"It would be easier should I use a photo or something as a reference to work with. No, instead I make it difficult for myself, and insist on doing a painting out of my head. So then it turns out something, fantasy. No buildings or people, plain country, without fences, a quiet peaceful time, a moment in a place in the Universe between 'other times.' I painted this during the Joplin Missouri tornado devastation."
Monday, April 22, 2013
"Of course he changed his direction and now coming straight at me. Snapping his jaws sharply, moving closer with every step. I have to finally say something, as his eyesight may be not so good, or he is just a little too curious. With a firm attitude, I made my point as he turned away, and proceeded down the stream..looking over his shoulder."
"Out of Nome, Alaska and beach combing off a Polaris four-wheeler, I come across a winter-killed walrus, now a continuous visitation by bears. Seagulls, and Plovers too, From this photo looks like a huge barbequed sausage. So off I went down the beach and back to Nome as the smell of such a creature advertises it's menu for miles and miles."
"An older Grizzly Bear track in the sand, it is somewhat easy to see how old a track is. Important because, especially in sand, a fresh track wears out fairly quickly due to winds, and rain will alter the print very quickly. When I view this track, I feel it to be a few hours old, and perhaps a day old. The weather had not been too windy and no rain. So this track was not new, and of little concern unless there is a beached whale, seal or walrus. Bears are usually scavenging on carrion from winterkill and this can be a dangerous encounter, I usually turn around and change beaches."
"Limitless distance, on foot, beach combing, that seemingly never ends. Trekking the miles, investigating every curious object that catches the eye. This day was a sunny day, as I follow a set of fresh Grizzly Bear tracks in the sand. So now all of a sudden the day takes a different focus. Now, just thinking where this bear might be. Mid-day could find him asleep down the beach in the tall grass. He might be here because of a winter kill seal or walrus, in a very protective emotion. If he should see me there could easily be a confrontation. So I look back to where the boat is, too far down the beach now to see it, but I return to it anyway, to the boat, and back out in the sea, no gun...sometimes too heavy to lug around."
"They may be 'spotted' by low-flying aircraft, or just simply walking down to a river or stream. Standing on a gravel bar, looking for salmon or char, and suddenly woven within the gravel and grasses is a Woolly Mammoth Tusk. Out of nowhere, and almost anywhere a tusk may present itself in the Arctic or sub-Arctic. This country is vast, especially remote and inaccessible. The last glacier Ice Age is still on the surface of many areas here, not buried as in some regions but exposed out in the open, and in some cases the permafrost lets go of it's treasures."
Sunday, April 21, 2013
"Usually spend time in Anchorage before I leave for the Arctic, sometimes in Fairbanks, rolling hills, on the way to treeline, summer and streams are clear and cool, everything still crisp. Denali heralds it's profile dwarfing mountains. Moose step up and cross roads, swimming rivers, stepping up over the banks. Eagles waiting for the first signs of migration. Running Black Bears, buzzing of mosquito wings.....
"An abandoned house, from the 1890's in Arctic Alaska, may take a couple of centuries to totally disappear. I do not even know, as objects erode slowly this far north due to year-round cold temperatures. It is always exciting to stumble onto such old places all along the Bering and Chukchi Sea."
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
"The old Okvik Shaman, the 'village healer' set off into the morning nite. The villagers did not want him to hunt, he was too old, and well loved. He had no apprentice and concern was always the air. He was already in darkness with a slight ray of light on the horizon, morning climbing into his kayak. He was out for manatee, They were huge but so was his heart to capture one last time, manatee, Steller...It surfaced under the boat, as the water raised him almost to the point of sideways sliding downward. Manatee breach, the old battles remembered now and returned. Not by will, but well trained reflex's, he through the harpoon. It arched high with lanyard cable anchored and locked to the hull. Driven deep the harpoon sliced, below the flipper bone. Bull Manatee, thirty feet and more long, dragging the slack cable taught as the boat lurched forward into spray pulling the bow into deep sea green. The kayak, now over slipping under now free from a harpoon that kills twice, being towed beneath the waves, jerks upward back into the frey. The Bull pulls away into the deep, as the old Shaman, searches for the paddle, and finds his harpoon with the missing broken tip. Returning to the village, everyone nearly cried seeing that he was well, but empty handed. Weeks passed when another village hunter brought in a Bull Manatee, as the villagers began dividing it to share. The village chief, brought the old Shaman, his father, a large piece of the manatee meat, with his broken harpoon still stuck in place." (Such legends that saved the old Shaman from drowning from a broken harpoon...powerful Amulet).
