Alaska Kitchen Scene
This painting was based on a 17th century piece entitled "Kitchen Scene," attributed to Alejandro Loarte who died in 1626. My version basically borrowed Loarte's layout, only I replaced all the elements of the 17th century piece with "Alaskan" items. About the only thing that I used directly from the original was the kitchen guy's shirt and the bowl he is holding. The face is that of an artist friend, David Rubin.
Some of the things in the painting: willow ptarmigan (the Alaska State bird), stripe-tailed rockfish, and starry flounder. On the table: King salmon, glazed pastries, Dungeness crab, Bufflehead duck, oysters and a deck of "Alaska King Crabber" cards, an antique deck printed in the 50s.
European Starling Pestilence
The "American Acclimatization Society" for European Settlers introduced 60 European Starlings in NYC's Central Park in 1890 and 40 more in 1891. The chief instigator of this disasterous plan was Eugene Scheiffelin, who desired to introduce every bird mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to the US.
Today, estimates put starling populations well above 200,000,000 in the US, all descendants of the original 100 birds. They're as far north as Fairbanks now, busy killing off and displacing native bird species.
After having dealt with some starling problems of my own and after a little research I came up with the idea for this painting. The Mona Lisa motif represents the European origin, the volcano and tornado represent the apoclyptic nature of the havoc they wreak. The AK-47, the most ubiquitous gun on the planet (and a terrorist's favorite weapon), puts the cap on this little package of winged destruction.
Life in Alaska is about as far from the elegance of the Renaissance as you can get, which makes the juxtaposition of these two elements so much fun to paint!
Rockfish are kind of like the redheaded stepchild of the Alaska seafood family. For one, many of the more than 30 species of rockfish found in the Gulf of Alaska are either ginger-colored or blaze orange. For two, they have a spiny top fin that sticks up like an unfortunate cowlick. And for three, well, nobody ever makes a trip to Alaska specifically to catch a rockfish. Salmon and halibut? Yes. Rockfish? No.
Add to all this: Rockfish are extremely bony, with an effort-to-enjoyment ratio of about 60/40; they’re exceedingly easy to catch; and the act of catching them actually kills them (i.e., they cannot be caught and released), and you’ve got a real nuisance fish on your hook.
Still, as unappreciated and difficult as they are, rockfish are absolutely delicious, perfect for fish stews, ceviche, or fire-roasted and served whole. And they look beautiful lying on a table next to a creamy wedge of bleu cheese.
Alaska Shellfish Feast
In Alaska, we really love our shellfish—the sweet Dungeness crab, the succulent spot prawns, the briny clams, and (of course) the storied King crab. When the only utensil you need is a crab cracker, you know it's going to be a stellar Alaskan feast!
Celebration of the Sea
During the Golden Age, Dutch merchant ships brought home valuable cargoes of commodities from as far away as China and Brazil. Today, Dutch ships bring cargoes of tourists to Ketchikan from all over the world. This painting, which shows a cruise ship in Ketchikan's harbor, was inspired by Aelbert Cuyp's Maas at Dordrecht.
This painting is available as a giclee on canvas, 21"x33" ($400) and giclee on paper, 14"x22" ($75).
Alaskan Birds Around a Ballustrade
This painting (at right) is a remake of Dutch artist Melchior d'Hondecoeter's (1636-1695) painting titled, "Birds Around a Balustrade" (pictured below). In it, I substituted all the birds and the landscape to reflect Alaska.
This painting is available as a giclee on canvas ($285) and giclee on paper ($85). Size: 14"x20"
This painting was a private commission and is available as a giclee on canvas ($300) and giclee on paper ($75). Size: 15"x20"
This painting is available as a giclee on canvas ($140) and giclee on paper ($35), 8"x10"
The original is a part of the State of Alaska Museum's permanent collection. Click the photo for a larger view. If you want to see it in person, it's hanging in Juneau!