Story last updated at 1:09 p.m. Thursday, September 19, 2002

Artist's reflections
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Using poem-like quotes for titles, artist Jan Thurston titles this painting "Wild blooms, tranquil hills ... Alaska"  
For years, artists like Jan Thurston and a dozen or so others have chosen Halibut Cove as their source of inspiration, as well as a place to call home.

Though many of her works revolve around the single subject of the environment of Halibut Cove, Thurston said, she never tires of the scenery.

"I keep thinking I'm going to get bored, but I don't," she said. "I don't even get bored painting the view out of our living room."

Thurston, who has been painting since her college days at Central Washington State in the '60s, is currently exhibiting her latest body of work, "Still Water Reflections," at Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery. The show consists of paintings created this summer, depicting Halibut Cove scenery. Far from repetitive, however, paintings range from a monochromatic view of trees and mountains to a vibrant detail of turning leaves.

Thurston said much of her ceaseless inspiration comes from the constantly changing weather and its impact on the scenery around her. A foggy day can provide one impression, while sun reveals another.

Accompanying each piece is a quote in place of a title, many of which Thurston wrote herself. Others draw from the philosophical musings of others. The quotes, written after each painting was completed, were an attempt to summarize the sentiment each painting holds, Thurston said. They include thoughts like "log cabin, grayed with age, holds stories unrevealed," and "fall leaves surrender life in reverent splendor."

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
A watercolor of a cabin is titled "What is most important is to find peace and to share it with others." A close-up of leaves becomes "Fall leaves surrender life in reverent splendor."  
"It was really helpful for me to do the quotes," she said. "It helped me hone in on the painting."

The quotes also allowed Thurston to express her belief that philosophy and creativity are directly linked.

"All spirituality is really focused on living in the here and now," she said. "When you are being creative, even if it is making a loaf of bread or gardening, you really are in the here and now. You forget yourself."

Thurston said she hopes to carry these beliefs into the establishment of a retreat center aimed at fostering creativity and spirituality. The Halibut Cove center is set to open next year, she said.

As for her future art plans, Thurston said she hopes to reverse her most recent process of painting then poetry by writing haiku poems of each scene before she paints it. The poetry will help her distill the scenes before putting brush to paper, the artist said.

Thurston's work can be found at the Halibut Cove Experience Gallery, Ptarmigan Arts and the Fireweed Gallery as well as the Bagel Factory in Anchorage.

photo: entertainment

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Summer blooms is titled "Laughing blossoms wild and free bring harmony."  
Carey James can be reached at cjames@homer-news.com.

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