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
"Roughly ten thousand years distant, our ancient families experienced viewing these Mammoths on occasion. They were as common as our modern viewings of Moose in Alaska no doubt. We can imagine, then, being stunned when you walk to a stream for your morning bath, and a huge bull Mammoth emerges through the bush, stop and looking at you for a minute or longer with tusks over fourteen feet in length. Squatting in this stream making yourself as small as possible, as just behind this bull is several others as they cross the stream all around you. They step lightly all the while keeping their 'apple' sized eyes trained on your small white / brown bundle in this chilling water. Several of them blasting air out of their trunks, stopping to drink and splash water every where, creating a muddy scenario from clear water. Then the group of huge Mammoth continue down the stream with grumblings and vocals, this indeed happened during the time of the Ice age, happened to folks living among them, and not always were there aggressive postures, but acceptance among two powerful species, in their passing."
Thursday, March 28, 2013
"I have never relied on satellite phones for communication, they are an annoyance for me, even as phones in general are considered annoying away from these remote regions. I prefer to be in these distant rivers without any interference from the outside world. It is rare that any aircraft flies overhead, and if they do they are so high I do not hear them. Should my plane not return to bring me out, I face going all the way to the Arctic Ocean and continue west to Barrow before freeze-up. So far all of my pilots have been on schedule and when the day comes, I must be on a suitable gravel bar for their landing and in plain view. One season my pilot did not understand my instructions for a maneuver on a gravel bar to avoid soft sand but he plowed into this softer area with a full load of ivory and one tire fell into a wet trap. I then proceeded to hang on the opposite wing strut to add more weight and he revved up the prop to pull us out of the sand as I flapped in the hurricane force sand storm. We pulled out of the soft area and back onto firm ground all the time spitting sand from my teeth, hair and nose."
"Once above the Arctic circle, I charter a private Dehavilland Beaver airplane with oversized tundra tires to land on a remote river fifty miles from the Arctic Ocean. This charter alone has a price tag of over $5000.00 round trip. Following at least a month on these rivers, I await his return for my pickup on a gravel bar that will more than adequately offer this heavy plane suitable landing. When I find too much Mammoth Ivory that my boat cannot haul it downriver to the north, I then cache it on a gravel bar to be picked up on my return by this charter. Each one of these caches must be placed on suitable landing locations or they will be lost"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
"The last 'Ice Age' is just inches under the tundra. Occasionally a 10,000 year old Woolly Mammoth skull, tusk or bone can be found slightly protruding out from the sod such as this Mammoth skull. Of course to excavate this skull is very difficult digging as frozen peat moss and silt, is as such, similar to concrete."
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
"My original goal for this blog is not one of a political nature, but my passion for being in nature, in the Arctic, among the spirits of the land and it's language. Discovering such wondrous treasures are now to remain where they are found compared to common driftwood, recording only the experiences with stories and photos. Alaska is 'protecting' these most amazing treasures of the Ice Age from ever being brought out of the tundra, and as they become exposed to the elements by erosion, they rapidly breakdown to smaller pieces. Obviously this life is not about existing in logic and justice but the influences of challenges that limit both. So as I find these natural treasures lying about in the surf, in the rivers, and tundra, they are old landmarks of a previous era, with no one to claim them, preserve them and enjoy them apart from their natural surroundings. I go regardless, and regard them such as the mountains, and the sky, to remain in place as they cycle in their return to the dust they have originated."
