#23 - ART as a life style

If you are doing the math, we have had MANY years of continual major construction projects. And, yes, we did manage to play hard in between it all. Always using Art as the thread throughout our lives both in 'work' and 'play'.

With this pandemic all around us, I thought it may be a good time to bring out more on the 'play side'...the travel photos! At least we can travel 'virtually' from our quarantined homes. A bit more personal, but I hope you find it entertaining.

Warning: if this is not your cut of tea....Here come the 'family photos'!

Kids sleeping on the bush plane. // Anola on our 'perch' watching the Kodiak Bears feed on salmon in the water below.

We went to Alaska after an art collector (who is the owner of a grizzly painting of mine) suggested a grizzly bear watching trip. She told me about a lottery for National Forest summer shelters on an isolated lake on Kodiak Island - off the mainland from Alaska. Dirt cheap, bare bones shelter - near a 'hot spot' where you can watch the Kodiak Bears feed on salmon.

Kodiak bears and polar bears are the 2 largest bears alive today. They are BIG, really BIG! Sounded interesting to get to see them up close, in person :) Without getting many more details, I threw my name into the lottery – and forgot about it.

Well, I won a week in the 'dirt cheap, bare bones shelter'. Yippee!! - I think ;) Now, tell me the details..??

Timing was tricky. I was very pregnant when I got the good news. Extrapolating it out to the dates that were now 'mine', it would mean we'd be taking a 4 month old and a 3 year old to a very remote part of Alaska. The logistics were complicated - even without the kids! We could get to Kodiak Island via the mail ferry but would need to take a bush plane from there. Hmmm...

Step by step I planned the adventure as my due date neared. Delivered in March, wrapped up final details, then set off in July for Alaska.

At our Kodiak Island lake cabin, we were the only ones on the ENTIRE lake. Remote is really remote in Alaska. Now I knew. Just us, as we counted 96 bears that week. Very, very large bears.

…..all alone on the Lake

…..in a plywood 'cabin' FAR from any civilization

…. With no way out, except for that pilot who said he’d be back to pick us up – IF the weather was okay at least. Otherwise, he told us to just wait it out until he could get back for us.

He didn't seem panicked as he dropped our young family off on the shore of that lake with my 4 month old strapped on the front of me. (Bear snack??) We had our basic food provisions and a water filter. He pointed us in the direction of the rustic shelter over there in the woods. This was before cell phones, so we had no way to contact him or anyone in the outside world. He got back in his bush plane and off he went. Remote is really remote in Alaska ;)

Quiet, beautiful, true wilderness. I plein air painted and we watched salmon and bears in the streams and lake all week... lots and lots of bears!

"Kodiak" circa 2005

While we were 'in the neighborhood' we visited Denali too. What a trip for painting and photography – and wildlife watching! The landscape was vast and gorgeous and humbling. Yes, we went BIG for an amazing Alaskan adventure!

"Homeward" circa 2005

Art in some way is generally the reason for our travels. The thread throughout.

I always laugh that our kids didn't realize until they were teenagers that "vacations" didn't include Art. That's when they put it together that other families went to the beach and hung out - REALLY!!?? Some type of 'art destination' was generally our focus when we left town. The kids went to more art museums by the time they were 10 than most adults have visited in a lifetime!

Visiting art destinations with kids does have a different twist in order to keep them engaged. Below they are posing 'like the sculpture' at Rodin's home and 'being ghosts' on the grounds where Leonardo da Vinci died.

More 'sculpture posing'...

Here they are 'thinking' under The Thinker by Rodin through the years...

My kids were exposed to Art from their 'front carriers' on. It was our life, and they were brought along for the ride. Nature or Nurture, not sure. But they are creative artistic kids.

My son, the youngest, was 5 when he first asked to go to Paris. Kids at that age say the funniest things. Somewhere he had heard it called the Art & Fashion capital and wanted to go see it for himself.

Hmmm... that would be a BIG trip, so I told him we'd have to wait on that. His parents were 'self-employed artists' after all. He continued asking and talking about it A LOT. Teachers, his friends, our friends - just about everybody that came in contact with him knew it was his dream. He OFTEN brought it up.

When he was 10 years old and still asking, I realized it had been half of his lifetime now!... and wouldn't that be a GRAND adventure for our 'art family'. His older sister was now 13 and time was ticking for them to want to vacation with their parents. So I set out to make it happen.

That grand adventure deserves it's own post - next up "Paris here we come!"

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