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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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2001 Sketch Book


In the tradition of the original Harriman Alaska Expedition, Harriman Retraced invited artists aboard to see how Alaska looked through their eyes, as well as their pens and paints. The following sketches are examples of works in progress created during the expedition by both professional artists and young explorers.

Artists' Sketches (click images for larger view)

Patricia Savage

Patricia Savage delivered an excellent presentation on how nature artists approach their craft, covering their background and training and going on to the source materials used as starting points for individual works. Her goal was to "demystify" how artists work. But actually watching her in the act of creation, layering in the background for a vision that exists only in her mind, working on a dining room table in the ship's day lounge as the Clipper Odyssey sails past coastal mountains and frosty glaciers, seemed to make the process even more mysterious and magical. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

Puffins

Naturalist Conrad Field illustrated a NOAA navigational chart with pen and ink drawings of animals found in Alaska, carrying on a tradition dating back thousands of years. The chart was auctioned off just before the ship reached Homer, and the $3,000 donation given to Homer's Pratt Museum, one of the finest community museums in the United States. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

Inside Passage

"Inside Passage" - Oil pastel on paper by Kesler Woodward
"I made the sketch 'Inside Passage' in oil pastels on paper, from the promenade deck of the Clipper Odyssey, the second day of the Harriman Expedition Retraced."

Davidson Glacier

"Davidson Glacier" - Oil on paper by Kesler Woodward
"I painted the sketch 'Davidson Glacier' in oil paint on paper, a day after running up to glimpse the glacier from the top deck just before dark, as the Clipper Odyssey cruised south from Skagway toward Sitka. Rather than a literal view of the glacier as it spills out of the surrounding mountains on the west side of Lynn Canal, the oil sketch is composed from memory, impression, and a couple of very quick pencil notes I jotted just after seeing the scene."

"Iceberg, Tracy Arm" - Pen and ink on paper by Kesler Woodward
"Iceberg, Tracy Arm' is a pen-and-ink sketch of an iceberg floating near the entrance to Tracy Arm, south of Juneau. I drew the scene directly from observation through my cabin window, beginning a bit before 5 o'clock in the morning on July 24, 2001."

Iceberg Prince William Sound

"Iceberg, Prince William Sound" - Pen and Ink on Paper by Kesler Woodward
As the Harriman Expedition Retraced cruised from Cordova to Valdez across the eastern part of Prince William Sound, the Clipper Odyssey passed a large chunk of floating ice from Columbia Glacier. I sketched the floating mass in pen and ink, trying to capture a sense of the fantastic forms the ice takes as it floats, tumbles, and eventually melts in its passage on the currents of the broad Sound.

Leaving Harriman Fjord

"Leaving Harriman Fjord" - Prismacolor Pencil Sketch by Kesler Woodward
At the end of one of the first clear, sunny days on our expedition, we cruised out of Harriman Fjord at sunset among some of the last remnants of floating ice. I completed the sketch "Leaving Harriman Fjord" in Prismacolor Pencil late that evening, trying to capture a bit of the wonder and gratitude that everyone seemed to feel for the sublime sights we'd seen and the ethereal glow of the closing day.

Quiet Cove

"Quiet Cove - Prince William Sound" - Oil on Paper by Kesler Woodward
We have seen so many grand panoramas on the Harriman Expedition Retraced - mighty glaciers, soaring mountains, towering waterfalls - but I am equally attracted to some of the quiet, peaceful, unremarkable little bays and inlets that abound along the coast. "Quiet Cove - Prince William Sound" is an oil on paper sketch of one of those anonymous coves.

Aleutians

"Aleutians" - Oil on paper by Kesler Woodward
"I did the oil sketch 'Aleutians' near Unimak Pass, on a day in which clouds and mist gave way to uncharacteristically bright skies and only the slightest chop on the surrounding sea. I was impressed by the amount of snow still on the volcanic peaks in August, and the striking green of the low-level vegetation."

Kodiak Island

"Kodiak Island" - Oil on paper by Kesler Woodward
"I did the oil sketch "Kodiak Island" just two days into the second half of our trip. I was interested in the deep green of the lower flanks of the mountains against the intense blue of the surrounding Gulf of Alaska, as clouds lifted and skies cleared."

St. George

"St. George" - Pen and ink on paper by Kesler Woodward
"On St. George Island in the Pribilofs, we were again given the gift of unexpected sun for a few bright moments in the early morning. It seemed like a magical place in that light. Back on the ship after completing two pages of little thumbnail sketches in the village, I worked from one of those quick impressions to try to capture a bit of that glory in a simple pen-and-ink drawing of our landing spot."

St. George Sketch Book

"St. George Sketchbook" - 6 Pen and ink sketches by Kesler Woodward
"Though my other sketches on this trip were done on fine paper with carefully taped borders, on the island of St. George I was so taken with the character of the landscape and the village itself that I had to get out the little sketchbook in which I take notes and jot a quick impression. One little image led to another as I walked around, and soon I had filled two pages with hasty visual notes."

Unga

"Unga Island" - Pen and ink on paper by Kesler Woodward
"Unga Island was breathtakingly beautiful -- all the more so for being shrouded in low clouds and mist, which rose and fell during the day. Wind and shifting shafts of light alternately curtained and unveiled the treeless slopes throughout the afternoon."

shell sketch

Shells - by Megan Litwin.
Megan Litwin sketched these shells during a guided field drawing session with artist Patricia Savage.


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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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