Monthly Archives: July 2009

July 27, 2009 Trip to John Sedor’s Cabin in Seldovia

It was a lovely travel weekend full of adventure.  I hadn’t intended on making it to Halibut cove, but I was lucky enough to hitch a ride over on a local’s boat, within five minutes of arrival of the Homer Spit boat harbor!  What luck!  It can be problematic getting over and across from the Cove if you don’t have a boat, or tons of cash.  I prefer to keep my pocket change in my wallet, so getting a free ride over is always welcomed.  We beat our host to his house and chilled on the Maury’s dock for about an hour.  A skiff-load of guests arrived wet (from the ride) but their spirits were not dampened as they had been sippin’ on rum on the way over!  We were all in the Cove to attend a pirate party, that had started at around 4 in the afternoon.  Ian, our host, arrived at around 10:00.  So we were a bit behind schedule.  We had a salmon dinner that couldn’t be beat and ran on over to the pirate party.  I painted at the party, a cute little picture of the ferry, the Danny J.  I stashed the painting just as the accordion stopped playing, the band had ended but the dancing didn’t and we had a dandy of a good time.  The only thing a bit concerning me was the inebriation level of the fire dancers, I guess one of them had an accident and caught herself on fire, so she had to be thrown into the Cove!  I think she had some pretty serious burns….:(

Maria and I returned to our sweet accommodations in the old Alex Combs studio, for an excellent night of sleep.  We awoke the next morning bright and early to catch the Danny J back to Homer.  I brought the little painting as a fare to get Maria and I across.  We arrived to Homer a mere hour later, just in time for me to catch a flight to Seldovia which is only about 20 miles west of Halibut Cove, across the bay from Homer.  I have been commissioned by John Sedor to make a piece based off of his summer home in Seldovia, Alaska.  It was a treat to get to go to Seldovia as I have never been before.  Although the weather was nice at first, this horrible storm started to blow in and I was treated to a nice little shower right on John’s deck!  Oil paint doesn’t like to stick to wet surfaces so I forced the painting to happen hurriedly before I was forced to pack it up.  I got a really nice feel for the place even though I was unable to paint more that this one piece.  Caught my flight back from Seldovia, and Maria and I made our way out of Homer.  That storm made it so we decided not to camp out on the Spit, the weather-band radio told us that we should expect 40 knot winds, and that didn’t sound appealing to us, nor did the onslaught of rain.  I told Maria if I was on my bike I would have kept riding!  So that is what we did, we kept truckin’ in the Subaru right on out of there.  Maria wanted to stop in Nicholaevsk really bad, so we took a detour on an attempt to find it and after half an hour of dirt road driving we did find it, a cute little Russian village off the road on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.  Maria made a stop at the Samovar Cafe and ordered a second dinner, we had already stopped at the Cosmic Kitchen for a late lunch-early dinner.  The Pelmeni and Pirogis were “vcusna” (delicious) and we bombed back to Anchorage late that night only stopping to make coffee in the rain once!  What a weekend, four towns in two days and a couple of paintings too!  Sorry I didn’t get a shot of the Danny J piece but next time you head to the Cove ask the attendant if it is in the ship.

seldovia alaska cabin


1969 Feelin’ Fine 7/22/2009

This bus is an exemplary form of the camper bus.  My friend Rob has been working on restoring it for the last two years, and he’s putting a sweet new engine in it as we speak.  I painted this painting from the front to show off the vanity plates as the boys were tinkering in the garage with the new motor.  We had a swell time until we noticed that the new engine didn’t have the right engine mounts.  Oops!  Oh well, I’m sure Rob will get it up and running soon.  Then we’ll all be ridin’ fine in 2009.

1969 VW Camper Bus Painting

A Plein Air Beer for July 17, 2009

Everybody knows how much I like beer but here is one of my faves.  It is a truly tasty ale, not too strong, but high in flavor and mojo!  Twilight Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.  This is one of their summer specials and is a seasonal product.  I like it because it is perfect for sipping in the midnight sun where twilight is extended for several hours.  I painted this beer outside on my friend Dicker’s deck, on the corner of 3rd and A street downstairs from where I used to live.  We were very sad to see his old grill bite the dust, so I painted this beer in front of the old grill to commemorate it.  It has been there for some really good memories, after 3 years of some of the best salmon in all the world I figured it was the least I could do.  So here is a toast to the midnight sun and well cooked salmon on the barbie!  Salute!

