alaska

art travel to alaska

Keep safe friends

Keep safe up in Valdez area. Carol and I have been keeping up with the news of the avalanche on the Richardson Highway. It really looks scary. Seems this year you guys got the warm weather and we got your cold air and snowy owls.
The nature folks down here are going crazy with the SNOWY OWL INVASION! That is what they are calling it. Owls all over east coast. The are roosting in downtown Baltimore and Washington DC.
On the beaches from Maine to Floridia.
This very Majestic bird is causing quite a fuss. Lol.
Happy New Year!

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Workshops, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Step at a Time

This weekend was an oil painting marathon. Six hours in two days. I really enjoy oil, the painting seems to emerge from the painting panel. When the color and shape are right, it looks “real”.

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Carol's moccasin left painted


So this is what happened, Carol and I are still put the “first sitting” on. That is the first layer of color.
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Margaret's right moccasin painted


Using fine bristle brushes, since they don’t come to a point like sable, use a smaller size. I like filberts, has a point and a slightly flat side of tip, making the brush more versital.
Now the hard part, look closely at moccasin(your object may be different). There are cool and warm tones on everything. Warm tones are the tones that are in the Direct light, Cool tones are in Indirect light. Wow! That really made sense.(just kidding) Here’s how I sort it out, top of moc is mostly warm tones.
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Direct light- where the light hits object


the sole/bottom of moc is cool tones(cool tones-reflected light from table, deeper, darker, larger shadows)
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Indirect light- No direct light- shadows and reflected lights


The side of moc are a mix depending where the light come from.
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Depending on where light is coming from


Now back to looking for where the shapes of shadows are and paint on your board. I am laughing, because this little task is the hardest thing to figure out. How to tune your eye, brain and intuition about painting to make this happen. 3 years in and I still very much feel like a novice.
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Carol's moccasin


Now to color!  Then mix the color as close as you can to the mid-range local color. The tan color of the suede moc. Not the highlights or shadow colors. Here’s where it gets tricky. Color mixing is practice and color chemistry.  It is about knowing what happens when you mix paint colors, there is no formula.
Back to suede color, it looks kind of yellowish, so mostly yellow ochre, with a little titanium yellow, add a touch of “red” and burnt sienna.
I work in two spots of paint, warm suede and cool suede piles.
So the warm suede adds the cad red light, burnt umber (to darken) and titanium yellow +touch of titanium white (to lighten)
On the cooler suede I add crimson (this is a super strong color, go lightly), raw umber (to darken) and titanium yellow (to lighten). The add a touch of medium to make it flow nice. Now you can see why it takes six hours and I only have half of one moc done.
Add in the drawing mistakes that were corrected. Most frustration comes back to incorrect drawing, at least I can see it earlier this time.
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Margaret's moccasin


We work very hard this weekend.
Have a Blessed Sunday! Wednesday! One week later! Argh!

Have a blessed week.

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alaska oil painting

Carol has a different Alaskan  still life setup.

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Carol's basket and mocs

Carol’s will have a glow coming from behind basket area, very classic look.

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Carol's first color sitting

Now for the oil painters out there. Our colors are mostly Robert Doak Colors. Some Windsor Newton.
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This is our standard palette plus blues. The amber blob near the thumb hole is Maroger Medium it makes the colors more transparent and keeps the flexibility and intensity of color. Ohhhh so nice! Our painting are smooth in texture.

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Robert Doak Colors


NOTE:::: Right to left
Titanium White, titanium yellow, cadium yellow light, cadium yellow medium, cadium yellow dark, yellow ochre, burnt sienna,burnt umber, raw umber, black, pyrol crimson( does not fade, so they say), Cadium red light, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue.

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Alaskan Still Life Oil Painting

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Margaret's set up ,in shadow box

What a whirlwind this summer and fall. Carol and I are settleing back into monthly oil painting lessons. Our lessons are 3 hours Friday and Saturday evenings.

