Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Homage to Alaska's Native Art Work

Alaskan Native Art Work

I was so in love with some of the Alaskan Native artwork, but couldn’t find it, so I made my own!


Tlingit Native American Art

The Tlingit are a tribe of Native Americans that originates from the most South-Easterly part of Alaska. In this map, they are in orange. They also range in to the Canadian Territories.

ECHO:  Edication through Cultural and Historical Organizations

In Alaska there are many, many different Native American Tribes. One of the most popular tribal art work styles associated with Alaska is the Tlingit artwork (this is a link to a wonderful blog by an Alaskan Native, Tlingit - ). Their art came from the Totem Poles that were created by carving heads of animals and humans out of wood. Each part of the totem tells a story and is full of symbolism, as well as deep spiritual and personal meaning.

As Tom and I looked around Kodiak when we first came here, we saw many of their designs and even a few Totem poles!

I've been so inspired by seeing all the artwork in Kodiak that I immediately wanted some of my own. After looking at the local souvenir shops and art galleries, I quickly realized that nearly everything was out of our price range for puchase. Sooo...

I decided, "What the heck. I'll make my own." And, this inspired a series of paintings that are now hanging in our duplex and at Tom's office.

The first painting I drew was of an eagle. It was a design that had been made for the drums that the Tlingit people use for their dances. It was a beautiful design to me, and since I was seeing eagles everywhere in Kodiak I decided to paint the picture in their honor. I modified it a bit, but stayed with the original design.

After what I felt was a pretty successful attempt at art work, I decided that I wanted to move on to the next drawing. The second  drawing was of a salmon. I modified the drawing by adding the color blue to match the matting, and I placed the salmon in a circle that seemed to bring a sense of balance to the picture.

These both went right next to each other and are now on the wall in our living room.

They look great and are exactly what I had hoped to have on our walls here in Alaska!

Tom liked them so much that he asked if I would make some other paintings for his office. He wanted a salmon for the first drawing, but different from the one I drew for the living room. This one was from the side and was swimming...

Again, I modified the picture somewhat by adding colors and changing a few images around. But, overall, this design stays true to the Tlingit designs.

Next Tom wanted a bear he had seen in the Tlingit images I had shown him. It was the largest of all the drawings I did...

It also is in his office, and takes up the space on Tom's wall that had the most white space.

Overall, I think they turned out very well...

Next, I decided that I wanted to try to utilize some of the driftwood that Tom and I had been seeing on the beaches we had hiked.

So, after finding a piece I thought might be suitable, I began to work on a piece that I particularly enjoyed. Instead of Tlingit, this type of design is associated with the Alutiiq Native American tribe that is specifically native to Kodiak Island.

Alutiiq Native American Art

The Alutiiq people originated predominantly in the Southern-Central part of Alaska, including Kodiak. In the map, they are the grey-blue you see below the royal blue.

Here on the island, they have an Alutiiq museum that shows a great deal of the native art, both past and present. Their culture is known for the decorative visors they wore, the black dresses with shells, the beaded head-dresses, the masks, and the canoes they created with the decorative paddles.

After being inspired by the Alutiiq art, I decided to attempt a painting...this time on the drift wood that we found from the beach. It was fun to make...

Although I am not yet quite done with the end product, I am excited about where it is taking me. Next, I'll be trying to make masks out of Paper Mache using a new technique I've been researching. So much fun to explore and make art in this new home I've found myself in!!!

Incidentally:  The quilt on the back of our couch was made by my Aunt Karen...she also has a blog. Go check it out! It's about quilting!!!

Quilt History Reports

By Karen Alexander

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