Artist in Schools Residency- Northern Journeys Grant-Lake Otis Elementary

Inspired by German photographer, Karl Blossfeldt, black and white plant photography, students at Lake Otis explored plant forms of all varieties. We started with monochromatic studies, learning how to mix a range of values and later moved on to using limited color palettes. Each class day used a distinct color palette, Monday Blues etc. The students were encouraged to create their own imaginary plants and the results were stunning! Many thanks to Graham Dane for helping me assemble all 300+ paintings in a grand hallway mural.

Dumpster Art Pilot Project

Graham and I painted a dumpster last week, a pilot project with the Anchorage Downtown Partnership and the Anchorage Municipality. These painted dumpsters are will be deployed in the community of Mt. View. Graham painted a colorful abstract design and I worked with layered traditional tile pattern stencils and faux painting techniques. We were able to work on these inside, in the Anchorage Artist's Co-op.


2016 Rarified Light Juried Photography Exhibit-Juror, Amy Arbus

I'm honored to have one of my photographs selected out of over 600 entries for this local annual juried photography contest. The juror this year is the esteemed, New York City photographer, Amy Arbus, daughter of the photography legend, Diane Arbus. Amy is known for her photographs of the East Village during the 1980's and her work for The Village Voice.

The image selected for this show is of a scene in the Railroad/Industrial sector of Anchorage near Ship Creek. I've long been fascinated with the juxtaposition of structures of old Anchorage and modern downtown structures in this area. The Quonset huts, sharply angled industrial storage buildings, the shiny downtown hotel and business buildings, traversed by railroad tracks and bisected by the king salmon filled Ship Creek meandering through the city, emptying into the treacherous mudflats and tidal flux of the  Cook Inlet. Add to this the menacing flocks of nesting seagulls that patrol and launch attacks from industrial rooftops.

The curves of the Quonset, the adjacent block shaped building, separated by a feral tree, the evocative perspective of the railroad tracks....repeatedly caught my eye and begged for a deeper look.

My father worked for the State, DOT, once located near Ship Creek. I have memories, as a child piling into the station wagon with my mother and three siblings to pick him up after work. The area hasn't changed much, keeping my memories intact, something for which I am grateful....

The exhibit opens at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art, tomorrow, Friday 11/4.

Mountain View Public Art

I recently painted four concrete road barriers located on a vacant lot near our studio on Mt. View Drive. With the blessing of the property owners, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority, I set out to add a little color to this busy stretch of the street, full of pedestrians and the site of a popular bus stop.

I was overwhelmed with well wishers, people stopping to chat, curious school children and cars honking with a big thumbs up, shouts of thank you and "so f'n awesome!" This was an unpaid gig, but well worth the effort, giving me a chance to experiment with faux painting techniques and layering stencils of traditional tile patterns from Spain, Portugal, India and Northern Africa. I was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba, the beautiful architectural layers of the aging city of old Havana. I hope to stimulate support for more public art and plant the seed, the idea of the endless possibilities of art in this diverse community.

I'll be working with the Municipality of Anchorage to paint dumpsters for Mt. View. Yes, dumpsters! The plan is to pair artists with local middle school students. mentor and help create, compose and execute positive art with the theme of healthy sustainable environments. I'm a big advocate for well conceived quality public art, so my students will spend time researching our theme, gathering images, creating a solid, meaningful and stimulating composition, practicing good painting practices and techniques before we apply paint to the dumpsters.  I'll blog an update with images as this project progresses this winter (dumpsters will be housed indoors during the painting process).

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Boney Court House- 1% for Art Public Commission-Black and White Photographs

I've been commissioned to print and frame 8 black and white photographs for the Boney Court House. The photographs were taken this past year and are a product of many forays into Ship Creek Industrial Area and the Alaska Railroad yard. Ship Creek is a river that runs through the heart of downtown Anchorage and empties into Cook Inlet. Downtown professionals really can take a lunch break and catch a King Salmon at the mouth of Ship Creek.

The Ship Creek industrial area was once home of Tent City, the new city of Anchorage. Although the makeshift tent structure of long gone, the ubiquitous Alaskan Quonset Hut can be found in this area. The old Ship Creek Power Plant is an interesting subject for photography. Many junk and scrap yards live in this area as well. Here is the selection of photographs chosen by the Boney Court House art selection committee.

Kodiak, Alaska-Artist in Schools Residency

I am spending three weeks on Kodiak Island, an artist residency in Main Elementary School and one week visiting the villages of Karluk and Old Harbor. I am leaving today for Karluk. Here are images of the mural project at Main. Students were inspired by abstract patterns in nature, specifically abstract patterns in tree bark. We also looked at paintings by various abstract artists. The students produced paintings on canvas that I assembled and installed in the school library as trees.

Russian Village, AK. Water is Life Mural Project.

The Water is Life project is an Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium program to promote awareness and appreciation of healthy community water resources. I was contracted by the ANTHC to produce a mural for the Yup'ik community of Russian Mission with a focus on cultural traditions surrounding water. The ANTHC team met with the community for a visioning session, to receive feedback on the mural design. I was moved by a session of Yup'ik dancers, led by a village elder. I am impressed with the respect for elders and their place in the continuity of village history, language and culture. The mural design features a Yup'ik dancer representing the continuity and flow of village culture and a river landscape honoring the Yukon River which brings life and sustenance to this community. The piece is made up of four 4 x 6ft and one 6 x 8ft canvas, total dimensions: 8 x 18ft. and will be installed in the school cafeteria.

