The Last Alaska Family Troller – Beached

My recent painting “The Last Alaska Family Troller Heads for the Beach” was nostalgic and emotional for me. I raised my family on fishing boats and tiny fishing villages in Southeast Alaska. Family commercial fishing is disappearing in Alaska. Below is a preliminary painting, and the uncomplete final oil painting.

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The Last Alaska Family Troller Heads for the Beach, Oil Painting underwayOn canvas, tradition oil paints out of the tube, thick paint (impasto) applied largely wet on wet. This (smaller painting) is the preliminary sketch for the larger piece. Both are Sold.

Depicted against the beauty of a glorious Alaska sunset, in the foreground of the painting is a landing craft loaded with household goods and building materials as it follows the family fishing boat to shore for the last time.
The painting depicts the end of an old fashioned and inefficient “hook and line” method of Commercial Fishing called “Trolling” for salmon that is almost gone from Alaska.
Trolling is inefficient. It uses old fashioned baited hooks to catch salmon instead of big nets.
As trollers, the whole family would live aboard a relatively small fishing boat and go fishing together, sometimes almost year-round. They lived on the boat.
They might stay temporarily “on the beach” in winter, but they always returned to the boat to follow the Salmon for most of the year.
My husband and I were commercial fishermen. I think we moved at least thirty times.
It makes me a little sad to see these family boats disappear, and the families with them. These are the emotions that affected me as I painted.

Landing Craft WW2 Public Domain Fixed 960px Old fashioned converted landing craft are a common sight in small Southeast Alaska working harbors like Auke Bay Harbor, near Juneau (officially, Statter Harbor).

This harbor has gone through radical redesign and expansion in the last few years… but it is still quaint and a beautiful place to see and walk the docks. Absolutely Beautiful!

Juneau has several small harbors like this. And Yes you can still walk the docks. They aren’t locked up yet as of the date of this post. But the way things are going, the pressure of tourism, it can’t be long before they are.

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About Me

Alaska Artist Devita Stipek WriterDevita Stipek Writer is an established Alaska landscape painter and muralist. An estimated one million people experience her public work every year. In 1964 she left art school to marry an Alaska fisherman. There followed a life of adventure, tragedy, and triumph.

Note: If you own an original oil painting by Devita that you would like to sell, please contact the artist.