Botanical Drawing

Alaskan Still Life Oil Painting


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.


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.


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.


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.


Carol's first sitting, beautiful


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

Hanging Around McCarthy


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

This was for real......


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

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Copper to Copper Aug. 19, 2013

From Copper Center to the copper mines of Kennnicott, Ak. 


Tractor at Willow Lake B&B

What a trip we left Willow Lake after a nice tour of the handbuilt log cabins and a delicious breakfast of sourdough pancakes at Willow Lake B&B . Jim and Linda are great hosts.
We drove south on Richardson Highway to pick up the road east to Chitina.

Copper Center Gift shop

On our way we stopped at the delightful shop run by. It is a mix of Alaskan art and gifts, convience store and a bit of hardware supplies. Found some goodies and a couple bottles of ice tea. My vertigo is still giving me trouble, still bracing as I walk around. On to McCarthy. We drove for awhile on Edgerton highway and stopped for gas at The Kenny Lake Mercantile’s General Store .

Gas and drinks

It took me awhile to figure out how to pump gas on old fashioned gas pump.

Kenney Lake Gas Station

The lady inside really thought something was wrong with me. LOl…she noticed. Remember to stop about here, no more gas stations between here and McCarthy/ Kennicott.
Off like a herd of turtles, we stopped at the Golden Spruce Convienence Storefor sandwiches.

Very good food homemade bisscotti to die for, vanilla with i think walnuts dipped in white chocolate and chocolate with walnuts dipped in dark chocolate.

Then Carol and I drove and drove, stopping to take photos and Go Pro. So many beautiful photos.
We stopped by Chitina, what a quaint town. I loved the Spirit Mountain Arts Art Gallery.

It was a big WOW! Beautiful artwork from artists around Alaska. Prints, watercolors, drawings, jewelry, knitted hats, slik scarves and more. I found a nice screen print of silver salmon.

After a few hundred shots of Chitna, we got back into our car.


The Road to McCarthy

This is where paved roads end.
My brother Paul’s parting words on
The Road To McCarthy: “Drive Slow!”

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Homer to Whittier: through the longest tunnel in US. 08-15-2013


A truck in Homer, Ak filled with pots of flowers

Carol and I left Homer early and drove North toward Whittier.

Go by Homer

It was a picture perfect day….that is an understatement. No clouds just bright warm sun and a cloudless sky most of the way. I do believe Carol and I should work for Google maps.

Ninilchik, Ak


Cute little gift shop in Ninilchik, Ak


Fishing Boat Ninilchik, Ak

We photographed our cameras, gopro apnd phones until the batteries died. Remind my to buy ever-ready stock when I get home. 🙂

I loved the name, lets all move to Happy Valley


Great little abandoned house

We drove through Ninilchik, Happy Valley, Soldotnia, Sterling, Cooper Landing and Kenai.

We took By-pass along the Kenai River, around Lakes Skilak and Kenai. This route to Whittier lead us around mountians, lakes and valleys.
We ate a yummy box lunch of salmon salad and chips, made by my brother Paul.


Yummy salmon salad

Rolls by Two Sisters Bakery, Homer. Thank you Paul.
As we came close to Portage, we turned right to go to the Whittier tunnel and Whittier. Right before the tunnel is a lovely Begich Boggs Vistors Center & Park. It was very interesting, run by NPS. Lots of things to do( my camera died before I could get a picture of me sitting with Smokey Bear. He lives in Alaska in summer…wink wink) on the Glacier fed lake you could see 3 or so glacier pretty close up. Portage Glacier fed into lake but was hidden by mountains. A large Real iceberg was floating in lake.


Begich Boggs Vistors center lake


Glacier near Whittier Tunnel

Carol drove through the Anton Memorial Tunnel to Whittier. The tunnel is 13,200 feet long. It took us 7.5 minutes to drive through. The single lane road is paved with a railroad track in the middle of road.