Twilight Ale deschutes beer painting

Year-old Painting Dug out of the Studio for Today’s Entry: July 14, 2009

Well I was busy yesterday hosting a dinner party for Maria’s friends from the class of 1999 West Anchorage High School!  It was a delicious success, thank you Christina for cooking!  I made my famous seed loafs and sat back and watched the ladies go crazy in the kitchen.  So I guess what I am saying is I went to the archives for this picture because I was busy last night being fat and happy and I slept in this morning.  After taking care of finances, I am finally ready for painting, however it is overcast and I am still sluggish from the feast so I figured I would post this unseen painting.  Now I can get back to the studio to work on portraits for a while!  I should mention to everybody to go to my show at Arctic Playgroundz!  I forgot to tell people at my house last night, and I think my best work is there right now.  Okay, I will talk about this painting.  Last year Maria, her mother, and I all went out to Vern Halter’s Dream A Dream sled dog tours to see the puppies (quite cute) and then on to Talkeetna for a burger and beer at the West Rib Pub.  After which we had a little beach fire at the Talkeetna river!  Since I have not made it back to Talkeetna this year this is a good memory to remember as it was the most recent trip out there.  Good times can definitely be had in Talkeetna!!!

talkeetna river campfire alaska painting

July 13, 2009 beer beer beer beer…

Beer # 80!!  And plein air at that!  I have been working on getting this beer series together for around two years now and I am getting very excited that I may come to a finish very soon!  Only 19 more to go is a very encouraging thought indeed.  I painted this painting of Sol due to the heavy inquiry for Mexican beers from fans of the series.  Maria and I decided to recreate our first date and went on a tandem bicycle ride to Point Woronzof.  We had a pretty great time, and I was even able to paint a beer painting from life!  The strange thing was we were there on a Friday afternoon, and it was a heavy airplane traffic time.  I kept having to drop my brush in the sand to plug my ears because those jets are soooo loud!  It was nice there on the beach and we set up while watching a couple of boys (men) play on the beach, they decided  to pick up a log and throw it around… How manly of them.  Well, they took off and a bus-load of military academy girls all in high school showed up.  It was very surreal to watch these young women stroll around the coastline all wearing matching blue uniforms and gabbing amongst themselves.  I was slightly self conscious about the beer I had in front of me, but not enough to quit painting!  Well they all packed up and left as a family came down to the beach.  The family didn’t look so Western to me but they were drinking Western Family soda and left several cans behind on the beach that Maria and I cleaned up before we left after them!  I guess it made me feel better about publicly drinking as at least I wasn’t leaving litter at the park behind me.  I do not know what their deal was but people, please don’t litter, it is really rude.  Especially when on the beach, it goes right into the ocean unless somebody else picks up after you!!!  Okay enough harping and hope you enjoy the sun!

This painting is available for sale at my online shop!

Sol Mexican beer on beach painting

July 9, 2009 The Last of the Lake House Paintings and Tales of a BBQ Failure…

Good morning!  I am glad to see you here at the plein air blog today!  The sun is breaking above the clouds here in Anchorage and a red sun is visible through the particulates (smoke). The forest fires in Alaska have been making the air quality unique to say the least.  Yesterday, I had a frustrating painting day, due to all the smoke.  It is impossible to see very far, so I decided against landscape.  I had been shopping with Dicker all morning for a new BBQ, after a quick trial run with the cedar plank it became obvious that the new grill was great.  It’s Electric! (not the dance, the grill…)  So now he is legitimate to BBQ on his sweet balcony.  Phew!  All these years using propane, we could have been blown to pieces at any moment!  A propane tank is a dangerous thing to suspend 20 feet in the air in case of explosion.  I think terrorists have been using them as bombs for years.  I painted the new electric grill “en plein air” (outside) on the deck, well the painting sucked as you can imagine a painting of a BBQ is a half baked idea to start with (and a last ditch effort to appease Maria for the lack of productivity due to a BBQ emergency, the old grill had died).  So after an hour or so of struggling with it I gave up, and just wiped the surface to save it for something better.  I probably will have something to do with this red sun today.  It is amazing how well oil paint wipes off of the red gold surface I prepare.  Of course the paint was only on there for about 2 hours and oil takes up to two weeks to dry. I am looking forward to painting the sun as it is probably the most remarkable thing that I can see from Anchorage today.  The red gold surface should be perfect for the project and it is a better subject than the grill.  As for your plein air picture for this entry, I give you the last of the lake house paintings.  This one is from last year and had been sequestered in the Berry lake house for a whole year.  Now I publish it to the world for you and I hope that you find it to be as interesting as the view I painted it from.  The people in the canoe are Anneliese Loescher and my wife Maria.  Happy viewing!

Kenai Lake alaska painting

Per Berry the Coolest Little Dog Around!

