June 3 - 14, 2016, my husband and I took our two teenage granddaughters on a trip to Alaska. It was an AMAZING trip. We had such fun! The girls were wonderful the entire time - never a cross word, and we had experiences we will remember and cherish the rest of our lives. As we traveled and did all the many activities, I took photographs of things I'd want to paint when I returned.
First of all, I want to paint a picture of the girls traveling. They were responsible for their own luggage. We each had one suitcase and a backpack. They led us through airports, parks, towns and attractions. This photo shows them in one airport - leading the way on a moving sidewalk.
And this next photo was taken at a different airport - with their rolling suitcases and backpacks. So independent!
In Anchorage, we watched many floatplanes. We rode in floatplanes twice. I snapped this photo of a floatplane landing. The pattern of the sun reflecting off the water ripples behind the plane was fascinating.
The girls sat on rocks a few miles outside Anchorage, looking at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. I love this photo!
When they turned around, they threw their arms up in the air to pose for a picture. I love that photo, too.
So my first attempt was to combine the two photos into one painting. I did this painting at my mother's house last week. I knew I couldn't paint the girls' faces to look realistic at all. So I had them facing away from me. However, at this point I realized that it just looked like two girls sitting on a rock. There was no "Alaskan" context to it.
I got a larger canvas and started over. I was using acrylic paints, and each time I made a change, the paint built up since acrylic paint dries so quickly. I blocked out the picture - and I like it. However, there are many changes I want to make, but I can't make the changes without adding too many layers of paint with lots of conflicting textures underneath. Thus my plan is to wait until I get my oil painting studio set up. Then I will start over on a new canvas using oil paints. The challenge is to make the snowcapped peaks in the distance look realistic. Then I have to get the girls' bodies and hair to look realistic. I think I can do it - and, if I succeed, it will be, by far, my favorite painting!
|"Lily and Sophie in Alaska, June 2016" unfinished painting|
(Acrylic on canvas)
There's one other painting (actually more than that) I want to make from our Alaska trip. We stayed at Camp Denali in Denali National Park. The cabins had no electricity and no bathroom. Outside each cabin was a "meticulously maintained" outhouse. Sophie never used the outhouse while we were there. There was a bathhouse up the hill - about a 3-5 minute walk away. So she walked up there each time she needed to go. I only used the outhouse when I had to go in the middle of the night. I didn't want to go hiking up the hill by myself then - even though, since it was June in Alaska, it never got completely dark. Here's a photo of our cabin, The Last Chance" along with our outhouse.
I started blocking out the painting in the photo below - and later on I will work on it more. I'm satisfied with the basic proportions. I will likely start over and do it in oils since I'm seriously considering using only oil paints instead of acrylic from now on. It'll be fun to see how these paintings turn out.
We all agreed that our favorite part of Alaska was staying at Afognak Wilderness Lodge on Afognak Island (Kodiak, Alaska). So I'd like to paint a scene from there. There are so many choose from, though - our cabin, the fishing boat, the girls standing with all our catch laid out on the dock in front of them, the girls standing with the large halibut Sophie hooked and Lily helped reel to the boat. So I will look at those pics and decide what else to paint.
Below are two photos of the girls at Afognak Island with fish that they caught. One of these will be the inspiration for a painting one of these days.
While we were in Anchorage, both Lily and Sophie did a lot of photography. Later in the trip they were too busy with fishing and hiking to do much photography. We were in Anchorage the first couple days of our trip, and they were awe-struck with the incredible scenery. So I took some photos of them taking photos. They were so very much into it!
One of the highlights of our time on Afognak Island was seeing a pod of whales. This is the best photo I got. They were incredible to see. I am anxious to look at the photos on Ron's camera because I'm sure he got more incredible photos than I did with my iPhone.
We went to a small airport in Anchorage (the same airport where I took the photo above of the float plane with ripples behind it), and came across this sign - just in time to yield to the airplane in the photo that was crossing the road. That's not a sign you see everywhere! I thought it was cool that when we saw the sign, there was actually a plane crossing the road that we had to yield to. Great coincidence!
The photo below was taken in downtown Anchorage in a parking lot. We'd just parked our car in front of the sign before going to a restaurant for lunch. Sophie thought the sign was funny - and posed for some photos with it.