Monday, December 14, 2009

Fairbanks, Alaska 1995

The Time Between Seasons 2007
12"x16" acrylic on canvas

I arrived in Fairbanks Alaska in the fall of 1995. Seasonal employment with the Alaska Railroad was what brought me to Alaska and during the winter layoff season I began to attend classes at the nearby University of Alaska. To save money I located myself just outside of town in a rustic little log cabin that was surrounded by boreal forest land. Many miles of trails that had long been established by dog mushers, skiers and hikers, wound through these woods and In a matter of minutes I could easily be outside my front door and along one of these trails.  Daily excursions into the forest became a big part of my life for many years and I would often walk alone with my dog and with my thoughts. I enjoyed the serenity of my peaceful surroundings and carefully observed how the changing seasons dramatically affected the look and feel of the landscape. Different times of day and the changing seasons offered great variety for what was to  eventually become my subject matter for many years to come. As I adapted to my new lifestyle, and between work and school, it was a good escape for and I often did my best thinking and reflecting along these walks.

To capture and record these moments I would  tote along a camera or a sketch book and began to do some quick studies here and there on location. I was taking art  classes at the university but it would be a while before I actually used this reference material for subject matter. It wasn't until about 2 years later that I actually picked up a paint brush. To meet class and curriculum requirements I working my way through a variety of other subject matter and other media too. When the time came for the trees I had a better understanding of how to describe not just the images but the emotions behind them with paint. I had observed how other artisans had approached similar subject matter and I had some of my own  ideas about how I would approach it myself. The series which started out as simply my little "tree" paintings eventually got the official name "Meditation Forest."

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