Monday, March 25, 2013
"Siberian summer sod house, for hunters of the Mammoth, along a seemingly endless coasts and river systems abundant in Ice Age fossils. Walking and boating in a distance not far from this shelter indicates that the fossil digs are in abundance as this hunter returns to his house regularly. This region offers a very real opportunity without a daily venture to far reaches. What people and perhaps the scientific community may or not realize is the level of abundance that remains in frozen permafrost in the Arctic. It is endless and will always produce these fossils and for any scientific community to voice a conservative agenda of public collecting with restrictions becomes ludicrous. The absolute majority of fossils discovered offer little or no diagnostic interests to the scientific community and in Alaska, no one is allowed to go into public, state or federal lands to bring out these fossils for their personal possession. There is no real logical reason to prohibit acquisition of these fossils and illustrates a further control agenda by the government for it's own self serving policies."
"As National Geographic publishes accounts of Siberian private field expeditions in the search for Woolly Mammoth ivory and other Pleistocene, Ice Age fossils such as exhibited in this photo, does offers Siberian's citizens opportunities to prosper with their discoveries. Just across the Bering Strait, east to the shores of Alaska, the residents and native population also search out these Mammoth ivory resources but with the risk of persecution by the Federal mandates imposed on all lands except that of private lands. This natural resource is extremely abundant and may also assist in the world's human rights to own ivory that is not obtained from the slaughter of living creatures. From my research, it is the intention of the American Federal government to view all ivory sources as either illegal or so heavily restricted as to make it difficult, in the extreme, to acquire. I applaud Siberian interests that realize their freedoms, in this case, which excels that of Alaska, keeping the interests of their citizenry in mind and supplying our species this most wondrous medium both in the field of art and specimen collections."
"Russia, Alaska, and Canada have living ivory producing species (Walrus) and along with the presence of other global ivory producing species such as Elephants, Warthog and Hippopotamus whom all may benefit to a lessor impact of their depleting populations by supplying the only legal alternative ivory available in the world, 'Woolly Mammoth' ivory can seriously impact this supply and demand that exist on a global scale, should all of the governments endorse the acquisition of Mammoth ivory as a valid replacement, then we may realize the modern living ivory producing species will not be illegally poached at least to the extent they currently are. Alaska and Canada have implemented more restrictions on this available ancient ivory with disregard to this replacement alternative as with the freedoms of people whom enjoy this, the "Most Significant Sculpture and Jewelry Medium in the World."
"Left handed mature 'Bull Woolly Mammoth' tusk, out from an eroded Ice Age deposit, somewhere around 20,000 years ancient. Siberia produces a great deal of wondrous specimens such as this flawless tusk, as their main market is China whom maintains their perhaps growing ivory tradition. Mammoth tusks are ivory and in no way petrified as most fossils are, but instead frozen for the entire time until they are exposed by summer temperatures. In a very real way, there are enough of these ivory tusks, both broken and complete, mostly from Russia, Alaska and western Canada to impact modern ivory producing species as a valid and legal replacement. It is very important to note, that all of these ancient tusk require curing, slowly as they are all saturated with water....Ice Age water, and a high humid condition in such regions as my studio in Bali insures that they cure properly and without damage."
Sunday, March 24, 2013
"Siberian Mammoth hunters are active and in their region of the Arctic every summer season. It is a cold and relatively dangerous venture but offers opportunity to the residents of Siberia to prosper in the 'Worlds Most Significant Sculpture Medium." 'On the eastern shoreline of the shallow Bering and Chukchi Seas, I also venture in summer along the same land mass of Alaska divided only by a different government and country, both camping and dealing with an aggressive Arctic weather enveloping these vast wildernesses."
"The village of 'Kivilina' nestled along the beaches of the Chukchi Sea, offers ancient dwellings of one of the Arctic's most magical and Shamanistic groups in prehistory. Extinct frozen house sites below ground, remnants of the Ice Age also in the lagoon and off shore as Mammoths and all Ice Age fossils offered up by storms and deposited in sand, often lost and reclaimed by the sea."
