Known for her joyful sunsets, Alaska artist Devita Stipek Writer reflects on a new era of a changing Alaska. For over half a century, Devita has been painting the Alaska she knows and loves.
Every year upwards of a million people experience Devita’s paintings in public settings and her work is listed in the Catalogue of “Living Alaska: A Decade of Collecting Contemporary Art for Alaska Museums” touring exhibit, Rasmuson Foundation. 2016.
At the age of 79, still painting outdoors directly from the scene whenever she can, she shares a unique artistic vision. “As a young painter, I was fortunate to have instructors who encouraged me to find my own eye, as it were, my own expression rather than to learn a certain style or method. I find myself attracted to the Post Impressionists, more particularly the Fauvists like Emil Nolde and Georges Rouault. And of course, Vincent van Gogh.”
“Painting outdoors is still where it happens for me. As I’ve grown older, and facing the rigors of plein air painting in Alaska, I find that I may start a painting out doors, capturing the essence, and finish in the studio. My goal is not to reproduce a landscape as a photograph, rather to allow room for the viewer’s own imagination. Or as Van Gogh said, not so detailed you can stick your nose in, perhaps best seen from a certain distance. Color and movement, the smell of the salt air on a chill Alaska breeze. A single brushstroke an element unto itself. Traditional oils lend themselves to this in the astonishing way pure pigments refract light, a painting that changes even as the light in a room changes or as it catches your eye when you walk past. A painting with a life of its own.”
Nonetheless, she approaches the future with some trepidation as she mourns the changes she is seeing from development and climate change.
In this series of short articles and posts she writes of her experiences and reflects upon the changes she she observes. With some sadness, she senses a Seachange in the heart of Alaska.
About long time Alaska Painter, Devita Stipek Writer: She raised her family in bush communities from Ketchikan to Kodiak, and developed her unique vision while painting en plein air in the isolation of her family’s remote homestead in Southeast Alaska.
From expressive murals to small alla prima landscapes, she looks back on a lifetime of painting with her beloved oil paints.
In 1964 Devita left art school to marry an Alaska commercial fisherman. She lived an exciting life in the wilderness and fishing villages of Southern Alaska, a life of courage and adventure…. a way of life that is quickly disappearing. She now lives and paints in Juneau and at her small remote island homestead.
Note: If you own an original oil painting by Devita that you would like to sell, please contact the artist.