Approach to Whittier Tunnel


Waiting in line Whittier tunnel

We took gopro video. We will see how to get that on utube.

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Supplies, Goodies and Girwood

Wednesday,August 7, ..2013
After a yummy breakfast of oatmeal, canadian bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs and hot fresh waffles. (This is every weekday morning) hey joe: wink wink…you can make mom breakfast like this everyday….
We headed over to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson airforce/army base to shop for supplies. Most of the supplies we needed are items that are crazy or illegal on airplanes. Pocket knife, lighter, bear spray (I was wise enough to ask clerk how to use spray the bear, not yourself. it is industrail pepper spray…a lady at the store uses it to scares dogs & not mess with that girl…whoa!) , laundry detergent, hat and assorted goodies for family and friends..sorry you will have to wait until we come home…patience my dears. Below are some of the decor in the px.


Hunting Trophies

I sent supplies for the Icon workshop from Maryland…they never arrived, ten days and counting.
Well PLAN 2 goes into effect: New supplies. We stopped byBlaine’s Art for the supplies. Wow! This is the most amazing fine art store. The staff bent over backwards to help. Carol and I were pretty crazed over how to find the supplies and cut them. Well the young man at Blair’s listened to the pickle I was in and cut the mat board to the correct size and lent me a papercutter to cut the rest of the supplies. We also picked up a couple of Tombo markers for our sketching class in 2 weeks.

Blaines Art

After Blaines, we drove to Girwood.
It took us forever to drive to Girwood, we kept stopping to take pictures.



Mud Flats


Carol and I thought it would be fun to ride the Tram up Alyeska Resort mountain and have dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant. No luck, sold out. We drove back to the hotel. We stopped in the town of Girwood and picked up a cup of coffee and biscotta. Yummy, good fresh made coffee, the hippie like atmosphere made me smile.The weather is low 63’s and drizzle.


The Grind in Girwood

Later in the afternoon we came back to theResidence Inn for an evening meal of BBQ Shrimp rice and vegetables.fd

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Soup and Silk Painting

Tuesday Aug. 6
Whew! And You thought I was finished with Tuesday, Aug. 6th. No way, traveling with Carol is a delightful marathon.



Our last adventure on Monday was silk painting at Alaska Art Experience. I can not rave enough about this. Start with a 30 minute ride through beautiful scenic Alaska.

Roadside flower in Chugiak Ak

The view of mountains, mud flats, flowers, rivers and streams was just majestic.


Chugiak Ak

Then drive into a rural neighborhood to a beautiful cabin adorned with colorful flowers. We are greeted by David Marrow and Pepper (a darling mini daschand). Out comes Gina Marrow in an apron, smiling and warmly welcoming us to come in. As we enter, Carol and I choose colored water glasses (they happen to match the colors of the auora ). Then yummy apetizers of crackers and pineapple salsa over cream chese, then yummy warm peanutbutter cookies with nuttella. Two more guests joined our group they were real estate agents.
How fun is that. Then David gave a nice talk on the Alaskian Art Experience. About Gina the artist, the house and creek, Auora and silk painting. Then we were escorted out to the wrap around deck that overlooks the creek.

Then we started painting the large silk scarves. In shades of blue and green with touches of red. Dark blue to resemble the night sky.
As the scarves were drying: Gina set out a beautiful dinner of fresh salad, homemade dinner rolls and homemade potato with crisp bacon or curry soup. It was so delicous. Gina is a wonderful chef. After a delightful diner of great company and delicious meal. Gina showed everyone her lovely studio and explained how she paints her silk art and pastels.


Carol's beautiful silk Northern Lights

Then our scarves were dry and it was time to leave.