"Endless miles of Ice Age remnants eroding from thawed permafrost into the sea. The greedy tides and storms with fingers disguised as waves as they quickly claim a Mammoth tusk or bone almost as rapidly as they fall from the muddy banks. My boat waits on the shore with all of my requirements as I constantly scan with binoculars for any sign of bear. Purposefully I obtain a black finished boat to appear as natural to the surroundings as possible and guard it as if it were my link to survival in this most remote Arctic region. From Siberia to Canadian's Mackenzie River harbors the niche of the Ice Age, always willing to give up it's bounty of treasures to artists, collectors and scientists world wide."
Saturday, March 23, 2013
"They are here still, physically and within it's soul, now frozen within the preserved Ice Age, are thousands of years and millions of stories undisclosed. Of times when Woolly Mammoth trumpeted in a land now changed forever. Tracks in the mud now covered and trails grown over or trampled by modern Caribou. Camps of our ancestors overgrown and lost beneath deposited sedges and lichen layered over a time replaced with seemingly endless cycles around the sun. Ivory exposed to the hunters of the tundra, to those surrounded by hordes of mosquitoes, and storms racing out of Siberia. Cold camps, as tents flattened by offshore winds over 45 mph, sometimes for days. I walk anyway on the beaches as my eyes water from the chill, and look into the ebb-tides and frozen beaches as I go in no different manner as the hunters of the clan of the Mammoth...relentless."
Friday, March 15, 2013
"Recycled slate bladed dagger, (recycled because in a previous use, due to the drilled hole, this blade might have been an ulu knife with a different shape and usage. Most likely this ulu had been resharpened extensively and no longer usable as it was made too short. It had then been reworked for a pointed dagger blade supported by a Mammoth ivory handle with an image of a fantastic beast with pointed ears that perhaps is actually a 'wolverine' or and 'ermine.' The back of the knife is a motif of a skeletal motif suggesting an Amulet by purpose typically a spiritual link by the owner."
"The majority of Human forms discovered in prehistoric sites or in rivers, streams and beaches were in past prehistory carved for the use of toys, dolls and ornaments for utility items within the household. On a rare occasion, a Human form would be an Amulet both for a single household or for the entire village. Amulets are endowed with a certain power applied to it's motif and by the Shaman whom had sculpted it and given to ceremony for the purpose of benevolent protection. This particular Amulet is evident of its use due to it's skeletal motif suggesting a link to the 'spiritual' realm in a vision that a Shaman would present. Also that this Amulet is female suggest that it is a nurturing image that relates to a very serious intention of protection of not just for the village offspring but to the entire village as a whole. (Kotzebue region, Woolly Mammoth ivory, 800 to 1500 years in age, discovered, out of situ, lying on a beach in Escholtz Bay on private property)."
Thursday, March 14, 2013
"Buried for centuries, perhaps lost in the high grasses in a late archaic village or cached on a ridge overlook, as was so typical of ancient hunters. Cached blades were always available as replacement blades and the hunters always made a memory of their location, in this case a knife blade exhibiting resharpening to maintain it's edge. This blade was hafted to a handle, most commonly, a split and laced wood slats, bone and antler, as this Dalton Meserve knife with it's 'fluted base' to provide thinning for easy attachment to the handle. This blade no doubt had dressed many post Ice Age animals with it's double edge, and what remians a mystery is how it became lost and never found, until it surfaced in a farmer's field, washed clean by early summer rains."
Monday, March 11, 2013
"We lived among them, knew them most intimately, followed them for tens of thousands of years and all these memories for now inaccessible until we can have an ability to scroll in time. Woolly Mammoths, have been directly involved in our survival for longer than any recorded historic existence. It is very uncommon for people in a past life memory journey to include these times in such a distant history. Thousands stacked upon hundreds of thousands of stories were lost to our ancient ancestors of associations with Mammoths, some most definitely benevolent, even religious in nature, perhaps even raising young orphaned Mammoths to adulthood, and use logic and historic references in corroboration with archaeological findings, yet there is no doubt of the many unlimited stories remaining in the lost Ice Age."
