Friday night I had my first-ever art show. I didn't know I was an artist until this summer and since most of my drawings were created--or reflect some aspect of my time--in Alaska I'm creating a sort of condensed online show on my blog. Enjoy! Artist's Statement:
I have always loved the Olympics. I watch the opening ceremonies imagining myself as an esteemed athlete preparing to share with the world what I do best. I wonder if I might have excelled at fencing, water polo, or archery but, never having been exposed to such sports, my athletic sweet spot has not been uncovered. This summer, I had an unusual position that gave me time alone with limited access to entertainment. A set of pencils, a pen, and sketch journal were my companions and I learned to command them with relative ease. Without my job in rural Alaska, I would not have discovered my love for drawing; it took blank hours for me to discover I could fill pages with images I love.
I began by drawing black and white photos displayed in the museum with variegated gray pencils. I eventually played around with pointillism and found that this is my preferred method of drawing. Each pointillism piece is composed of only small dots placed strategically to create a larger image. I love the link between placement of dots to create a larger idea in visual art and in music composition. Thus, most of my pointillism pieces’ titles follow a musical opus numbering system.
Also displayed today are some of my favorite photos I took this summer. My granddaddy was a journalist with a passion for photography; when friends asked him, “how was vacation?” he would respond with, “I don’t know. My pictures aren’t developed yet.” You can see here, we had a beautiful “vacation” in Alaska.
Thanks for looking! Shannon M. Robel
Engine No. 50 Inspired by a photo on display at my museum, this piece is a favorite from this summer. The photo was taken in Kennicott, Alaska in 1927. This was the engine that hauled copper from—and supplies to—the mines owned by J.P. Morgan and the Guggenheim families in the early 20th century.
Most Beautiful Girl Aside from incredible photographs, old newspapers were my favorite collection at the museum. One could sit for hours flipping through a 1917 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle among others. I drew this from such a newspaper. Miss Masperi was an artist’s model then, and mine in 2013!
Chinook, Op. 1, No. 1 My younger brother spent this past summer in picturesque Cordova, AK. He had an incredible summer fishing for salmon and black cod. I gave him this piece for his birthday commemorating his first summer as a commercial fisherman. He plans to return next summer—just like us!
Tram Ride Mines sat atop cliffs and extracted ore were shipped via tram to the 14-story mill building for processing. Miners wanting to get to town rode the tram over miles of glacier and snow. It was dangerous business though, requiring a signed waiver—forgetting to duck your head at the tower meant losing it!
Inuit Beauty This was the first face I attempted to draw this summer and one of my very first drawings. I drew this from an Alaskan magazine during the final hours at the museum one afternoon. Faces have, since, become my favorite subject to depict.
Bush Pilot(top) & North Star(below) Alaska has a deep, rich aviation history and, in many places, it is much more useful to have a plane than a car. Pictures of early planes fill photos albums in the museum. These are two of my later drawings completed in Alaska.
Transportation Old and New Drawn from a photo, this picture is of the Ramer brothers; local miners who never made it big but gave mining a solid try. Dogsledding was the major form of transportation until the shift to bush flying. Depicted here is that transition period in which old and new methods of transport were used.
Kennicott Remains Kennicott boasted the world’s richest copper ore deposits, was mined for nearly thirty years, but abandoned almost over-night. Passed from owner-to-owner, it is now within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park—American’s largest park of 13.2 million acres.
Watching the Wind Taken when a friend flew Austin and me to a remote lake and dropped us off for the day. We hiked, read Frankenstein, floated in a kayak, chased ducks on the water, and picked wild blueberries. I snapped this shot just after we picnicked in the kayak. Austin and I were gazing at the scenery and observed the water beginning to be disturbed. We watched as the breeze approached us and hit us like a wall of wind. I’m glad I took the picture when I did!
Great Day for a Flight-See While this scene from the airstrip is nice, only seconds after takeoff you are directly over a glacier and looking at a 16,000 ft. peak! Austin (my pilot husband) had this view as he arrived at work to meet tourists, talk about geology, relate history, and fly them over God’s incredible creation.