Margaret's silk Auora scarves

We said our goodbyes and drove back to Anchorage. What a great day.
Weather mid60’s overcast but nice
Happy travels and God bless

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Short lunch-Run fast

Tuesday Aug 6
After our meeting we drove across town through heavy traffic, the four lane highways run through Anchorage as main streets. We went to the Anchorage Museum to see a plantarium movie – Experience the Aurora.
Marvel as the Northern Lights shimmer and glisten overhead
with time-lapse footage captured in the Arctic Circle. This immersive show is the next best thing to being under Alaska’s winter night sky.
We came into the museum and had a great lunch of turkey and swiss on homemade bread, chips, sweet tea. The highlight of lunch… homemade creamy bcon filled with large chunks of crisp sweet pickles potato salad followed by soft and chewy homemade peanut butter cookies. To die for..
Carol and I then went and sat in the auditorium …..humm….2 minutes we are still alone with dim lights..a real quick check of museum map..oooops..wrong place…off fast ..ran to planetarium. Thank God the not to far. We really enjoyed the movie and the comfy seats.. amazing footage of Aurora.


Just beautiful photography, from Ak, Iceland and other places of the Northernlights.
We were amazed with the Native Alaskian collections in the museum. . Wow! Even though they are very beautiful all were made to be usefull.


Art exhibit of Alaska. Sketchbooks, drawings and paintings of Alaska.
Anchorage Museum Gallery Artists

Alaska Exhibit website
happy travels and Godbless,
Come back for notes on painting class.
Weather mid 60’s light rain

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Kids, Colored Pencils and Nacho Chips


Colored pencil Carol Mackie Morris

Project 1

colored pencil

Carol Mackie Morris

08-01-2013 carol morris project 2 maryland black eyed susan oak

Project 2

Colored Pencil

Carol Morris

08-01-2013 carol morris project 3 hibiscus

Project 3

Colored Pencil

Carol Morris

Today was our last class at Corcoran School of Art and Design
Sunday Aug. 4, 2013
Botanical Drawing course. Today was our critique class, we brought our projects and everyone enjoyed discussing and giving sugestions. It was wonderful, to be able to have eight peoples ideas of your work. Hands down this was the best class I have taken. Big shout out to our teacher, Carol Beach.


Today, my daughter Anna, my son Joe and Anna’s boyfriend Mike came to drive Carol and I to the airport tomorrow.
Anna spent today on a college english paper, Go Anna Go! Then the trio went to the massive Georgetown, DC flea market. What fun.
After class, off the Cactus Cantina on 3300 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC. Wow! We ordered the Plato Gordo, Beef and chicken fajitas, costillas (pork ribs), and camarones diablo (shrimp).
Served with fresh flour tortillas, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo and frijoles a la charra.(Serves up to four people).
The dinner was unbelievable. Grilled shrimp, beef and veggies were great. BBQ ribs were so tender. Add rice and Guacamole to finish. We are now at the hotel near BWI.
finishing my Hibuscus drawing .



Up early tomorrow and off to airport.
Sleep well my readers.
God bless and happy travels

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Packing and Closing.


4000+ miles to get to Alaska

Packing for a three week road trip, argh! What to bring? What to leave? What will airline tolorate?
Short list: weeks worth of clothes. Hiking shoes, flip flops, nice shoes.
A dress, toiletries including mosquito repellant (I heard they were bad this year…oh no) …..list goes on.


Mosquito Repellant!!!!


Art cart and supplies in big black bag, clothes in big white bag and carry-on. Plus a tote-bag purse. My aching back!!!!

And of course ART supplies: camera, tripod, batteries, flashlight, computer, flash drive. Now the  fun stuff two Komtrak sketchbooks with assorted art paper cut to size (drawing and watercolor), drawing pencil, erasers white and drawing erasers, scissors, tape, envelopes, magnifing glass, colored pencils, watercolor kit, water color pencils for plane, exacto knife and not to forget pencil sharpener.
I am finally packed.
God bless Margaret

Categories: alaska, Art Educations, art expedition, art supplies, Art Supplies and Equipment, Art Techniques, Art Workshops, Botanical Drawing, Oil Painting, travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment