Happy Spring Thaw!

Happy thaw, everyone! I know it’s officially been spring for a while now, but in my part of Alaska we are just now getting rid of our last bits of sloppy wet snow. Further north, it will take a bit longer still, though with much warmer than usual temperatures throughout Alaska this year things are thawing much earlier than usual.

So, in honor of spring, I painted a picture, of course!

Cheerful Tulips

The photo shows it a little dark, but the painting is actually quite bright and cheerful, much like my attitude when spring finally rolls around. I cant wait to start digging in the garden again! I have a bed of native wildflowers that should start showing themselves soon, and its almost time to get Kale, Broccoli and Pak Choy in the ground. Plus, I will be starting seeds
of more tender plants in the high tunnel . Fresh basil, here we come!

Of course spring in Alaska means several more exciting things:

The return of the humpback whales following the huge schools of herring as they spawn along the coast The best place to see them in my humble opinion is beautiful Sitka, where you don’t even have to go out in a boat to see them up close and personal. Just stand on the shore and listen to them blow and call as they pass by, and wait for the dramatic moment they all dive deep and then rise as a group and scoop up tons of herring caught up in their clever bubble nets.

Humpback Whale Breaching

Brown bears and black are coming out of hibernation (many mamas with cubs in tow) anxious to fill up on the fresh greens popping up in sunny sites and whatever tasty morsels they can scrounge up along the coastline.

Mama bear and her 3 cubs fresh out of hibernation.
(photo: Ninilchik Fishing Charters)

Of course that’s just the prelude to the big feast coming up!

Boats are coming out of their own hibernation as fishermen get them primed and ready for “the season”.

Photo: AFishunt Charters

Soon they will be lining the harbors all over Alaska waiting for the first early salmon openings and halibut charters.

Three Fishing Boats

Its breakup season here in Alaska, but no need to cry! The tripod at the Nenana Ice Classic on the Tanana topples as the river ice breaks up and someone wins a lot of money. (The breakup happened earlier than ever in the 102 history of the event with the tripod toppling on April 14 this year)

Tripod at the Nenana Ice Classic (photo Alaska Dispatch News)

How about you? What has spring got you excited about? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Sweet Dreams Little Octopus

I just finished a new painting, which is a great example of my more whimsical approach to Alaskan wildlife. I hope you find this as fun to look at as I had painting it!

Sweet Dreams Little Octopus

This little octopus is tucked in tight with his favorite toy shipwreck, snuggled under a kelp blanket, with his head softly cradled on sea sponge pillows. Angler fish is (begrudgingly) providing his night light. Sleep tight little one!

This painting is 24×30, highly textured acrylic on canvas. It will be added to the Gallery soon and available for purchase.

Twin Spruce: The Story Behind the Name

As you may have read in my “about” page, my family and I live on a lovely piece of property in a tiny village called Ninilchik, on the Kenai Penninsula, Alaska. The property is mostly wild, with a small area cleared for my garden, chickens, and ducks, and a small yard around an old log cabin which we are restoring.

The old cabin and the beginnings of a garden. Excuse the mess, we are just getting started.

If you look to the south of the garden, you see these lovely old Sitka Spruce trees.

Which, upon closer look, are actually two trees of the same age which have grown together into one beautiful twin spruce. I wish I had a better picture because this one doesn’t really show how they have wrapped around each other and joined not only at the trunk but also at several branches. (I will try to get a better shot in a few weeks when the snow is gone.)


We all have become quite attached to our beautiful Twin Spruce trees, and they happen to stand right in the dead center of our property, so they have become for us the natural symbol of our home here. And that is the story behind the name!

Just added to the gallery

I just added a new batch of paintings to the gallery. I will continue to add more as I get them photographed.

The above painting, “Denali Park Birches,” was inspired by a short hike I took with my family on a trail in Denali National Park in the fall of 2017. My husband and I try to spend our anniversary in the Park each year. (Some years we make it, some years we don’t.) That year was a particularly glorious fall for the birches and aspen in the Park and I remember standing at a trail side overlook and taking in this glorious scene. Of course I had to paint it! At the time I wasn’t able to , but I finally got around to it and here it is!

If you ever get a chance to visit Denali, I recommend going in early fall if you can— late August to early September, for fewer mosquitos, peak color and peak animal activity. Last time we visited we saw 23 grizzly bears in a single day!

But whenever you go, please do! It is truly a national treasure.