"It had all began in the mid-sixties when I discovered that I could find artifacts in rivers, streams, plowed fields after rains and even along construction sites in Iowa. I ventured out after school mostly on foot in those days as a bike was not in my possession, but after an hours walk, I would arrive near the Des Moines river to some farmer's field and began to walk the plowed furrows cleaned from a few spring rains. When the fields no longer offered me a chance, any longer due to crops concealing the ground, I headed for any stream or the gravel bars on the river. I had discovered agates (Agates that were deposited by Ice Age terminal moraines scraped out in the area around Lake Superior and even Montana dendritic specimens with a myriad of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils as well. It was then my passion, and other interests alluded me except my artwork that also assisted me in my living for the remainder of my life, even now. 'This photo is of a 3/4 groove small axe 'four and a quarter inches long,' sculpted by ancient hunters in the Des Moines river valley 'Woodland Culture' in very nice condition. I actually began to purchase as many artifacts from farmers as I could to acquire funds to travel around Iowa in many buying trips and sold many artifacts to collectors in Des Moines, I never wanted to hold any job and continue to just follow my passion."
Sunday, March 10, 2013
"Beach Combing, walking along some beach in some very remote area in the Arctic, seeing only tracks where I have been, as any different tracks are from the waves leaving their signatures in the sand. A fresh water stream finds it's way to the beach, colored with tannic acid of decaying peat moss from the tundra. A sleeping Sea Gull on a dune sheltered by bunch grass, eyes opening and closing as an Arctic Tern makes the wind it's slave. Walking on, over the little streams, over the small driftwood piles from the Yukon river or maybe the Kobuk and dead starfish, I am swaying now a bit and reach for my filter bottle and drink. Even now as I look behind and see that my tracks are gone from layers of waves telling me I am alone again without them. I make new ones that last for a little longer as I move up to the crest of a beach, into the banks where ground squirrels chirp in protest. I remember a walrus ivory doll as a scientist would name it, but then in a very certain reality, it is Amulet, non-Human in construct, perhaps a 'Pleiadian' record of times lost to any memory, yet, serves me as companion as it has thousands of years in the distance, one like it around my neck, a reminder that living in the cities of the multitudes offers gray colors, darkness with shades of despair of those locked in prisons of their concepts of alluded successes, complex and incurable."
Thursday, March 7, 2013
"Arctic Alaskan beaches are taking a severe beating from erosion and some areas are indeed taking a much greater level of wave action from the sea and from thermal thawing of the permafrost that holds the ancient 'frozen and buried' villages intact. It will be a most interesting study regarding the impact imposed on these areas and to observe areas I have been to a number of years ago compared to the more recent changes. The village of Shismarif has been damaged to such an extent that it is now being considered for relocation. This village was built traditionally upon an existing ancient site that is also under the same impact of being washed into the sea. Shismarif is situated on a 'spit' of gravel and sand that has, for generations, maintained it's tenacity with the Bering Sea in good shape, but as recent evidence has shown, it has lost it's stability as perhaps the changes of currents, permafrost thawing and increased storm activity from the west that is directly impacting this beach, or probably all three."
"Not a day ends, that I have not uncovered a section of Woolly Mammoth tusk somewhere downriver in these shallow gravel bars flowing north in the Arctic region of Alaska. Occasionally, I see something deeper in these streams of six to ten feet that I have to decide to strip off everything in order to descend and retrieve it. The effort of drying clothes on the move is more problematic then diving in the buff in ice water. Sometimes I am very surprised and then other times it is just a broken and thin section of ivory that nevertheless excites me. This particular color is easily seen and in shallow water although, as it had turned out, is just a thin section about four feet long. It is jewelry grade however and quite spectacularly red with orange...a true treasure that will become a most worthy object of inspiration in sculpture and 'Amulet,' motif."
