I was a little girl in the branches of a treehouse.
Just a few boards wedged into some branches, really.
I remember leaning back on the tree trunk,
my legs dangling in empty air, a breeze in my hair.
Robins, Bluejays and squirrels shared my tree with me.
We watched the bees on the flowers in my father’s garden and inhaled the sweet smell of summer.
Then came high school.
The other kids knew what to say to each other
when they gathered in the gym after school. I wanted to walk in but I didn’t know what to say and the clever kids were always
laughing, laughing, laughing.
I didn’t want it to be at me.
I traded my tree house for an easel.
I knew how to have a conversation with a canvas.
A canvas is like a book, except that shapes and colors
are the words.
I was surprised when others were able to hear the stories
in my canvases. It seems they, too, were struggling to get
by without a script.
A canvas and a palette full of paint allows me to speak
with others. With a brush in my hand, I can share my
robins, bluejays, squirrels and bees. I can share my
tree house and the flowers in my fathers garden.
I can share Alaska.
I can reveal fascinating people.
I can wrestle polar bears.
You can too.
To face a bear is to face your own fear.
I paint bears for you to face.
I paint motion holding still.
I paint things that surprise me.
Do they surprise you, too?
What could be more surprising
than to live in a land of midnight sun?
Do something unexpected today. Surprise yourself.
And I will tell you why I sign my paintings, “Raven.”
Painting in Layers: Part One (3 min video).
Part Two (5 min video)
RAVEN ventured to Alaska before there was an oil pipeline and fell in love with the gnarly spruce trees, intense weather and mountains she could touch. Very different from the landscape in St. Louis. She was looking for different. Raven explains, “I drew spruce trees; those scraggy, wizened and lanky conifers on the first page of my sketch book.”
“Wildlife artist Bill Berry was my mentor. After two years of study, he encouraged me to pursue my art education in more depth so I journeyed to Colorado.”
“I returned to Alaska after graduating from Rocky Mountain College of Art in Denver. I had to return. Those gnarly spruce trees had etched a place in my heart. Fairbanks, Alaska is my home. I explore with paint and share the joy and beauty I see all around us.”
Raven sketches and paints in her studio or plein air (painting outdoors in the open air).
Raven paints in the studio or plein air.
Plein air is painting outdoors in the open air.
JURIED SHOWS & AWARDS: (what has Raven been up to?)
Chosen thirty times for juried show competitions.
Received two first place awards, one second place award, one peer choice award and four honorable mentions.
64th Parallel Fairbanks Arts Association, chosen for 19 exhibits 1988-2017; Alaska Watercolor Society, chosen for three exhibits; Patterns of Influence, Fairbanks Arts Association; Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design; Alaska Art in the Parks exhibit
Emily Nachison, Portland, Oregon; David Ronton, Nebraska; Don Decker, Alaska; Richard Benson, NY, Vincent Burke, Maryland; Carole O. Barnes, Colorado; Linden Ontjes, Alaska; Fran Larsen, New Mexico; David Giese, Idaho; Gary Kaulitz, Alaska; Julie Decker, Alaska; Bella Feldman, California; Sheri Simons, California; Asia Freeman, Alaska; Ed Levine, New York; Elizabeth Kuiper, California; Marjolaine Renfro, Idaho; John K. Melvin, California, Mark Mehaffrey, Michigan; Daniel Keys, California; Jovencio de la Paz, Oregon.
EXHIBITS: (where have Raven’s paintings been viewed?)
Stephan Fine Arts, Alaska House Art Gallery, Well Street Gallery, House of Wood, Denali State Bank, Philip J. Steele Gallery, Artworks, Artique Limited, Fairbanks Arts Association’s Bear Gallery, Anchorage Museum of Art
Paintings in public collections: University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks, Alaska; Central Peninsula Hospital, Soldotna, Alaska; Wizard Academy, Austin, Texas; Mankato Hospital, Minnesota; Tanana Valley Clinic, Fairbanks, Alaska
Paintings in private collections: Canada, Germany, Sweden, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE: (more details about what Raven has been up to)
Professional Artist: 41 years
Founder and owner of Alaskan Raven Studio since 2000
Creative Director, awarded emeritus status, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2013
Graphic Designer and Creative Director at University of Alaska Fairbanks Public Affairs/Marketing and Communications 1985-2013
Christian Life School of Theology, received Bachelor of Theology, 2003-2007
Freelanced artwork and graphic design in Fairbanks, Alaska, 1981-1985
Returned to Alaska from Denver, 1980
Rocky Mountain College of Art, Colorado; graduated, Fine Art and Graphic Design; Attended RMCA, painted plein air and worked as Graphic Designer in Colorado, 1976-1980
Attended University of Alaska Fairbanks, studied with wildlife artist William D. Berry, 1974-1976
Moved to Alaska from St. Louis, Missouri, 1973