Happy summer solstice! Summer solstice officially occurs at 2:07 am Alaska Time. Where I live in McCarthy the sun will rise at 3:49 am and set at 11:17 pm for a total of 19 hours and 28 minutes of daylight. That contrasts with the winter solstice, where we have 5 hours and 22 minutes of daylight. Daylight gives us energy and makes us happy so it’s a reason to celebrate. You can use this daylight calculator to see how much daylight there is on a certain day of the year in your location.Read More
I just launched a Patreon page, Nizina Naturals, as a way to share my upcoming work with you. This is something I've thought a lot about. As much as I love putting a gallery show together and putting my work behind glass on big, white walls, I am really excited about creating something more intimate, that you can hold in your hands.Read More
I’m sitting down at my computer to write in the evening. I just watered the garden, but a new rainstorm is moving up the valley from the Chugach. I hear Robins and Varied Thrushes singing outside and I found that many of the Calypso Orchids are in bloom today. Many other flowers will follow them. Summer and its’ frenetic energy seem to have arrived on the Nizina. I thought I’d sit down and give you a summary of where I’ll be and when, so you can follow along with me.Read More
“Loneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. It is a condition of separateness. Solitude is becoming one with the space around you. It is a condition of union. Loneliness is small, solitude is large. Loneliness closes around you; solitude expands toward the infinite. Loneliness has its roots in words, in an internal conversation that nobody answers; solitude has its roots in the great silence of eternity”
-Quote by Kent Nerburn, which I found posted by @northernproject on Instagram several months ago.Read More
This post is going to be more of a photo essay. I want to share my recent experience doing an artist in schools residency in Nondalton. First welcome to Nondalton! It takes about an hour to fly there from Anchorage, located on the Alaska Peninsula on Six Mile Lake which drains out of Lake Clark and into the Newhalen River. I was there in April, during their last two weeks of school so the lake was frozen, but you couldn't quite trust the ice to go too far. Even though it was break up you could tell the importance of the geography of the watershed. People drive over the lake in the winter and use boats to get around in the summer.Read More
I’m not the type of tourist who wants to see every museum that a place has to offer, but I do love to go and spend a couple of hours walking around an art or natural history museum. Often when going to a new museum there is so much to see that I get overwhelmed. One of my favorite ways to slow down and appreciate what’s in front of me (instead of worrying about trying to see everything) is to bring a sketchbook or journal and take some time for focused observation.Read More
While I was traveling in Vietnam and Cambodia I filled an accordion sketchbook, and I had quite a bit of fun doing it. Accordion sketchbooks are relatively cheap to buy, or are easy to make; they are portable, and provide a wealth of options for how to fill them. First I am going to show you how to make your own, then I’ll write a bit about how I filled mine while traveling.Read More
Think about using both pages of your sketchbook (the spread) to spread out and tell more of a story, adding context to your original illustration. In this post are three examples from my travel sketchbook. I love drawing and thinking about plants, so that is my focus here, but you can obviously choose whatever you like as your subject.Read More
Creating your own field guide or collection can be a great way to organize visual information. You also can be creative with it and don’t need to take it to a Sibley-level of perfection unless you want to. Here is an example of a collection of different tropical flowers I found while walking around Hoi An, Vietnam.Read More
I have a 13-hour flight from Vancouver to Guangzhou and then a 5-hour layover in China before getting to Vietnam. I thought it would be fun to write a post on some things you can do on the airplane. I especially wanted to provide some ideas that don’t involve the Internet or watching movies (though that is a great way to pass the time too). I want to prep a few activities that aren’t too mentally grueling and maybe are even a bit relaxing.Read More
I’m leaving in a few days to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia (want to come with and share the experience? learn more here). Note that since I live in remote Alaska, it is going to take me a few days to get there. Before I leave, I wanted to write a post about what I’m bringing with me.
First of all, there is nothing wrong with keeping your sketch kit simple and affordable. A notebook with unlined paper and pen or pencil will suffice! Really lined paper would be fine too. However as a professional artist I have lots of art supplies, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites for taking on the go.Read More
I’ve been working on this blog post for a while. I keep putting it off because wilderness is a complicated idea near and dear to my heart. Before I begin I feel the need to disclaim that I’m not going to be able to fit all of my thought in one blog post, but that doesn’t mean I should share some of them.
One of the projects I am working on right now is to illustrate a poster for the Nellie-Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area. Last summer I did an artist residency there with the US Forest Service...Read More
This is a continuation of my last post. At the start of the year I want to share a bit about what goes on behind the scenes as a working artist. In part 1, I talked about my daily rituals, which include journaling, planning, and reflecting. Today I want to share my bigger picture review process. Again, I want to share some of the resources that I’ve found useful in hopes that they’ll be helpful to others.Read More
I think that as an artist, I’m often sharing finished work, and even work in progress or studio shots, but I don’t always give a good picture of all that goes on behind the scenes. I put this post together to discuss some of the planning and reflecting I do to keep myself on track. I want to share a few art and independent business resources that I’ve found useful in hopes that they’ll be helpful to others.Read More
One thing I have written a few times in my list of goals is “work larger” or on a bigger scale.
This fall, I returned to something I tried back in 2012, working with acrylic paint on wood panels. I also tried to scale things up a bit. I created two larger paintings this fall: Nizina River Habitat, (which was then purchased by the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank) and K’esugi Ridge (which I just finished and is available).Read More
My last post doubted the presence of winter. A week later it has gotten colder. We still just have a light dusting of snow, so you can't ski or really travel much by snowmachine (or at least I wouldn't), but it feels and looks like winter outside. So in contrast I wanted to share some photos from the shortest day of the year and the beauty that it holds. Happy solstice to all and happy winter solstice to those living in the northern hemisphere.Read More
Lara Gastinger is a botanical artist and illustrator in Virginia who keeps the most inspiring sketchbook. I found her work on instagram (@laragastinger), where each week she usually posts from her “perpetual journal”, a weekly journal and sketchbook (now two books) that she’s been keeping for over a decade, since 2000. Her artwork is gorgeous in its own right, but the collection she’s put together and shares in her perpetual journal is really inspiring.Read More