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Toning the panel with burnt umber

We are moving along on our painting.
Our still life is Fur cuffed Alaskan moccasins, alaskan birch bark berry basket and wild blueberries for a natural touch.

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Carol's first sketch

Carol and I loved the texture of the suede and the fur.  The subtle shades and craftsmanship of the birch bark basket is lovely to see and touch. We wanted to paint these qualities into a painting.

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My first sketch.

Carol had a great idea and ordered faux blueberries to paint. As we finish the painting we will place real berries in to bring out the more “real” qualities of the blueberries.
This weekend we started adding our color first sitting. This layer has a color changes by value, light to dark.
The details are few, the challenge is to get the color value and intensity to match.

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Carol's first sitting, beautiful

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Margaret's first sitting

Whew! Now to wait until next month!

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Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Book Reviews, Botanical Drawing, Food and Restaurants, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Post trip. Oil painting and jobs

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Going Home


Carol and I are busy planning our next Art Expeditions…
Fours weeks have past, since Carol and I have left Alaska. It seems like years have gone by. So many changes, some good. Some will see what happens. For Carol after a bit of jet lag, life is returning to “normal”. Art teacher by day and librarian at night. ….busy hectic schedule.
For me, school started promptly at 7:30am, the day after I returned. This summer brought changes, cut to halftime due to enrollment drop. So art teacher in mornings and cognitive brain trainer in afternoons. Well my days are long and steady.
Last week I resigned from part time teaching job. It’s a great move.
Carol and I have started new oil paintings. Alaska themed!
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Photo of Alaska still life set up


Soft suede mocisains with fur and a sweet birch bark berry basket with blue berries tumbling out…this will ne fun.
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Under painting by Margaret


Our teacher Scott Royston, loved the still life set up.
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Faux blueberries


Carol found (bought) faux berries that look so real.
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Carol's underpainting


On to new art adventures…

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, Art Techniques, Oil Painting, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Hanging Around McCarthy

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Small garden im front of house

Over the next several days, our little art band, ate lunch and dinner at the Wrangell Mountain Center.
We listened to great art lectures and ideas from Kristen Link. Kristen is very knowledgeable on botanical and scientific drawing and the science part of the naturalist field sketching.

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River bed near McCarthy


Most days we waited until after lunch to go on location.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays
these couriers from the swift completion of their
appointed rounds.” the US Postal saying comes to mind with our outdoor sketching class.
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Looking at fallen cottonwoods


The first afternoon was down by the river bed. Fallen cottonwood trees and feathery Dryas flower lined the rocky dry riverbed. It was mostly misty then turned to light rain. After a little while any a few short sketches.
My watercolor sketches were a mess. We went back to the warmth of the hardware store for a bit of food and to finish our sketches.
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On location in Kennicott


Next day, we set off by bus to Kennicott with baged lunches and a few plastic ponchos. The light rain gave way to a steady cold rain. I was painting under my poncho. Rita had a great idea, she assured us the lady who runs the pizza bus in kennicott would love to have us use her tent. She also sells coffee and hot chocolate.
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Carol sketching


Did not have to ask Carol and I twice. The three of us packed quick and hiked down the hill to hot drinks, yummy calzone and dry sketching place.
Later we rode a very full bus of tour guides getting off duty, back to mccarthy. They said they we going to open mike night at Golden Saloon. Sounds fun.
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The Golden Saloon


After dinner, our books dried out enough to work on them. More talk and friendship.
Yes, we went to Golden Saloon. Great fun listening to Michele sing some of her original songs.
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The Golden Saloon McCarthy


Next day! More rain even harder. In the afternoon we set out to make a sketch map of someplace in McCarthy. I did a little path near the hardware store.
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A little path


Later that night afterdinner we had a final art show. Rita brought her summer works of art. Beautiful painting of the moraines and mountains. Mount Blackburn and Fireweed painted in brilliant shades of pinks, blues and violets. Stunning, they are painted in the Cape Cod Style of art that uses colors to give painting depth and light. Afterwards, the sun finally broke through, Rita and her Husband drove Carol and I back up to Kennicott to photograph the mountains and the mines in sunlight.
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Kennicott


Wow! We watched the sun set over Kennicott and walked to the top of the hill to Silk Stocking Row. Manager housing for the old mines. Many of the homes are fixed up very nice.we walked back to cars and headed back to McCarthy. The four of us went to Golden Saloon for some snacks and drinks. What nice new friends. We said our goodbyes and off to bed.

