Alaska has one of the most visually arresting landscapes I have yet encountered. The feeling of its wilderness around you is truly inspiring. It is different than hiking in the Blue Ridge, biking in back country Central Texas trails, different than any other place I’ve been. It is the lighting directly overhead, spiraling around you never below the horizon. It is just a dirt road, a rambling oil pipeline and once that gets out of view, long stunning rolling hills of green and yellow, dashes of purple and red, blue blue mountains blocking the horizon miles away.
The sky has a volume to it. The clouds with their weighted rain filled bases wrapping up into the air turning into wisps and puffs of shape. On a clear day, looking to the Brooks range everything is just as far away as the first mountain, all others around it blending together. Then the clouds start to roll and suddenly something you thought was 20 miles away now has clouds forming between it and the other mountains that are no longer so close. Dumping sheets of gray purple rain this atmosphere creeps towards you, faster than in most places I have been. Just when you think it is getting close the cloud catches another wind drift from one of the rolling valleys and starts to wander off in another direction.
I just got back into Fairbanks driving 9 hours down the famed Dalton Hwy. There was lots of construction on the road which is primarily a dirt haul road for truckers taking supplies N through the Arctic. Where the construction took place I usually had sometime to sketch as they only let one direction through at a time. Worked to be a nice way to breakup the trip. While here in Alaska I took over, 1000 photos of clouds, landscape views of the tundra and the brooks mountain range, our field work and I made many of sketches. I have so many ideas for new work! I will update soon with a few selected sketches and photos.
Heading out this week to Toolik, Alaska. I’ll be there fly fishing for the Fishscape project helping them assess the health of Arctic Grayling Trout. When I’m not reeling in fish for science I’ll be sketching and shooting lots of photos! The landscape looks very inspiring from everything I have researched, I can’t wait to get there. I am planning to keep a sketch journal of landscape, insects, wildlife, flora and fish. Will update when I return.