Monday, November 5, 2012

Katmai Art 2012

I was away all summer working at Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park, AK for the second time. This year I took thousands more photos than last time, and with a better camera, too. I also put together a miniature oil painting kit with cheap paint (I had no way of keeping palettes so had to throw away anything I didn't use each session and didn't want to throw out good paint) and cheap brushes (I couldn't find short handled nice brushes for oils at short notice).

In all I did 9 small oil paintings, mostly of bears. I sold three of them before I could take photos of them so all I have to remember them by are mediocre photocopies that I scanned in to share here. Even so, it was a good experience. The cheap paint and brushes were VERY frustrating to work with and forced me to let go of my perfectionism for a little while. With the mindset of, "Well, I can't paint perfectly with substandard materials," I was able to simply let go, rock out to some European metal, and PAINT. 4 the first day, 3 the next time, and 2 the last session.

Below, the art appears in chronological order. All but one were painted on canvas paper, the one oddball was done on a mini 2x2" canvas panel. All but that mini panel and the squirrel are 6" x 9"; the squirrel is like 3.5" x 12" or something.

I plan on keeping up the theme for a while as an exercise. They're pretty quick for me to do, taking between 30min to 2 hours. I am planning on making prints of some kind of a few of them; squirrel and splashing bear are the most popular. What do you think?


Jane62 said...

Wow, your art of the bears is amazing! I came here because I saw your photos of bears on Facebook from Brooks Lodge's Facebook page, which were also great. I wanted to ask you, do you remember there being some bears at Brooks the first week of August? You did have some photos of them the week of August 4. We're going to be there Aug. 3 and 4 and really hoping the bears will still be there!

Kara Stenberg said...

Hi! I'm glad you like my art!

As to the bears, I really couldn't say. Each year is different in terms of when exactly the bears leave camp in August. The amount of snow we got and the temperature can all affect the salmon runs, making them run earlier or later – meaning the bears might be around longer or not.

Ted the bear usually hangs out all of August but if there aren't many bears you can book a boat trip over to Margo Creek where the bears go and walk the river and take photos. I did it last year and HIGHLY recommend it!

Jane62 said...

Thanks for the quick reply, Kara - I sent you a Facebook friend request by the way :-) My name there is Jane Ohringer Hindman.

That's great info about Margo Creek, I didn't know that. So Brooks Lodge has people that will take you over in a boat? Haven't read about that anywhere! I did see some pictures you took there as well, so I'm really glad to know that in case not many bears are at the Falls. I guess you aren't working there again this year?

Kara Stenberg said...

I don't remember how much Margo Creek trips are. You'll have to ask the office or check out the Katmailand website where there are PDFs of the lodge brochures that have the info in there somewhere. :)

But yep, if the weather is good and the lake isn't choppy, we offer boat trips out to Margot. It's a half-day trip and you wear waders and walk up the river and look for bears. It's kind of an up-close and personal thing and very exciting.

I'll totally be working there again this summer for my third season – most of the crew doesn't get there until May - the lodge is only open in the summer. I'll be working the front desk so I will see you this summer! :)

Jane62 said...

Oh cool, it will be good to see you then! I'll be coming with my husband and 2 daughters, ages 11 and 14. Maybe we'll see you do some more painting while we're there :) I have a brochure that I got with my reservation, just looked at it again but not sure I'm looking at the right thing - they do mention a guide for fishing so maybe that's the same pricing. I'll email Linda at reservations to be sure. Thanks again, look forward to meeting you!