Devita Stipek Writer – Brief Biography

Devita Writer, Alaska Painter (Horse Island Studio)

My great grandfather settled in Nome during the gold rush. My grandfather moved to Seattle as a young man.  In 1964, while I was attending art school at Cornish, my grandmother and I traveled to Alaska on the inaugural run of the State Ferry  Matanuska to attend a friend’s wedding in Ketchikan.  It was there that I met my soon to be husband, Alaska fisherman David Kennedy.

Both of my sisters married Alaska fishermen and still live in Alaska, so I guess Alaska is in our blood.

Dave and I raised our family on the boat, in fish camps and fishing towns from Ketchikan to Kodiak.  Eventually we settled in the tiny outer coast fishing village of Elfin Cove where I ran the fuel dock and general store while Dave fished.

Dave disappeared with his fishing boat a week before Christmas 1979.  I moved my family to Juneau.  I had continued to paint and sketch in those early years and now, out of love and necessity, I turned to making art full time to support my young family.

My new husband and I built the cabin on isolated Horse Island and moved there in 1992 after the last child went off to college. At the island I painted without distraction.  This was a period of intense artistic development for me.

I now live and Juneau and at the age of ‘three quarters of a century’ I still work daily at art and can’t imagine doing anything else.