Don's Studio Creations
A few of Don's most recent and favorite works. Scroll across page to view. You can see more recent works in (a surprise heading) "Don's Recent Works"
Northern Exposure 12 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas $700 unframed
Karen returned from her rafting trip on the Kongakut River with Arctic Wild with enough photos to keep me painting for a looooong time. Northern Exposure depicts the view of Alaska's Brooks Range as viewed from the Coastal Plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Beyond here North America descends into the Arctic Ocean. Sadly, the Coastal Plain has become a pawn with politicians intent on opening it up to oil development using the bogus claim there will be minimal impact to adjacent lands. It's like your next-door neighbor putting in an oil well and claiming it won't affect you.
Alert 12 X 12 inches Alkyd on Canvas $400 unframed
Karen spotted this northern pygmy owl during an autumn walk above Petersburg's airport. It's just a tiny critter, just 2/3 the size of an American robin, and very tame, yet we rarely see them, perhaps because they usually blend in with the tree tops or branches on which they perch, scanning the neighborhood for it's next meal. I'm sure glad Karen was alert that day.
Termination 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas gallery wrap $800
We returned from 10 days cruising with friends along Southeast Alaska's "waterfall coast" with hundreds of images of brown bears. Obviously some of them needed to be painted. I have to admit, though, I hijacked the salmon in the creek from Petersburg's nearby City Creek and the leaping salmon from Anan Creek. I wonder if you noticed.
Placid Sound Diptych Two 9 x 12 Paintings Alkyd on Canvas Sold
I love to sit on a log at Petersburg's Hungry point relishing the view of Frederick Sound as I listen to the waves lap on the shore and flock after flock of sea ducks skim across the water in front of me. If it wasn't raining outside as I write this, I think I'd head over there right now. Maybe tomorrow?
Alder Way Revisited 12 x 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold
I originally left the word "Revisited" off the title of this painting only to discover I had previously given a plein air painting the same title. So I revisited the title and viola -- there was its new name. The piece is based on another of our many photos of one of our favorite walks along an old logging track embraced with alder trees. It's
hard to see in this photo (or even in the painting), but I inserted a deer looking at the photographer to the left of the red-coated person in the lower left portion of the piece. I wonder if the person who purchased the piece has ever discovered it.
The Songster 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on Ramar Panel $400 Unframed
My favorite photographer (Karen) has been capturing some captivating images of local wildlife during the past several years and I wanted something for a local art show titled Points of Light. And there it was -- a back-lit song sparrow. I need to do more of these since Karen keeps bringing home a treasure trove of images. You can see a few of them on our blog: Alaska and Beyond Through Artist's Eyes at
Fjord Shoreline 12 x 16 inches Alkyd on Ramar Panel $400 Unframed
I based Fjord Shoreline on an image Karen took of a dry waterfall course in LeConte Bay. Still, it needed more. Yes, waterfalls seem more exciting with water...and what painting can't be improved with a seal. It didn't take long to find the image of a seal among Karen's thousands of photos so I simply transplanted it from another part of the Bay. Easy! Karen loves rocks and I love painting them. I don't know why I don't do more.
Autumn Trail 18 X 24 inches
Alkyd on Canvas Gallery Wrap $800
Autumn Trail depicts the start of one of our favorite trails on Mitkof Island, the Ohmer Creek Trail. I must admit, I removed some of the trees in the middle ground to depict an opening that appears further down the trail. It's called artistic license.
Oh, Hi 6 x 6 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold Contribution to Petersburg Arts Council
Perhaps Oh, Hi, the portrait of an alpaca Karen made friends with near Hillsboro, Oregon, should be included on my portrait page. It was a close call. The occasion for the painting -- a fund raiser for the Petersburg Arts Council. The council provided local artists with 6 x 6 inch canvases upon which to create a piece of artwork in hopes sale of the works will generate funds for local art projects. Those attending the gala event had the opportunity to purchase wrapped artwork. It was theirs to keep -- unless -- someone else wanted it more. That person could then exchange their "gift" for a piece of art they had already purchased with a caveat -- they just had to up the financial ante.
My original intent was to paint something whimsical, then I thought: what could be more whimsical than those alpacas Karen photographed at the Airbnb we stayed at near Hillsboro while I was having eye cataract surgery? The upshot -- now it has me wanting to paint more animal portraits.
