This collection of paintings were inspired by recent walks on Juneau beaches lined with wildflowers. The range of blues, grays, and lush greens in our coastal landscape usually dominate my palette and I strive for balance by including touches of warm tones. I am interested in observing and reflecting on nature, connections, and cycles in our ecosystem.
This summer was full of wanderings along the beach with my 4 year old son. I left the ID book behind and brought along my sketchbook seeking to record our journeys visually. We fished, peeked at starfish, and admired the wildflowers at every stage. Sometimes I painted color swatches or sketched plant forms for later reference. Most of my painting happens in the studio and this summer I observed much and painted little. For much of the summer, I thought about compositions and themes, but daily tasks loomed large until an August deadline approached for donating a promised painting to Five Finger Lighthouse Society for their fall fundraiser Auction Open Now. Pulling a few salmon from the ocean to the squealing delight of my son had me thinking about what we see and don’t see from our land-based perspective. Whales at Five Finger emerged as I considered the iconic lighthouse perched in Fredrick Sound from a simplified whale view.
I continued playing with the over/under theme for Harbor Porpoise at Ann Coleman, Curious Harbor Seal, and Lunging Humpback with Stellars. We saw a group of porpoise and many seals close to shore on walks, however the whales and stellars are from my memories full of rolling slapping humpbacks. Each of these pieces plays with layering using salt and broad washes of color to create movement and texture in the water.
While designing this collection, I strove for balance between the ocean landscapes and shoreline botanicals I could study up close. During walks, I noticed seed pods and made color samples and sketched a range of flower forms found along the beach together. Fireweed Meadow and Ripening Salmonberries (SOLD) were both painted as studies exploring plant structure and color palettes while practicing softening the background.
When arranging still lives I often include landscape backgrounds and use imagined vessels. A connection to place is an important part of my work. I like to use the surface of vessels to add another layer of meaning or practice a technique such as glass reflections or monochromatic blue layers similar to Delft pottery.
Lupine Pods and Arctic Terns is one of several pieces in the show that include imagined pottery. The vase design is a stylized view of the path to Ann Coleman Beach where we often walk. The background in this piece is a hazy partial view of Coghlan Island, a similar view to the landscape sketch Auk Rocks- Low Tide a scene viewed up the hill on Mendenhall Peninsula. I have watched terns at Ann Coleman enjoying their lacy flight. In this piece, and several other paintings, I used ink outlining to define forms. Beach Pea and Pods also used this illustrative technique to keep the colors soft and increase definition.
The pair of huckleberry paintings were an opportunity to focus on the color differences in these berry varieties while using a tight color palette with versions of the same colors. The vase in Red Huckleberry Posy has a embroidery design inspired by spring blossoms and Wormy Huckleberry Posy features an under/over humpback design because I generally have whales on my mind, even when berry picking. These dusky blues do seem to harbor many worms, but their foliage as it turns has intense early color.
Wild Rose on the Beach (SOLD) and Rose Hip Sunset (SOLD) came from my preoccupation with Sitka roses. I’ve been studying their structure and habits in the wild while growing young starts in my own garden from seeds. They were a gift from my Dad and they have become a symbol that reminds me of our shared love of botany. I find it hard to resist painting Sitka roses, their color stands out in our landscape and their form is fairly simple yet complex. They are one of the few larger feature flowers in our region.
Twelve of the originals in this post will be on sale at Alaska Probiotics, in downtown Juneau, beginning on First Friday September 3rd (OPEN 12-7:30PM) and continuing during their open hours (MON-FRIDAY 12-5PM) until the end of September.
If you are not in Juneau, and you are interested in one of these works, please contact me so I can check availability and reserve it for you. Payment can be made via Venmo online.
Also available at the show, is a limited selection of single 5X7 art cards featuring my work, including Whales at Five Finger. Printed in Juneau by Alaska Litho and packaged with a recycled envelope and compostable sleeve. Limited quantities on-site. If you are looking for more of my cards, or you are outside of Juneau, I’m currently offering 2 sets of 6 images in my Etsy shop.
My original Whales at Five Finger is one of multiple artworks to find a home through the Five Finger Lighthouse Society Art Auction. More information on that and the other works they will be offering through their social media. I encourage you to investigate their site, follow them on Facebook, and find out about the lighthouse and the mission of the group!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy these late summer images as we slide into fall.