Fine Art Contest First Place winner
Fine Arts Photo Contest second place winner
Third place Fine Art Photo Contest winner
When I came here over 30 years ago, I quickly fell in love with Alaska, and with a born-and-raised Alaskan, a homesteaders’ kid. We built a life and business, and do what good Alaskans do: fish, camp, kayak, ski, hike, boat, put up salmon and berries, and flirt midwinter with moving Outside.
I began sewing as a girl, then quilting later, making both bed and wall quilts. Although many traditional blocks are quite abstract, their regularity doesn’t always suit me. If my childhood were a quilt, it would be sewn from blocks named Drunkard’s Path, and Robbing Peter to Pay Paul. Today, I try to sew quilts less scripted but equally descriptive.
A poet and quilter, I make art to express my self: quiet and rowdy, friendly and introverted, transparent and unknowable, robust, contrarian, sly. I know for sure that reality can hide truth, so lately I’ve been working in abstracts, with a solid palette, to find the essence–the spirit, the inner vibration—both in form and in color, of
objects and emotions.
“Growing up, I was always the creative one, the artistic one. Creativity just came naturally to me and I got used to being good. In my small town, my graduating class 12 students, usually “the best” at it.
When I stated taking art classes at UAA, I began fading into the crowd. I was no longer “special” far from “the best”. It was no longer easy to stand out, I was being challenged. Honesty, I didn’t like it.
Then when life changed, as it does, my forward artistic momentum was gradually stifled.It was easier to not push myself, to not create. I listed many reasons why it happened but none are really GOOD reasons.
I got into a rut of judging other artists, saying “I could do that”. Then a switched flipped, if “I could do that”, why didn’t I?
I began to paint again, prolifically, everything I could think of and realized that it was hard. I couldn’t “do that”. “I can do that” became “How do they do that??”. That thing that came so natural and easy needed to be developed and honed. If I really wanted to do this, I needed to grow and change, develop new techniques and seek out mentors and influences. Make things that I love and if I don’t love it, try and try again. Work hard and realize that it will not come easy.
This is my artistic story and these paintings are part of it. These are pieces that I didn’t paint for anyone. I didn’t paint them for the purpose of selling them (although they are for sale). I painted them for me, as part of my artistic growth and now I’m sharing them with all of you.”
I am a local Kasilof based artist, currently working mostly in acrylic medium. I also love creative cooking, baking, cake art, photography, sculpture, fabrication and being a mommy to my sweet baby boy who challenges me daily, inspires me to create and gives me reason to follow my dreams.
My favorite subjects to paint are horses and people in watercolor. I mostly work from photos I take of my or friend’s horses. On pack trips in the Alaskan wilderness, I do some plein air work and also take photos for future inspiration and reference. Nearly every Saturday I paint since I’m too busy or tired from teaching to do so during the week. So far I’ve been entering my work in watercolor shows and had my first solo show at Mat-Su college recently. My goal is to keep painting with the hope of one day becoming a full-time professional.
Francine drew and painted horses as a child and teen, but didn’t seriously consider pursuing art any further. She first studied animal science, then returned to college to get a secondary teaching degree in math. One day about eight years ago she decided to draw a horse then soon moved on to watercolor and a little bit of oil painting. She started with horse portraits and is now doing more pieces with horses and people. She has been grateful to take workshops from acclaimed artists such as Judi Betts, Robert O’Brien, and Donna Zagotta. Some of her own accomplishments include acceptance into the Alaska Watercolor Juried Art Show for the past three years and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America Juried Show this summer.
As a 30 year Alaskan I am now in a position to devote my retirement years to my art. Having moved to the Kenai Peninsula just six years ago I have found a new life of creativity in my work. Using flat glass to create in 3-D is challenging and rewarding giving me a new world of expression. As a glass artisan one’s mind is the home of the finished piece and even the artist doesn’t see the final work until it is up off the work bench and into the light. I love this mystery and am always amazed with what my own imagination brings to life with pieces of colored glass. I began my journey of working with stained glass in Colorado in the early 80’s where I restored old church windows. My love for this means of art expression has grown over the years and always seems to have new adventures ahead.
I find something very therapeutic about the act of cutting. If I don’t like an image I can cut more until I attain the desired results. It becomes a metaphor, the paper is the world as I choose to view it. It keeps my hands trained and busy; it empowers me. With a sharp blade, it becomes my meditation, and my method to express strong emotions that I often find difficult to vocalize. It’s one thing to draw a picture or paint, it is another entirely different expression to physically cut your image out of paper. It is my voice. When I create it is like an involved and deep conversation with myself that I feel comfortable sharing with the viewer. Paper is my language and with each piece I complete or each new technique I learn I am becoming more articulate and fluent. Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”. A blank sheet of paper becomes alive when I alter it.
My name is Desiree Hagen, I live in Homer. I have lived there for over 7 years now and have been papercutting for 15 years. I love tactile art forms as well as giving back to the community. I am volunteer for several nonprofit art organizations and I ave donated my art or time to benefit the following nonprofits: Homer Council on the Arts, Bunnell Street Art Center, Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Homer Fiber Arts Collective, Kachemak Bay Broadcasting Inc. (Homer’s community supported radio), Homer Cycling Club, Haven House (shelter for battered women), the Homer Farmers Market, and Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, Alaska Artists in Residence program, Alaska Artists in Schools Program
My 25-year science career (retiring 2015) enabled me to travel to many extraordinary places, from the deep canyons and high deserts of western North America, to Alaska and the Siberian Arctic, and more. These magical places, their natural wonders, ancient and traditional cultures, and other mysteries are the inspiration for my art. I generally seek to portray accurately detailed landscapes, seascapes, wildlife and people in my paintings, leaning towards Natural Realism, though sometimes with an Impressionistic style. I have been working for five years on a series of paintings entitled “Wild Alaska” to document the natural and cultural heritage of Alaska’s parks and wildlife areas.
These photographs are some of my personal favorite pieces from the beginning of my digital adventure to the present. I love still life images, though my greatest body of work is photographing people. This probably comes from the hours I spent as a child with my nose planted in the pages of National Geographic magazines looking at the photos of colorful people walking through their daily lives and expressing their momentary bursts of emotions. From that experience I developed my style which has been dubbed by others as painting like, street journalistic, or as “cowboy photography” because I “shoot from the hip!”
Sue Biggs recently retired from public music teaching.
She continues to compose, teach privately, and perform.
Over the past seven years, Sue has been exploring the art of photography. She placed her first public piece in the Small Shots exhibit in 2008. Through the encouragement and mentoring of many, including Roy Shapely, Joe Kashi, and Bill Heath, Sue’s work has progressed; her photos have been accepted into distinguished group shows and several statewide juried photographic exhibitions including Rarified Light and the Alaskan Juried Art Show.
In 2012, she had a solo show, “Reflections.” Sue will have her second photography show, “The Art of Personalities,” in June, 2015, at the Kenai Fine Arts Center. She is a member of the Peninsula Art Guild, the Kenai Peninsula Photographers Guild, and the Alaska Photographic Center.
She lives with her talented husband, Jack, and her cat, Guy.