Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 3:38 PM on Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Back to nature theme of July's First Friday

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


In a state where wildlife and amazing scenery are everywhere, and at a time of year where nature shines in all its majesty, it's no surprise that shows this month for First Friday reflect that inspiration. Birds, animals, flora, glaciers and mountains can be seen at almost every show and in every work at galleries this month.

In MaryBee Kauffman's "Capturing the character of elusive subjects," a collection of her field journal sketches, opening at Fireweed Gallery, she shows how an artist studies nature and uses it in her work. "Dancing Birds," by Kevin Crowley at Picture Alaska, and "Fauna," by Alice Shaw at the Homer Council on the Arts, also look at wildlife.

At Ptarmigan Arts, painter Mark McDermott shows his landscapes, particularly of his favorite subject, rugged mountains and glaciers. Bunnell Street Arts Center director Asia Freeman returns to the gallery after a 10-year hiatus with "Magnetic North." Freeman sees the abstract in nature, describing "volatile weather, dramatic light and elusive coastal forms" as "paintings in process."

Also opening this month are two exhibits of ceramic art. Homer potter Ruby Haigh shows her work inspired by flowers, birds, boats and people at the Homer Council on the Arts, while potter Deborah Schwarzkopf also has a show at Bunnell. A special treat this month is an appearance by Barbara Lavallee, with new originals at the Art Shop Gallery.

Art Shop Gallery

207 W. Pioneer Ave.

New work by Barbara Lavallee

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Reception 1-6 p.m., Saturday

Popular Alaska artist and children's book illustrator Barbara Lavallee visits for a reception on First Friday and an appearance on Saturday. She shows new original art, prints, ornaments and fabric panels.

Bunnell Street Arts Center

106 W. Bunnell Ave.

Magnetic North, paintings by Asia Freeman Pottery by Deborah Schwarzkopf first Friday opening

5-7 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception; 6 p.m., artists talk

Ceramic artist and potter Deborah Schwarzkopf shares her show with painter Asia Freeman — and also "an appreciation for sensual, complex forms defined by vibrant color, animated lines and soft planes," Freeman says. Freeman last showed her paintings at Bunnell 10 years ago. "But rather than trying to paint an exact picture of what I see I look into the canvas for the image," Freeman writes in her artist's statement. "Alaska's drama, the volatile weather, dramatic light and elusive coastal forms are paintings in process all the time. ... Every painting is a study in my own permeability and nature as both an external and internal force. I am happy with a painting that hovers between pure abstraction and a kind of natural realism."

Fireweed Gallery

475 E. Pioneer Ave.

Capturing the character of elusive subjects: Sketches from a pencil box, by MaryBee Kaufman

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Watercolor artist MaryBee Kaufman has made her sketchbook a constant companion, drawing and painting in her field journals for years. "Quick and loose, impressionistic or graphic, sketching opens us up to experiment with style and materials," the gallery writes of her show. "MaryBee uses line and watercolors to develop shape and value, but it is the sounds of life that drive the character of the line. Whether sketching to the frenetic pulse of Brazilian guitar music or to the cries of gulls along the beaches of Kachemak Bay, sounds create the cadence."

Homer Council on the Arts

344 W. Pioneer Ave.

Fauna, by Alice Shaw Flower Pots and Other Sanities, by Ruby Haigh 5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Alice Shaw's show, Fauna, looks at 10 species of Alaska wildlife (and one pelican) in 18 original drawings. "To me, animals represent the best of mother nature — in all her savage beauty," Shaw writes in her artist's statement. "I think of myself as a subrealist, trying to look beneath the fur and feathers, but aspiring to be a surrealist someday." Ceramic artist Ruby Haigh, a recent Paul Banks Elementary School artist in residence, presents an assortment of pottery inspired by flowers, birds, boats, people "and anything that moves," she writes. "Pottery and drawing give me a calmness to the insanity. Expression through clay and drawing brings health and soundness."

Picture Alaska

448 E. Pioneer Ave.

Dancing Birds by Kevin Crowley

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Using a variety of techniques from light washes of sumi ink on delicate paper to bold woodcuts printed in thick inks, Crowley's show looks at the common theme of birds. Many species are represented, from owls to shore birds, each with an emphasis on the birds in their natural habitat with the appropriate foliage and surroundings. Crowley uses eastern methods and techniques to bring northern birds to life.

Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery

471 E. Pioneer Ave.

Alaska Landscapes in Watercolor, paintings by Mark McDermott

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Anchorage artist Mark McDermott shows more than 20 of his recent realistic Alaska landscapes. "Landscapes are my first love, and rugged, sculpted mountains are my particular favorite," he writes. "I am fascinated and intrigued by visualizing earth processes at work and how they create natural landforms and patterns."