Here is Per the Berry’s dog who Leah has to dog sit.  It is Leah’s mom’s dog and I seem to get along well with him.  Although he does seem to get agitated when I am contemplating skipping a stone at the beach, he wants me to hurry up and throw it!  He also gets upset when I skip stones at all because they go too far into the lake.  Per will only go out till his chest gets wet and then he forgets the rocks are out there and returns with this cute look on his face as if to say “like what?”  So another fun painting from last year.  Per was there at the lake house this year and we all got along fine!  I am not quite sure who’s shoe that is, but they must have sat still for most of an hour in order to remain in the painting.  Good times!  Chillin’ on the deck!

cute dog painting on deck

More Pics from LKD Kenai Lake House and Stories of the Weekend: 7-7-09

rose bud painting

Howdy, and welcome back to my plein air painting blog!  I am always excited when I am able to execute a plein air painting successfully, and I am glad to do it quickly too.  This is why I use the painting palette I have developed over the last several years of my career.  Because this unique palette allows me to mix the colors I will be needing ahead of time, and my quick set up time allows me to capture light as quickly as possible making for a more successful plein air painting.  The weekend in Kenai was a real treat and I was glad to have brought out a fresh palette full of paint.  Last year I painted four paintings in a two day span, and this year I only made two.  I was bombarded by micro flies when I was painting this rosebud (below) and when I went in for breakfast I came out to find a million flies had landed in both the painting and the palette,  I scraped the flies from the painting but I was unable to get them out of the paint in my palette.  Bummer.  After struggling through the rose which was  deceptively difficult painting to create, I figured it was cool for the weekend and just chilled.  I wish I had brought the fly filled paint with me for the Fourth party at Seward, because the Seward coastline was looking so amazing, but I was busy with the parade and stuff so it was probably for the best.  We did have a great day in Seward after I painted in the morning finally finding Bob Poe (Alaska needs a governor) and the start of the parade.  Maria and I took our tandem bike to Seward, parked our truck in the Safeway parking lot and cruised through Seward until we found the “Poe Mobile” which was completely unmanned.  We kept wandering around all the streets of Seward, what are there three of them?  Until we found the parade and Bob Poe (and I met Bob Poe candidate for governor) yelled for us to come over, amazing how visible you can be on a shiny blue tandem bike.  Well I rode on the back of the tandem and threw candy to the kids at the parade.  I only almost fell off once, but I persevered and ladies were streaming through finishing the Mt. Marathon race, no I did not see my sister run through, however that would have been cool!  Bob Poe was running around shaking hands as quickly as possible, it is hard to have a short meeting during a parade!  Afterwards Maria and I found a wonderful park bench and took in the view.  It was nice to avoid the throngs of people, however we decided to follow that by watching the mens Mt. Marathon race as they stumbled down the rocky scree.  We ran into Ian and crew in their sweet VW Westfalia, and saw Zareena and Athena, amazing Athena took 3rd in the kids race!  We also saw Jack, Jessica and Nate, it seemed like the entire state of Alaska had driven, biked, hiked, or crawled into Seward for this short holiday weekend! After all that excitement we made it safely back to the lake house in Cooper Landing for another evening of excitement.  Fireworks at the neighbors and two different versions of beer pong had me tired by midnight and I sadly said au revoir to the holiday.

Kenai Lake Beach House with Leah K. Davis and Friends!

Kenai Lake alaska Painting

Oh what a lovely weekend!  Maria and I went out to the Berry lake house on Kenai Lake.  We had and enchanting time relaxing on the beach, eating tasty treats and living the good life.  The light was perfect and the midnight sun was beaming around mountains with unique lighting effects.  The lake is such an interesting color of blue because of the glacial silt, it is a turquoise blue that reminds me of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. I kept telling Leah I was going down to the ocean!  We had many laughs and great cheer for over the weekend and I picked up some paintings from last year as well.  I painted this one on Friday night 7-03-2009.  The sky was so bright It seemed the most brilliant yellow.  The mountain, Langile Mtn(?),  was very close, but in the evening a misty haze came over the lake and with the lighting it was inspiring.

Here is One from Last Week in Wrangell St. Elias!

mccarthy alaska footbridge painting

Well here is a toast to you Jim Drewry.  We couldn’t have asked for a better fish in return for this painting!  So I was hanging out at the footbridge at the end of the road, and painted this but I had no way to take it back to the property safely (a common problem for me).  I decided to tip the parking lot attendant a painting.  In return he invited us to a salmon dinner (Copper River red salmon!!!) but we had way too much on our social plate to attend, so he simply gave us dinner instead!  What a great guy!  Maria excellently cooked the fish over the open campfire and it was delish.  Perfectly roasted, way to go M!  It was one of those things that made our last trip truly grand!  Best regards to Jim and everyone in McCarthy as I really enjoyed your company and fellowship!  I look forward to August when I will finally return to my home (campsite on my lot) in the park.  I hope you stay tuned as I will be putting new work up from my trip to the Kenai for the Fourth!