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Workshops, Botanical Drawing, Food and Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Wrangell Mountain Center

Carol and I showed up at 6 pm with bells on for our Natural History Field Sketching and Journaling workshop. We are hard to miss, two mid-age females who are very motivated to learn art…..

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Wood burning stove


Everyone at WMC was wonderful. Mary made a delicious soup and salad for dinner, we sat in the sales floor of the old hardware store. Long tables with plywood tops and benches all around for seating. It was chilly so Cobi’s dad kept the room warm with the wood stove. Ahhhh, warm dry heat, with the smell of wood stove. Sure beats the chilly heat pump at home.
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Main room at Hardware Store


We later went in to the other room for the evenings lecture and sketching class. Yes, I really love this part. I like traveling, but I love doing, making and thinking art.
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Skulls to sketch


Kristen Link taught our week long class. Kristen is well organized and really knows her stuff. Carol and I were introduced to our “classmates”, Rita, Cobi, Sam and Michelle. Just like at everyclass I have ever been, with great hesitation… we all introduced ourselves. Very interesting, we all like art.
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Feather to sketch


Kristen then went over the syllabus and displayed her sketchbooks. Impressive! A little sketching inside the room. And off to bed….

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Main Street McCarthy

Carol and I rode the Kennicott Lodge bus with our luggage down to McCarthy. It is overcast and cool with bouts of rain.

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Ma Johnson's Hotel


In front of Ma Johnson’s hotel we unload our baggage. Up on the porch we place our baggage. Out comes Neil the owner to help us. Carol, Neil and I wheel in our luggage. On week three, this luggage thing gets tiresome. Leaving the artcarts on the porch. Neil shows us to our room. How sweet, two twin beds with lovely quilts. Pretty folded towels with handmade soap tucked in and a bag of candy with a little poem next to our sink. The potty and shower is close by… big Yeah!  I plop on the bed for a couple minutes of heaven. Carol was looking for electric plug. No, luck….if you want to charge anything…phone, computer, ipad, camera and such you need to take it to the parlor. Electronic are lined up neatly on a few small tables against the wall.
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Ma Johnson's Hotel Parlor


ELECTRONIC WITHDRAW!!! To begin with I was a bit edgey about this, leaving my lifeline unattended. But after awhile you just don’t worry about it. Nobody was touching your stuff and visa versa. The phones and internet just don’t work right anyway. So after a day or so the withdraw subsides.

Not to forget the artcarts, the girl at the desk pointed me in the right direction, told me the Wrangell Mountain Center was in the hardware store and I couldn’t miss it. So off I went with the artcarts. Down the road and into a brandnew building that had hardware stuff in it. Well as it turns out, that was the grocery store. I bought some bottled icetea and a candy bar, I was famished. Back outside with two art carts and bag of food. Down farther a two story very large building with giant letters HARDWARE written on it.

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Harware Store McCarthy ak


How stupid can I be. I took the artcarts in and met Kristen, Cobi and Mary from the wrangell mountain center. Later in the evening our class started.
When I got back to Hotel, Carol was ready for our “tour around town”, one street. McCarthy proved to be more than met the eye.
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Mcountain Arts Gallery McCarthy Ak

We stoppd at the Mountain Arts gallery that showcased many local
artists. image
Then we stopped by the McCarthy-Kennicott Historical Museum. Great history and artifacts.
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Kennicott & Kennecott: choose carefully!

