“It seems that almost anything manmade, that endures in time, acquires some qualities of the natural. Bleak shapes grow into a kind of magic, that once seen cannot easily be ignored.”~Ansel Adams
Here is the first painting that will form the body of work surrounding my time in exploring the Alaskan Interior this past summer. "Fairbanks Bus 142", oil on canvas, 36"x24", came together quickly, due in large part to my enthusiasm surrounding this very important project. When you love what you do, neither food nor rest are required. I did work on this piece while working on some other paintings but the bus kept beckoning me to it, to trying to render it as faithfully as I could.
While painting it I was taken back to that day, which was wonderful and bittersweet too. I remember Ed and I turning the corner and seeing Fairbanks Bus 142 at last, back lit by the drooping sun, crouching in the fireweed in the clearing. We were tired and elated, well, at least I was tired-Ed does this sort of thing very often and hiking the Stampede Trail was probably a piece of cake for him! For me, it was arduous at times but worth every wet step.
I tried to capture how intensely blue the sky can be in Alaska. With an absence of particulate pollution and smog, it brings vision into sharp focus and creates crisp outlines, even at the perimeter of ones field of vision. The atmosphere was so pure that it felt as though we were peering into a giant cerulean fishbowl above us.
The original painting has sold, but high quality reproductions of the piece are available here!
This painting will be the only Stampede Trail painting that I execute for a few months. I first have to finish my Newfoundland paintings, which are just as exciting in many ways. However, the Newfoundland show will arrive before I know it and thus the rest of the Alaska paintings must wait for the time being. They are there though, inside of me, just waiting to get out. It will test my patience, but hopefully "all good things come to those who wait" will be a tenet that comes true in this case. I aim to have upwards of 15-20 paintings for the show.
Chris McCandless was on my mind when I worked on this painting as much as he was when I was actually at the bus. Fortunately I took a lot of photo reference which helps to bring the emotions and memories back in a flood. I thought of the 113 days he spent at the bus, what he might have thought about, the windows he looked through, the reflections he saw within himself as much as through the panes of glass. This painting is the beginning of my own journey by examining where he experienced the last, fateful part of his own odyssey.
"There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms."~ George Eliot