Russian Mission, Alaska, Water is Life, Mural Project with ANTHC

I am working with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to create a mural in the remote Alaska village, Russian Mission. The mural will focus on the community resource of water.  Our crew of three engineers, a film maker and myself, the artist, traveled to Russian Mission to meet with the community and to gather ideas and inspiration for the artwork.  We will return, the week of March 28th. I will design and paint the mural and the rest of the crew will be involved in community water activities and projects. The flight to Russian Mission from Bethel was spectacular, with frozen rivers and lakes and snow free tundra.

Artist/Scienctist Collaboration,-Arctic Perspectives, invitational exhibit

I collaborated with my friend, biologist, Delia Vargas Kretsinger to produce a piece that addresses the issue of invasive plants in Alaska. I used vintage USGS AK maps, acrylic paint and pen and ink to render this piece. Delia provided images and documents of her work and I had the privilege to meet with her in Fairbanks to discuss her work with invasive plants. The piece will be in the exhibit, Arctic Perspectives, during the Arctic Science summit in Fairbanks.

Rarified Light Photography Juried Show

I'm pleased to announce that one of my photographs now showing the Rarified Photography Contest show, has been purchased by the Anchorage Museum of History and Art as part of the permanent collection. This photograph won an honorable mention and was the acquisition was funded by the Rasmuson Foundation.


Munich, Germany 2014 Artist Residency

A two week stay in the studios of Mayer of Munich, Architectural Glass Studio with the possibility of translating my work, painting and photography to glass and mosaic for future public art projects. Many thanks to the Alaska State Council on the Arts for travel funds to Munich and the warmth and hospitality of Mayer of Munich staff and artists.

2014 Residencies, Workshops, Exhibits and More....

It's been a busy year, especially from April to August with two artist in schools residencies, one in the village of Wales on the Bering Sea, and the other in the village of Kobuk, then off to Juneau to conduct a spring break kids art camp at the Canvas Community Arts Center then returning in July to teach an adult landscape painting workshop.

 It was a busy year for exhibits as well, with one solo show and three invitational exhibits. I opened a solo show of paintings at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation and participated in a drawing invitational, 'Close at Hand" at the Alaska Pacific University, an invitational at the Cordova Museum featuring birds, and the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive's invitational exhibit commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the 1964 earthquake. 

Most exciting this year were two artist residencies, one in Munich, Germany, Franz Mayer Architectural Glass Studio and a ten day artist residency in the Denali National Park and Preserve. I was invited to Munich to explore the possibility of translating my paintings and photography to glass and mosaic. We produced glass and mosaic samples for future public project proposals. My residency in Denali National Park was awesome, staying in a remote cabin 45 miles into the park, surrounded by wilderness and inspiring landscapes.

Thanks to the Alaska State Council on the Arts for funding my attendance to the Creative Capital Professional Workshop here in Anchorage and for partially funding my travel to Munich.

 I recently submitted photographs to the annual AK juried photography show, Rarified Light. Two of my photographs were selected for the show and one image received an honorable mention. This makes me extremely happy as I am absolutely addicted to photography and my favorite past time is taking my camera out and hunting for images. There is much for me to learn regarding techniques and technology, but in the meantime I'll be out looking for "the shot." The Rarified Light exhibit will open at the Anchorage Museum, First Friday of November.

This year has been a banner year as there were two major museum acquisitions of my work, paintings for the Alutiiq Museum and Archeological Repository in Kodiak, AK and the Alaska State Museum, in Juneau, AK. I am very moved to have a piece in Kodiak, birthplace of my mother, my dear grandmother and her family. My exhibit at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation was inspired by imagery of Kodiak and was dedicated to my grandmother, Mary Reft. The Alaska State Museum purchase is very meaningful as I visited Juneau twice this year in March and July, touching down in our beautiful capital city for the first time and absorbing the coastal landscapes that have haunted my dreams and occupied my paintings for years. The painting purchased, "Low Tide' is a 4' x 5' oil painting of just this scene....inner coastal islands and tidal zones and a quietly erupting volcano in the background. I am pleased this painting has found a permanent home in Juneau, AK.

 It seems like a lot of activities in 5 months, but when you are doing what you love, the work is a pleasure and each trip an adventure. My last big trip was to Denali Park, my "down time".....alone time to quiet my mind and reconnect to the creative source.

I'll have time now in the studio to set up painting classes for adults and to create new work. I have a public and private commission to work on as well as a piece that will be donated to the Denali National Park as part of the Artist in Residence Program. It feels good to stop and take a breath, but I am eager to start painting again and look forward to my next adventure, a research trip to Cuba in November.  I can hardly contain my excitement over having the chance to visit this island which has been so closed off to most of the world. More on that later....

This is my first blog entry and I have some catching up to do. I'll be taking some time to post  images of this year's activities as well as information on upcoming workshops and other events at my studio.

Always feel free to contact me by email: and if you live in Anchorage you can call and set up a studio visit. 907-351-4478.

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