Wayne, Debi, Lucky & Rockwell at the Museum
We had a field trip yesterday afternoon to the Anchorage Museum, and it was exciting to see an ivory heron necklace by Haines artist Debi Knight Kennedy in one display, and a large photo of our own Wayne Price paddling a Tlingit canoe in another. I showed everyone I could, and told them I was from Haines, too. Our docent (a nice museum term for volunteer guide) was named Lucky and had a thick New York accent and knew tons about the paintings she showed us. She pointed out the way the horizon changes on landscapes, from low to high, making your attention move close or far, and that early artists made Alaska Natives look more european than they really did, and later Native artists made the europeans look more Native in a kind of payback. She noted how many "colors" of white a painter of birches in a snowstorm used, and how another artist managed to paint midnight in Anchorage pink, and make it work because of his thick brush strokes and contrasting blue. She explained Rockwell Kent's use of unreal colors, too, and his stylized mountains, the way he worked in rectangles, building a painting with shapes. Then she said, that when Rockwell Kent traveled to Alaska, things weren't going so well at home, so he brought his 11 year old son. (Maybe 12?) "He thought about bringing a girlfriend, but brought his son instead." Everything a person needs to know to write a story was in Lucky's talk. The likable narrator (the NY accent in Alaska was perfectly engaging) lots of details (the smart art stuff) and, most importantly-- when, to give the reader a little bit of juice, something that makes you turn the page. That something is always a line like, "he thought about taking his girlfriend, but he took his son instead."