Sketching the City, the Flats, and a Race

Sunshine has been abundant in Alaska this summer and I’ve been out sketching like crazy. My sketchbook is with me in the car in case I find interesting scenes to sketch. The image below is near the train station in Anchorage. The metal red salmon swimming up the fence are so cool.

Christensen Drive in Anchorage, Alaska. Notice the metal red salmon on the fence.

Christensen Drive in Anchorage, Alaska.

Between Anchorage and our house I drive past the Palmer Hay Flats where wild iris, also known as Siberian Flag, bloom in profusion. It was one of the hottest days of the year and I sat on my little folding stool in the sunshine sketching in delight.

Iris Sketch

Last week the Fireweed 400 began. It is a bike race beginning at Sheep Mountain Lodge, eighteen miles¬†east of us on the Glenn Highway. This race isn’t for the faint of heart. Contestants in the longest part of the race travel two hundred miles to Valdez at sea level then back to Sheep Mountain Lodge over mountainous roads.¬† I was sketching in the gravel on the side of the highway while racers zoomed past. One racer yelled, “Suzie, is that you?” It was the owner of the lodge, Anjanette, who has also run the Iditarod- the dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome. She’s one tough lady and only a little over a hundred pounds. This is one of the views the bicyclists see on their route. Fireweed is blooming all over the state right now.

Fireweed sketch

Last year Anjanette commissioned me to paint two images of the racers on the road. These are the paintings.

Sheep Mountain web 1

Glenn Highway heading toward Gunsight Mountain

Glenn Highway just east of Sheep Mountain Lodge. Matanuska Glacier and Lion's Head in the distance.

Glenn Highway just east of Sheep Mountain Lodge. Matanuska Glacier and Lion’s Head in the distance.