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
"I sit in wonder and the breezes speak to me in its language of Love, it is Love as I drift to sleep a few times and dream that I am part of this beach and shore. My tent is anchored well with all of my gear stowed under its canopy, as the boat too rests along side the tie straps bracing the entire realm. I walk along the beach now and skirt the sandy wind stirred sculpted land, looking for evidence of why this place speaks to me. I laugh out loud, and it drifts away in the winds that tell me of an approaching storm from the east. The dark skies offer truth to this, but I will not move until the beauty absorbs me and takes me with it."
"Distance is define here in the Arctic, from any horizon, offers no end but more vast distances. Travel is survival with a continuous attention, leaving nothing to chance. The boat rocks gently on the shore from the soft waves caressing its whale like skin, as the winds drive me forward from the south. Siberia is just over to the left, out of sight called Wrangle Island, as I make my way to the lagoon to the right. Something tells me to explore this place and all the while keep check on the boat to my southwest, now, just under a quarter of a mile away. I keep my binoculars just under my jacket to scan the grasses and beaches for any possible bear sign, coming or going as they will notice the boat tied up on the shore line. It is an obvious beacon for anything on this highway of Arctic traffic leaving tracks in the sands most evident. Deliberately now I move to the lagoon as the sight of the boat is lowered behind the ridge of grass resembling the guard hairs of a Mammoth. I circle now to the south and walk the shore of the brackish water within the lagoon, not knowing what to expect as I reach down and pull a partially buried Polar Bear skull from black mud. It is ancient, and colored the same as oak in fall colors, a treasure left for those whom venture to the Far North."
"Dosing off in the summer winds off the sea into the grasses mixed with sands that take flight from waves crashing on the shore. The rhythmic drumming of surf peacefully lulls him in and out of his dreams as he waits on the beach ridge. The 'snapping' sounds of advancing Caribou awakens his senses as close breathing of hundreds or perhaps thousands of approaching nomads come within range. He slides down the ridge to driftwood and waits for his moment to rise with his missiles tipped with chert points harder than the best steel. He listens to the footfall gaining on him as his eyes search low in the grasses for any sign that it is time to rise and hurl his fletched lances at their approach. Twelve hundred years prior to the name of Alaska, gives him a space nearly void of others save for his small family on 'Sealing Point.' This day is for him and his success found him sledging back with his burden, his reward...he can just see the mounds of his lodge with little figures dancing around it, the dogs begin their alarm and an arm goes up signaling him...he knows he is home"
"With a great deal of time in this wilderness, on a constant trek and exploration, does uncover amazing results, mostly unexpected. The sounds of Arctic Terns as they dive and resound a warning to step lightly around the nests hidden in the gravels and sands on the infinite beaches, as the Sandhill Cranes trumpet their positions on the tundra. The waves of shallow brackish water laps the shore into foam at my feet with woven bear tracks filled with overflow from the morning rains. The skull of a wolverine sinking slowly year after year into the mosses and lichen framing it into a treasure most profound. Prehistory inches under foot, where Mammoth once browsed in peace among those times that only imagination may participate."
"It was worse than previous walks out in the glacier's terminus as even though the winds were partially shielded by the vertical glacier walls, there were no trails back to the habitat. All day there had been sign of Mammoth, and even the newly driven snows had still craters of footfall from a lone and injured bull. Shifting now from one hand to another were his bundle of lances, tipped with gemstone blades, more than adequate to put down the greatest land beasts in the Ice Age. Bending low into the oncoming winds that ricochet off the walls of ice send him reeling to the drifts of snow cemented in ice as the northern lights play with the reflections in prisms that challenge the most efficient snow goggles sculpted in ivory. The smell of camp smoke, laced within the searing cold, took him home, even though empty handed, success awaited the hunter with the laughter of children and warm oil lamp reflecting the many faces of the interior of his house braced in tusks and bone, ten thousand cycles around the sun."