South Side Beach Fringe 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas NFS
A few summers ago friends took Karen and me out to "Agate Beach" to look for (surprise) agates. While everyone else cleaned up, I seemed almost blind to the gems. Ready for a break, I climbed up into the beach fringe forest to view the setting from afar and to capture a few images on my camera. Immediately I realized I had found something I value more than agates --a wonderful painting subject.
Turn of the Season 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Not for sale
A few springs ago Karen and I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon wandering around the margins of Blind Slough. It's a favorite time of year -- last years grasses are matted down by last winter snows while this years crop has yet to emerge. Meanwhile the alders along this shoreline, before the leaves pop, come alive with their lichen "coats" glowing in the afternoon sun. I had to put one of the photos on canvas.
Last Light on the Range 12 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas $700
The north end of Mitkof Island, where Petersburg's North Nordic Drive rounds Hungry Point, provides a vast panorama of southeast Alaska's Coast Range. The US -- Canadian border runs in straight lines between the highest peaks along the spine of the range. And since not all mountain peaks are arranged in straight lines, it makes for a bit of a zigzag boundary. The range provides our favorite view from Petersburg and often appears in our growing files of digital photos. This painting is based on the image we often see as the last rays of the setting sun creep up the mountain slopes, in this case highlighting a distant cloud bank.
Lifting Fog 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold
Petersburg Lutheran Church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013. One event to commemorate the occasion was an art show in early October. Of course I had to participate so I dug out some favorite photos of the church. One spring-time view as fog was lifting over our town, a view from near our local ball field, particularly attracted me. Whoops, it needed a figure in it. I found one of Mandy and Karen on a hike. Mandy worked, but she was wearing black. Not so Karen. Thus I switched their outfits and viola ended up with "Lifting Fog."
Alaska Monolith 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on Gessoboard NFS
Rounding a bend while driving towards Hatcher Pass at the southern terminus of the Talkeetna Mountains, I was struck by a large mountain I had never really focused on before. How did I miss that one? Never mind. I didn't miss it this time. Now I just have to figure out if it has a name.
The Old Beaver Pond 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold
A short canoe paddle from the bridge across Blind Slough leads to a small side tributary. There we scrambled over logs and brush to find a massive beaver pond. I always wanted to canoe across that mini-lake. So, a few years ago, I dragged my canoe up the creek, over the logs and through the brush to find....the pond had drained. The beaver were gone leaving behind a vast grassy meadow. All than remained was the old dam and lodge and my photos -- one of which I used as reference for "The Old Beaver Pond."
High Refuge 16 X 20 inches Alkyd on Canvas NFS
In 1966, I made a hike into an area of Denali National Park where I least expected to see wildlife. Crossing Muldrow Glacier which "flows" off Mt. McKinley, I climbed a ridge to the most alpine setting I have ever visited, a ridge on the approach to "The Great One." There, to my amazement -- on almost barren rock -- I discovered a flock of Dall Sheep. What were they doing there? Never mind, back lighting behind the sheep created a wonderful photographic opportunity -- one I have finally translated into a painting opportunity.
Along the Cutoff 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on Gessoboard $400
One of my favorite stretches of road lies between Haines, Alaska and Haines Junction, Yukon. There one traverses through endless mountain vistas with frequent wildlife sightings to season the drive. During a spring road trip several years ago willow ptarmigan seemed to line the road. At one pull out we turned off for some photo ops. Of course we couldn't help but notice the backdrop from this location. This painting captures that vista. Of course I couldn't resist putting one of those willow ptarmigan into the painting.
Denali Remembered 24 X 30 inches
Alkyd on canvas $1200
After completing "The Great One" I had one of those "I should have" moments. I should have painted it larger, it is a big "hill" after all, and it needed a foreground. So, after a little practice it was back to the easel and here is the result -- Denali, still officially named Mt. Mckinley looking across Muldrow Glacier and the McKinley River as I saw it in 1966.
Icy Gauntlet 12 X 16 inches Alkyd Sold
Trips into LeConte Bay to view the southernmost tidewater glacier in the northern hemisphere aren't always successful. The narrow bay is often choked with icebergs that calved off this dynamic glacier. Sometimes turning the boat around is the best option. Either way, the show never fails to inspire.
