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About the painting Solstice

The large forest painting is a metaphor for what is going on in the Yakataga River Valley this summer.

It is a dark time for the old-growth forests of Cape Yakataga and the stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Alaska midway between Cordova and Yakatat.

The trees in this big canvas are now backed up by giant clearcuts. Some forest remains, but as the roads go farther into the valley stretching even behind some of the mountains, more loss of habitat takes place for all the
creatures living there.

The purpose of this painting is to present the compelling information that our coastal temperate rainforest here, on the central coast of Alaska, is threatened by current business and political convention.

Once these old-growth forests are cut they are gone. It takes hundreds of years for an ecosystem such as this to develop.

I first saw Cape Yakataga almost 15 years ago. I went to this remote and stunningly beautiful place with a man who had lived there for almost 20 years. He had been introduced to the Cape by his father who had built a series of trapping cabins and who knew this land intimately.

For well over a decade, I spent more than 6 months each out at the Cape, learning about the forest, the medicine plants, the animals and the ways of the land.

The clearcutting began over 30 miles away at Icy Bay and each passing year, as the displaced animal population migrated up the coast to find a place to live, I wondered about the forest I had come to love.

Now the chainsaws have been heard in the background for several years and they advance towards my home there.

It is my dream that someday we will learn to keep these forests intact - and, when we harvest trees that they be removed with care and regard for the forest as a complete complex system. It is also my hope that we come to the
realization that keeping our logs in Alaska and value adding them before sending them to market, will provide much more opportunity for people who live in Alaska.

My passion for forests comes from my childhood in northern Wisconsin. I truly wish that a master forester, such as my own father, were steward of these magnificent cathedrals of trees.