Friday, August 14, 2015


OMG! It really is my fiftieth state painting (and my first trip to our forty-ninth state). Six years 'working' on this project. What fun it has been.

Katchemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

We drove the Kenai peninsula down to Homer and saw the pale turquoise Russian River with many people fishing. We saw glaciers and snow covered mountains, a moose, nesting bald eagles, fields of lupines. We stayed at Land's End Resort on Homer Spit in Kachemak Bay where sea otters played outside our window. It was our 40th wedding anniversary celebration. We spent a great deal of time lounging on the deck watching fishing boats go by. Homer is great. (We like working towns...we live in one - Brattleboro Vermont.)

We took the Denali Star train to Fairbanks... a civilized way to travel. Caught a glimpse of Mt. McKinley through clouds. We loved Fairbanks, too. Especially Just Short of Magic, Alaska Dog Mushing School and Educational Tours. There was no snow, of course, but we got to pet, feed and cuddle 28 Alaskan Husky sled racing dogs and discuss breeding traits; lead, wheel, swing dog positioning, harnessing, different sleds and life at 40 below.... one of the traits mushers breed for is good appetite; you want all dogs to eagerly put their faces in their bowls and eat all of it immediately before it freezes. That dog food fuels the race. Looking for a real Alaskan experience? Go to Eleanor's mushing school this winter and sleep in her Yurt B and B. It is way COOL. She is wonderful.

Our other favorite thing we did in Fairbanks is visit the Museum of the North at University of Alaska. That museum of art, history and culture ranks very high in our list of favorite museums anywhere. It's a beautiful contemporary ice chunk of a building. that gave us a warm welcome. We spent the entire day there and were still reluctant to leave due to the fact that we may not return soon.

We visited Alaska at the summer solstice and especially in Fairbanks it never really got dark. Lots of things were open late and it made for a relaxed day, knowing you wouldn't run out of daylight. There were some zombie fishermen whose dream had come true; fishing round the clock non-stop. They were lugging full coolers of salmon and halibut home to prove it.

Nice to finish this Fifty State Plein Air Painting Project with an Alaska adventure. Now I get it...why people love Alaska. This is what I can say about every state. Now that I have been there and stayed a little bit I see the charm of them all. They unite to form a diverse and beautiful country.

I will be exhibiting selections from the project and I'll let you know where and when. You have seen the whole collection unfold here. Thanks for taking the trip with me.


A beautiful, perfect Saturday morning on the Columbia River; Port of Camas-Washougal to be specific. What could be better? (well, not having an infected Vermont spider bite on my ear would help..but never mind...who's complaining?) So everyone and their brother, dog, kid is putting boats in the water and unloading fish from boats and really enjoying the start of a great day on the river.

Then something happened that I don't think ever happened to me before; a woman jogged by and stopped to tell me "You picked the most beautiful place around here for your painting. No Kidding, I've been all over the Northwest and this is the prettiest." That was a wonderful thing to say to someone who had been led to that spot by intuition, not experience or referral. Mostly when I am painting some train cars, or neighborhood corner garden passers-by tell me about a really pretty location and suggest I go there to paint. I always say 'I will, thanks'. I have tried not to rely on the state icons for this project. I like to find a scene that appeals to me and make a good picture out of it. It's the regular, every-day things that tie us together as a politically diverse country.

After I had made most of a picture of the Puffin Cafe,  Michael Poster and I walked down to have some "Caribbean Cuisine, Pirate Cookin' and Spirits".  It was very good. We loved the bartender. She may have concocted a potion to banish spider bites and swollen faces. I may not have been the first patron she's seen with a fat ear and red lopsided face...she serves pirates, after all.