Dance of the Aspens
9 X 12 inches Alkyd Sold
I started this painting as a plein air piece in the Yukon. Here I was drawn to the aspens battered by wind and snow to take on every manner of twisted shapes. I didn't complete the painting that day, so brought it home to finish in my studio. The moose? She's another import -- this time across international boundaries. It's a moose Karen photographed in Alaska's Matanuska Valley -- in another aspen grove. Should I have declared it when we went through customs?
The Great One 16 X 20 inches Alkyd on camvas $700 unframed
During the summers of 1965 and 1966 I worked as a seasonal ranger in Denali National Park. That was back in the days before all the access restrictions we see today -- back in the days when Denali bore the name Mt. McKinley. Digging through some of my old photos I came across a moldy, scratched image looking across McKinley River and the scree-covered Muldrow Glacier. It's life-span as a photo is meeting a sad fate, but hopefully this painting salvages that moment.
Spring at the Slough 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas $800
I've long been enamored with the view of Blind Slough from the Mitkof Highway just north of the Swan Observatory. Here, in the scene depicted in Spring at the Slough, we often stop to look for swans, bears, any living critters. We usually get rewarded for taking the time. Alas, I didn't put any in this painting. Guess I scared them off.
Peaceful Evening 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on Gessoboard $400 unframed
Further down Blind Slough one finds some wonderful assemblages of rocks surrounded by water during higher tides. Peaceful Evening depicts some of those rocks.
High Country Winter 16X 20 inches Alkyd on canvas $700 unframed
I based this painting on another trip one November day in the early 1970s. The location -- Sheep Mountain. The quest -- photograph Dall sheep in winter. Several friends and I clawed our way up a snowy ridge to a vantage place to photograph this flock. What we hadn't expected was the forbidding backdrop laced with avalanche paths behind the sheep.
Passing the Horn 16 X 20 inches Alkyd on canvas $700
Back in the early 1980s Karen and I kayaked from Leconte Bay back to Petersburg. Our route took us along the base of Horn Cliffs. There, barely more than a paddle's length from the shore, we found ourselves swept up in a strong northward current. All we had to do was steer, marvel at the beauty of the rocks and waterfalls, and relish the warmth of the sun. What a ride! In winter sea lions also haul out at a favorite hang out along this same shoreline. Of course! This painting needed one of those huge pinnipeds following our route.
Winter Delight 16 X 20 inches Alkyd Private Collection
I always slow down for a quick peek when I drive across the Falls Creek Bridge on the Mitkof Highway. My reaction is predictable -- "Ooh, I should stop and take a picture." I did twice one day a few winters ago -- coming and going out the road. Winter Delight certainly makes the case for stopping more often.
Winter Shadows 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas $800 unframed
In contrast to Winter Delight, Winter Shadows depicts the view in the opposite direction just around the first bend further upstream. Out for a ride with our daughter, Mandy, and her then boy friend another day last winter we walked into Falls Creek to ooh and aah. For the record, the foreground footprints are Mandy's and not from the two wolves I've hidden in the painting.
Clarence 12 X 16 inches
Alkyd on canvas $400
Since I have a bovine aortic valve I have an affinity for cows. Thus I was happy when we met Clarence on the Frying Pan Ranch in South Dakota. I doubt many herefords live to a ripe old age, but not many herefords are fortunate enough to live on Bret and Tammy Prangs ranch. I chose to paint Clarence with his broken horn, but feeling sorry for the docile bovine, I restored his sight in his blind right eye.
Rocks for Karen 11 X 15 inches Oil on masonite NFS
Rocks for Karen is an older piece I decided to share. Karen adores rocks. We have a significant number of collections of her treasures throughout our house -- some in baskets, some in glass vases and some just tossed out in our yard. Everywhere we go Karen queries me about rock hunting possibilities. Thus it seemed only fitting some years back that I paint some for her. Of course the painting now resides in our house as a backdrop for one of her collections.
High Tide in the Notch
18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas $800 unframed
Karen and I spent an afternoon on one of our favorite beaches at the south end of Mitkof Island. At one corner of the beach a notch filled with driftwood sneaks through into the next cove. I based this painting on photos of the notch -- taken when the tide was out. Somehow the tide came in for the painting.
Winter Memories 12x16 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold
Winter Memories came with a message from a fellow Middlebury College alumnus. Would I be willing to paint the cover for our 50th Reunion Yearbook? While feeling very honored, I must say I was somewhat anxious about the responsibility. Could I pull it off? After settling on a subject, a college landmark -- Mead Memorial Chapel -- the research began since I lacked any photograph references of the subject. I must say, it was fun.
The internet lead me to images from many perspectives over many generations. In the end I chose to use one that included a spruce (I think) tree in the foreground. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that tree has since been cut down. Ah well, a lot changes over 50 years.
Easy Way Through 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas Sold
Setting out to plein air paint in the spring of 2010, I almost stopped at the start of a trail leading to a favorite beaver pond in the Ohmer Creek drainage. Almost. It was cold in the shade. The beaver pond area offered sun -- although, as I soon would discover -- mosquitoes. However, at this juncture, I only stopped long enough to snap a few photos. After all, if you stop and paint every scene that beckons in this part of the world, you'll never get anywhere. I'm sure glad I lingered for those photos.
Spring Break 9 X 12 inches Alkyd on panel Sold
Fall, winter and spring blur a bit in southeast Alaska. Muskegs, such as this painting depicts, may experience multiple break-ups and refreezes anytime from November clear through March. One day you're walking on ice and a couple of days later you're dumping water out of your boots. For the record, this day that Karen photographed in March really was the end of walking on frozen ground -- if you can call these wetlands ground.
Four on the Point 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas Sold
Eighteen miles from downtown Petersburg, a short side road leads to Blind Slough Picnic area and Crystal Lake Hatchery (think salmon). Here, I like to stop on the bridge to admire the view and look for wildlife. Upstream a point with four alders often lures my camera lens, particularly with early morning back-lighting. I based Four on the Point on photos I took early one spring morning before the ice had melted on the Slough.
Winter Glow 18 X 24 inches
Alkyd on canvas $800 unframed
I found Winter Glow in January, 2011 when I set out to photograph the mouth of Falls Creek from a high perch above a fish ladder (think salmon). Yes, the downstream view was terrific, but when I turned around, my happy discovery was upstream. There I was greeted by the glow of sunlight on a distant mountainside reflected in an unfrozen part of the stream.
Steller's Discovery 16 X 20 inches Alkyd on canvas Sold
Georg Wilhelm Steller went on a "cruise" from Russia to America with Vitus Bering in 1741. The high point of his voyage was ten hours on Kayak Island before Bering announced, "OK boys, that's enough. We don't want to be late for dinner." With that they headed home. Alas, they had a particularly unpleasant ship-wreck en route -- ironically on an island bearing Bering's name, Bering Island, which is located in a sea also ironically bearing Bering's name. However, during his ten hours Steller discovered a bird which looked like the blue jay he had seen in his Field Guide to North American birds. Eureka, he cried,
"we've discovered Alaska," ignoring the fact that Kayak Island was named for the watercraft used by the Aleuts who had beaten him to his discovery.
Never mind, Steller had five new species named for him as a result of the cruise. Had the species known of the risk, they might not have agreed to his offer. Two are extinct, one is in bad shape and only two are doing well. This Steller's jay, discovered by Karen while she had her camera in hand, is one.
Winter Light 12 X 16 inches
I took a mid-afternoon hike one January above Petersburg's industrial area -- Hungerford Hill. There, a "restricted area" road leads behind Petersburg's airport. I don't buy into that philosophy, so it's a good place to hike. Lots of other locals use it too. Winter Light and The Back Way (shown below) depict scenes from that day.
The Back Way 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on canvas $400
The road I was walking on when I took the reference photos described above.
Alderglow 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on canvas $400
Many years ago a fur farm was located on Mitkof Island south of Petersburg. Eventually it was closed and turned into a Forest Service tree farm. Now that, too, has ceased operation. However, a handful of alders share what must have been a clearing in front of the farm with a salmonberry patch.
Alpenglow on the Thumb
12 X 16 inches Alkyd on canvas $400
I drew on one of Karen's photos of the evening light on Devil's Thumb, a local landmark, for Alpenglow on the Thumb. The US-Canada border bisects the summit. But the photo lacked something. There was no snow on the foreground trees. Looking out my studio window at Petersburg Mountain, I found my solution -- heavy snow blanketing the forest. Why not?
Last Farewell 12 X 16 inches Alkyd on canvas $400
I painted Last Farewell from a photo I took several winters ago on a hike at Petersburg's Sandy Beach. Later, I went back for more images, but could never find the cabin. I finally figured out the mystery when the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department put out a publication to celebrate their 100th anniversary. There, a photo showed the cabin going up in smoke -- a practice fire. Was my photo the last to be taken of someones dreams?
Turbulent Seas 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas Sold
I watch many boats sail past our house on the way to fishing grounds out in the Gulf of Alaska. I listen to weather reports for high seas out on those grounds -- 27, 28 feet. I hear stories about rogue waves. I'll pass on the experiences. I prefer to play with the idea with my paints than to hang over a boat railing, feeding the fish my last meal while wishing I was anywhere but there. However, it's one of my favorite subjects when I just feel like letting the paint fly. For boats, I go down to the docks to take photographs for reference. The Odin provided my model for this piece.
Autumn Muskeg 9 X 12 inches Alkyd $300
Leaf peepers to not come to southeast Alaska to see fall color. They leave it. However, that is not to say this area does not have it's own beauty in the autumn. It's just more subtle such as this grassy muskeg meadow on the south end of Mitkof Island.
Low Water 18 X 24 inches Alkyd $800 unframed
When visitors come to our island home, a favorite activity is to head for an area where garnets wash into a creek. But, as much fun as it is to discover those tiny ruby-red treasures, the beauty of this rugged drainage is my favorite feature. At high water it's a torrent. At low water, it's a series of low waterfalls and log jams the entire length of the creek.
Desert Sentinels 9 X 12 inches Alkyd on Raymar Panel
My brother's request for paintings of the southwest converged with the arrival of a new painting surface, a Raymar panel. For a subject I chose a photograph I took while driving between Grand Junction, Colorado and Moab, Utah. Highway 128 parallels the Colorado River offering a lifetime of painting subjects along the way. Had someone been clocking my progress, I think I only averaged a handful of miles per hour. In retrospect that was too fast. The trip really required days to do it justice.
Standing Together 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas $800 unframed
During a previous road trip Karen took a series of photos of three women -- a grandmother, mother and daughter -- wading into northern California surf with huge storm-driven waves thundering beyond them. Karen wanted to paint the scene for an art show titled "Rise Up" so I let the idea slide until the last weekend before the opening when Karen was off on a trip. Without her here to guard it, I figured it was safe to steal her idea. Thus, Standing Together is based on the concept of women supporting one another in the face of adversity.
Tongass Backwater 18 X 24 inches
Alkyd on canvas Sold
A favorite canoe paddle up Blind Slough leads to a spot where a stream draining a beaver pond complex enters the Slough. The beaver are now gone, the dams in disrepair. However, returning to our canoe on our last trip, I found an incredible scene dominated by a Sitka Spruce tree growing over the backwater. I first painted the image without the tree figuring it was too dominating. Alas, without some sort of spark I felt the painting was a bit boring. Saying to myself that the tree was what inspired me in the first place, I took a chance and painted it in.
End of the Season 20 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas $900 unframed
A pullout alongside a grove of aspens in Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico lured our car off the highway. The season, spring, although the ground was still covered with snow -- enough so that the first two steps would fill each shoe. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses. I had to paint that subject. Karen suggested a few leaves after I completed it. I painted a few on a sheet of paper, cut them out and Karen proceeded to arrange them on the dried painting. I followed her lead in placing them on the canvas.
El Cabezon 20 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Private Collection
As our plane approached Albuquerque, New Mexico, I spotted a dolomite volcanic plug emerging from the distant desert. THAT was what I had come to New Mexico for. Thus, my first question upon landing switched from "how do we get to our B&B?" to "how can we get to that mountain?" And so, several days later Karen and I found ourselves bouncing along a dusty track leading to Cabezon. We spent the day climbing as high up the peak as we could before the trail turned into more of a you're-on-your-own deal. Getting there, we photographed practically every step along the way. Some more than once. I based this painting on one of those photographs.
Georgia's Inspiration 20 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Private Collection
A request for a painting of New Mexico prompted a search through our photographs of this spectacular state. What a gold mine in painting material we have. This painting depicts the setting I found the evening I discovered Ghost Ranch, the place where Georgia O'Keefe purchased a home. No wonder she finally settled in New Mexico. The painting also bears a striking resemblance to the route our Garmin GPS tried to send me for my drive to my next destination, Farmington, New Mexico. I ignored Ms Garmin that evening.
In Retreat 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold
I began this painting at least two years before I finished it, but then abandoned it. The color wasn't right. Maybe I should have titled it Tongass Resurrection since the Tongass Rainforest Festival prompted me to rework the piece. The subject is a retreating glacier just before you encounter LeConte Glacier in (suprise) LeConte Bay. I've long wanted to hike up this valley, but always feared getting trapped on the shore by ice. Now I hear it supports a healthy population of biting insects.
Waiting for Spring III 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on Canvas Sold
This is my third and last version of this subject. The reason for three -- so many happy memories of those days combined with how much fun I’ve had painting it. In late March and April I would use my binoculars to scan the hillsides across the upper Little Susitna Valley in Hatchers Pass, north of Palmer. I learned to pick out willow and white-tailed ptarmigan sunning themselves on the south side of willow and alder thickets -- little mounds just a tad warmer in color than the surrounding snow. Once I spotted the birds I donned my skis and set off with
camera in hand. White-tailed ptarmigan are particularly tame and on one occasion I photographed a friend actually touching one. The subject of this painting is a willow ptarmigan in winter plumage.
Last Bend 16 X 20 inches
Alkyd on Canvas Sold
Green's Camp, a logging camp during the heyday of logging on Mitkof Island turned into a campground for many years until a washed out culvert ended the fun. Now, however, the culvert has been replaced and the road reopened. This painting depicts the last bend in the road before breaking out into the estuary where the culvert washed out. Forty-plus-year-old alders (several of which appear in this painting) used to overhang the road until an over-zealous Alaska Department of Transportation employee cut them all down. Fortunately I captured the scene with my camera just a week before the massacre.
At Peace 16 X 20 inches
Alkyd on Clayboard Sold
A half hour's drive from Petersburg on the Mitkof Highway you'll find a parking lot at a trailhead near Blind Slough. A quarter mile boardwalk trail (actually it's some sort of hard plastic) leads to a rocky shore in this part of the estuary. Popular for king salmon fishing in early summer and coho salmon fishing in late summer, Blind Slough is a good place to see waterfowl in winter and shorebirds in early spring. And it's always popular for us to hike into any time of year. I based this painting on photos of the rocky shoreline one spring and tossed in some Western Sandpipers
as a surprise for the viewer. Originally I had three of the birds in the painting, but an "art critic" friend convinced me to flush the third bird so only two remain in the painting.
Layers of History 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas Private Collection
I discovered Zion National Park in the fall of 2007. Well, actually someone discovered it before me, but, with no time to paint, I gawked at potential subjects at every bend of the road. The following spring I returned with an arsenal of paints and canvasses, but had too much fun exploring with Karen and only managed three small plein air studies. Painting in one slot canyon I was jolted out of reverie by a clap of thunder further upslope. Having watched a movie featuring a flash flood the day before, I set a world's record for vacating a painting site. Later, I
painted this scene in another canyon below theroad and worked it up into this larger version after we returned home.
Hidden Canyon 18 X 24 inches Alkyd on canvas Private Collection
Needless to say, I'm hooked on the southwest and a favorite discovery I have only captured in photographs is Capitol Reef National Park. With just an afternoon to explore the Park late one October, Karen and I discovered Grand Wash. Although the sun had already vanished behind the towering cliffs when we hiked up this side canyon, the red rocks reflecting the evening glow made for a memorable hike which was considerably slowed by all the pictures we snapped.
Break Between Storms
18 X 24 inches Alkyd Sold
Collection of Clausen Memorial Museum, Petersburg, Alaska
I based this painting on a photo I took one winter during a walk between snow storms. The steep roof of the church was actually covered with snow -- a rare occurence -- but it’s red roof is such a Petersburg landmark that I had to paint it with that distinctive roof. For this subject I attempted to use the looser painting technique that I have been cultivating for my plein air works.
A Bit of Chop 24 X 30 inches
Oil on canvas Sold
This is another version of a subject that fascinates me, the power of the ocean. I based it on a compilation of photos I found of high seas on the internet modified for compositional purposes and an image of a commercial fishing boat rigged for long lining tied up in Petersburg. Of course the title comes from our local boat captains notorious penchant for underestimation.
The sale of this painting created a challenge. It seems the wife of the owner of the boat wanted the painting -- except the skipper had repainted the
vessel since I originally photographed it -- a different color. Would I be willing? What could I say?
24 X 30 inches Oil on canvas Sold
I based this painting on a photo I took during a spring trip into LeConte Bay. This was our turn around point because of the increasing thickness of the ice, but the idea of a vessel out beyond us, perhaps seeking the fabled Northwest Passage struck my sense of adventure. Look closely and you might see it's mast.
