Prince William Sound

Last weekend we drove to Prince William Sound to launch our “new to us” boat and to try our luck with our new shrimp pots and new halibut rods. It was beautiful. This is what the Valdez harbor looked like as we left it on Sunday (below).

I turned around and took this photo (below) as we left the harbor and entered Valdez Arm.

We set our shrimp pots in Jack Bay. (below)

Lovely shrimp (below).

There is a writing exercise where you only write two-word sentences. I decided to do that with this trip. It’s harder than it looks. Here goes:

Launch ramp. Heavy overcast. Gray water. Light chop. Under way. Salty spray. Valdez Arm. Shoup Bay. Potato Point. Jack Bay. Shrimp pots. Buoy marker. Galena Bay. Bligh Reef. Halibut rods. Herring bait. Flat calm. Rainbow arch. At anchor. Warm sun. Gentle rocking. Drooping eyes. Porpoise pod. Humpbacks breach. Geyser spout. Powerful breaths. Eagles soar. Gulls mew. Otters wave. No halibut. Pot puller. Three pots. One shrimp. Not good. Bait pots. Reset pots. Following seas. Sail boats. Oil tankers. Alaska Ferry. Tug boats. Charter boats. Harbor entrance. No Wake! Tie up. Night’s rest.Glassy water. Warm sun. Pull pots. Thirty shrimp. Not great. White caps. Following sea. Harbor entrance. Launch ramp. Pull boat.

Oh, I wish you could hear the sound of the whales breathing! It is amazing to hear that powerful surge of life from under the water. Thrilling.

Last week the robins returned for the summer and their song always makes me smile. It too was thrilling. What things do you find thrilling where you live?

Supporting Grapes

"Fall Grapes" original watercolor 14h x 11 (framed)

In the spirit of shalom from an earlier post I’ve donated this original framed watercolor for an auction to benefit a family with medical bills who are also in need of community support and encouragement.

I painted this watercolor from a photograph I took of grapes growing in my brother’s yard. I remember the warm grapes shining in the sun and their sweet, tart, dusty taste on my tongue. Grapes need support and care in order to not only survive but to produce. It is somewhat symbolic to have this painting generate a small blessing for my friend and her family.

If this is a painting you would like to bid on, please let me know. The bidding begins tonight at 5:30 and ends May 5 at 3pm, Alaska time. I’ll post bids in the comments. If you want to follow more closely, you may look on my Facebook page

Some of you have told me that you are unable to post comments. Drat. I’ve made all the changes I can. If you want to contact me, please email me at suziepaints @ I would make it a link for you, but apparently that is like a spam magnet. Thank you for your understanding. Just eliminate the spaces and it will work.

Spring in Alaska

We celebrate Easter differently in Alaska. There is almost always snow on the ground for the holiday so Easter egg hunts include boots and coats. One of my friends commented that she would wear flip-flops with her dress, but didn’t think blue toes would match her outfit.

What we have in abundance now is sunshine…when it isn’t snowing. It is light until almost 10 pm now and the sun is already up by 6:30 am.  My tomato plants and herbs are thriving in the windows. Today I’ll plant more seeds and soon it will feel like a jungle in here until we start heating the greenhouse at night. It was 14 degrees here last night and that’s too cold to keep the greenhouse warm.

On Good Friday morning, I climbed up our stairs to this view. The mountains were broody and ominous, but so beautiful with just a hint of sun.

Last week I experimented with watercolor and pastel (chalk) on top after it dried. It was enjoyable to mix the two mediums, but I had to use a paper with fairly smooth texture because the pastel would latch on to the pattern in the paper and not look like clouds.  Here is what I came up with. The view is up by Gunsight Lodge on the Glenn Highway.

With the longer days, snow is crashing off roofs and icicles are forming great sun-catchers.

Last week someone complained to me how colorless and dreary Alaska is during this season. Well, I guess it is if you look down at the melting snow and mud, but I choose to look up and enjoy the sun on the mountains. I chuckle at the magpies taking their first bath in the first pool of the melting stream. I see the whisper of a pink blush in the birch and willow trees signaling that spring has indeed arrived.

Flowers Under the Snow

It’s a good thing  I love snow because there is now at least two feet of it on the ground. Unfortunately the snow is starting to look dirty, old, and tired. Most Alaskans and particularly the moose are ready for it to just go away.

I’m part of an artists group where we post images from our sketchbooks. Lately there have been sketches of beautiful spring flowers growing where the climate is much warmer. I must admit that a sigh escapes me when I see budding rhododendrons, daffodils, tulips, petite crocus and grape hyacinth. Our wildflowers will be here in May and June and it will be a riot of color here then. So in order not to feel left out, I sketched a pretty little flower that grows rampant in our area. It is the tough little Twin Flower. It creeps along the ground in the open and under trees, sending up delicate little pairs of bell-shaped pink flowers.

Twin Flowers