Thursday, April 25, 2013

"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

"Low tide runs six inches without the winds. Clouds changing colors all evening, no sun will set.  Tent is up braced with driftwood tripod, wind break, clouds rifling by.  Its a quiet storm, off now for another walk, just before I find my tracks back to camp again."
"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."