Heading for Shelter 20 X 40 inches Oil on canvas $1200
One of my favorite things about winter in Petersburg is our concentration of overwintering sea ducks. In fact I purchased the canvas to make a waterfowl painting like this back in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2006 that I began working on it. I used numerous photos and digital images of flying surf scoters as well as Frederick Sound as reference material.
Guardian Angel 18 X 24 inches
Oil on canvas Private Collection
This painting tells a story, perhaps about the big one whose “Guardian Angel” let it escape without ever revealing to the fisher the real story -- or perhaps not. The ending is up to you.
LeConte Reflections 24 X 30 inches
Oil on canvas On display at Mountain View Manor
My favorite place in the Petersburg area is LeConte Bay and the big valley south of LeConte Glacier is one of my favorite views in the Bay. This painting is based on a photo I took of this valley on one of those days that showed the Bay at its best.
I don't know what to call the status of this piece. It greets you when you enter Petersburg's senior housing center, Mountain View Manor. Years ago, a friend was hanging his paintings there to brighten up the facility and suggested I join him. So there it is. I
kind of like seeing it on display whenever we go up to the manor to eat.
In the Heart of LeConte
24 X 30 inches Oil on canvas Sold
One of the best reasons to live in Petersburg is its proximity to LeConte Bay, a narrow fiord carved by LeConte Glacier. The southernmost tidewater glacier in North America, LeConte dumps vast quantities of ice into the fiord every day. The ultimate way to see LeConte Bay is via kayak. Miles disappear rapidly as one glides between icebergs, sometimes slicing through tide rips choked with bergy bits, other times gaping upwards at apartment-house-sized monoliths. This painting depicts a day when an easy paddle just feet from the shoreline leads around a bend where LeConte Glacier
will appear several ice-choked miles distant.
Into the Storm 18 X 24 inches
Oil on canvas Sold
Looking out the window of our cabin during a heavy autumn “southeaster,” I was amazed to see a commercial fishing boat heading out into the storm. Grabbing my camera I set out to experience the excitement of the storm as the boat met it off Hungry Point. I took a number of very grainy photos of the boat encountering the waves upon which I based this painting.
Westerly 18 X 24 inches
Oil on canvas Sold
Commissioned to paint the Westerly after a friend saw my painting “Into the Storm," I virtually stalked the Westerly one summer as it traveled into and out of Wrangell Narrows. I just couldn't seem to get enough reference photos.
Driftwood Passage 12 X 16 inches Oil NFS
While exploring a beach on the mainland side of Frederick Sound, Karen photographed a large driftwood log that I walked right past. Back home I rued my haste, but soon turned to Karen's photo as reference for this painting.
Ever since I've been scouring beaches for other pieces of driftwood that capture my imagination as much as this one -- I'm still looking and photographing but this is by far my favorite.
Over the Log Oil on Hardboard Sold
More than once we have been about to step over a log along the beach in spring, only to discover we are not alone. A doe Sitka black-tailed deer has hidden her fawn and exited stage left. Of course Karen and I had to take a fleeting shot of this one before exiting stage right -- the basis for this painting.
Harlequin Wave Rider
20 X 24 inches Oil $900
One of the more reliable species of over-wintering birds around Petersburg are the harlequin ducks. While never forming large flocks, they are common along our shorelines either sitting on rocks or feeding just offshore.
Hazel B off Yakobi Rock
12 X 16 inches Oil Private Collection
Grant and Lila Trask spent many years trolling for king and coho salmon mostly off Sitka. Back and forth they would fish the drag in their classic wooden troller, the Hazel B. Today, they have retired but Grant never tires of wowing people with tales of their adventuress on the high seas and promoting his sustainable fishery.
White Rocks on Red Mountain 18 X 24 inches
Oil on Canvas $800
I've had many memorable hikes, but one of my all-time favorites was a late winter-early spring climb up the slopes of Red Mountain on the east side of the Matanuska River. There we somehow got ourselves onto a high ridge where the sun had melted the south facing side of the lower slopes of the mountain.
There, hiking along the ridge was almost a picnic and then the icing on the cake -- we flushed a flock of rock ptarmigan. Instead of flying to some distant perch, three of the birds merely flew onto a jumble of red rocks just over the lip of the ridge and -- posed while I dug out my camera.