainy spruce-hemlock forests, stunning with the gold and scarlet maple trees. I put some pictures of our trip in an album below.

I love traveling with my sister and I love going "Out West," even when it requires traveling about a thousand miles South and another five hundred East!

September in Juneau

Harvest The Dark Time is upon us, though it's not nearly as dark as it will be in December. The change of seasons seems so abrupt; first, school started, then suddenly, there was fresh snow on the mountain tops. It felt like an act of submission, digging out the winter coats and hats. I guess if we have to bow to anything, it might as well be to Nature.

The pre-schoolers came by for their annual harvest, and stood out like shiney apples themselves. My kids are teenagers now, but they came to this very tree with their class many years ago. Pretty soon these little people will be back to gather brilliant orange and red leaves from Mrs. Green's maple tree. Lucky them, to have teachers that impress upon them the bounty and the beauty of their world.

Yellow Transparent I'm still working on paintings for my show in November. Thanks for checking in. I hope you can come to the opening!

Work in Progress

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting on my website. It's a work in progress and, because of the conversational nature of this site, it probably always will be. I love hearing from you and being able to respond to your concerns; for example, I DO know that "bestest" is not a real word. It's just my artistic license jumping it's boundaries again...

P1010194 Maybe you noticed that a lot of the paintings in the Preview Album are of places in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. This has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth; I began hiking there in the early 70's, and, for the last two Septembers in a row, my sister and I have been able to visit, hiking and painting our way through the sweet scented forests and golden aspen groves.

When it was too cold to paint outdoors (we had snow and hail as well as glorious sunshine) we would hike all day, gathering images - sometimes with a camera, and sometimes by imprinting memories.

In the evenings, in the warmth of our cabin, I fixed those memories onto small boards, trying to catch the essence of the scenes for reference should I decide to make a larger painting back home in the studio. Each tiny painting was one step of a work in progress; from the first vision on the trail, to capturing the color and focus on a small board, to putting a painting it in it's final form in the studio.