In praise of Alaska's inspiration

Posted: Sunday, May 14, 2000

Organizers of "Alaska 2000: A Celebration of Wildlife Art" asked the invited painters to comment on the question, "What does Alaska mean to you as a wildlife artist?"

Guest curator David Wartinbee said the question was prompted by a remark that Robert Bateman had made.

"He said Alaska and East Africa are the two meccas for wildlife artists," Wartinbee said.

Here is a sampling of the artists' responses.

Karla Morreira

"Alaska is a never-ending source of inspiration to me. The colors are rich and fertile in the summer, cool greens and Prussian blues, with golden browns intermixed, while the winters offer a sense of starkness and contrast to my palette.

"But it is the wildlife that truly captured my interest. When I first saw a moose on our property, I was struck by its strength and power. So when I decided to paint them, I was not so concerned by the reality of what they looked like as much as how they made me feel. ... I see them now, not so much as just animals in nature, but as part of this land, each an integral piece of the puzzle that makes it all work as one."

Morreira moved to Alaska in 1988 and resides in Chugiak.

Lindsey Foggett

"I had read books and heard stories of its pristine wilderness, breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife and dreamt of going for many years.

That dream became a realization for me last autumn, when I visited Denali National Park. It was the crowning glory of my search for true wilderness and wildlife in North America. It far surpassed my expectations; the colors alone were enough to drive an artist to distraction. It was like stepping into the land of giants ... ."

Foggett was born in England and now lives in California. She plans to visit Kenai this month.

Shane Lamb

"Alaska is my palette. It provides me with more than a lifetime of subjects and regions to capture. Great artists travel from all over the world to see what we have here in our own back yard. It's an artist's paradise. I consider it a privilege to be able to work and live as an artist in one of the most beautiful and abundant places on earth."

Lamb moved to Alaska when he was 12 and lives in Palmer.

Al Agnew

"Quite simply, anywhere in Alaska is a premier destination for any artist interested in depicting wildlife and wild country. I know I could spend a lifetime and never see all there is to see in this spectacular chunk of North America. In the Lower 48 states, perhaps only Yellowstone Park even comes close to providing a comparable opportunity to view wildlife.

"Just as importantly to me, the great variety of awe-inspiring landscapes furnishes unlimited possibilities for paintings. Of course, the fishing in Alaska is icing on the cake!"

Agnew is a lifelong resident of the Missouri Ozarks.

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