Once loaded in the van, Carol and I were off for a 15 minute ride up the mountain side. Passing hikers, bikers and a few trucks or buses onlong the one lane gravel road. The road was heavily tree lined, our only clue that we were on a mountain was the steep incline of the road.

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Kennicott Glacier Lodge


Nearing the top the trees gave way to a beautiful vista. Green mountains capped in clouds, a white glacier peeking out from the clouds in the distance. Red buildings with white trim. We knew we were in Kennicott.
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Mountain view from Kennicott


Still a little awed the group of us from the van we unloaded and taken into the Kennicott Glaciet Lodge. Just beautiful! Warm and welcoming. It was like stepping nack in time. A brass key ring was our room key with a door that opens to the long porch up front. Just lovely.
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Quick water color sketch of toe of glacier moraines


A fire in the parlor was roaring with guests enjoying the leather chairs.
Our had two double/queen beds and a sink.  Two chairs, thats luxury. That ment Carol and I could sit down at the same time.
Everything is super clean. The showers and toilets are shared. This was not a problem at all.
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Steak sandwich and potato soup


The food plan was great. Breakfast was included with room. The meal plan included a lunch and dinner. Lunch was a sandwich with soup or salad and a drink from 12-3. Dinner was family style seating promptly at 7pm. Great food and conversation. The other guests are very delightful.
Walking around the town takes mpre or less a day. They have a walking tour of the town 1 1/2hours, but Carol and I missed the 1pm start. Other tours are available, hiking and icehiking.
The National Park Service has a self guided walking tour and vistor center. Very nice. Everyone is friendly and helpful.
Now about the spelling issue, way back when the mines were started someone misspelled Kennicott with and -e- as in Kennecott. So what has occurred is the local residents use the -i- and the Park Service uses the -e- because of the Kennicott Minning Company. Hmmm…..

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Tale of Two Cities and One Town

Back long ago Anchorage was a tent city, with new people arriving daily. Not enough supplies to build houses. Shop owners and restauraunts were ran from tents.

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Anchorage Then and Now

Anchorage began to boom during the 40’s because of the war and again in the 90’s to become a large city.

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Kennicott Then and now

Kennicott was a thriving prim and proper company town from the 20’s through 1938, boasting of all the modern conviences electric, indoor plumbing and hot water. The Kennecott Hospital was the first hospital in Alaska to have an xray machine. Impressive! The town boasted of heated sidewalks in winter, from the steam pipes that heated the houses and stores. All this ended abruptly in 1938 when the copper mining company pulled out.

Down the hill from Kennicott is a not so prim and proper fun loving town of McCarthy.

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Golden Saloon McCarthy Ak


McCarthy started as a center of fun and commerce. With places to buy almost anything. Hardware stores, fancy dress shops and mens clothing. Very fancy for a remote town in Alaska from 1915-1938. Saloons and parlors were a plenty.
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Old truck years ago


They ran taxis all hours so the miners would not miss their shifts. Just think of that, the bar would take you back to work after a night of fun. When the Kennecott mine closed, it tore up the railroad tracks and left McCarthy abandoned.
Many of the townspeople left. But many also stayed.
To cross the river the town folk built a tram to cross the river.
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This was for real......

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New walking bridge


My brother Paul in the early 90’s visited by way of the tram. Harrowing at best, can you imagine using the tram in bad weather. Yikes!
Carol and I were lucky enough to have a much nicer way to cross the river. We parked our car at the parking lot, the Seth drove us to the walking bridge. Then unloaded the luggage to a trolley(push cart you guys on east coast) and we all walked and talked over the bridge. Admiring the rushing green glacier river. I know I would have been nuts using the tram. Carol and I were met at the other side by a young man from the Kennecott Lodge. Both young men loaded our very heavy luggage. Talked for a bit and we road to the Kennecott Lodge….
Happy Travels
Margaret

Categories: alaska, art expedition, Art Workshops, Botanical Drawing, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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