Alaskan Autumn
(scroll down for description)
24” x 24”, acrylic, 1999

In the North American context Alaska is the greatest place for big, wild mammals. Denali Park puts on a spectacular show of moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and, of course, grizzly bears. In the autumn, the animals are at the peak of condition. Antlers are fully grown and ready for rutting. Winter coats are thick and shiny.

This alone would make this destination worth an autumn visit but the glory of fall colours creates landscape vistas that dazzle the eye even without the view of wildlife. If I add the grandest mountain ranges on the continent it will seem almost too much beauty to digest. So more often than not, I tore my eyes away from the snowy peaks to the tapestry of colours carpeting the sweeping hills and valleys. Every imaginable shade of red, purple, orange and yellow was here and there relieved by cool, quiet grays of an infinite variety of hues. Nature seems to paint these patterns in rhythmic patches, which are due to microclimate and soil conditions, but nonetheless delight the eye.

When I saw this grizzly family [mother and cub] coming down a distant slope I kept my fingers crossed that they would come closer and head up a particularly gorgeous slope. To my amazement, they did. Of course, they did not walk through the very best part but, as an artist, I can move them and the plant patterns to suit my artistic urges. And that is what I did.