Alaska’s beauty inspires artists

Whether it’s the romantic streets of Paris or the tropical allure of Hawaii, most artists who visit a region become inspired by the landscape. Alaska artists go to extremes, and don’t just become passive observers but active participants in the landscape that moves them.

That’s the idea of several shows opening this Friday at Homer galleries. Kayak guide Kelsey Hardy-Place creates her prints from what she calls “visual poems” seen on her paddles. “The memories follow me around, linger in my mind and drift into my imagination,” she writes of her show, “Between the Tides,” opening at Homer Council on the Arts.

At Ptarmigan Arts, wildlife biologist Angela Doroff shows “No Pattern at All,” sculptures made from recycled natural objects. Her work as a scientist has informed her work, she writes, and “are meant to be part of the strength of everyday life and the web of relationships among the internal and external environment.”

In her show at Fireweed Gallery, “Living Color,” Anchorage artist Christina Wilson writes that her acrylic paintings come from long walks through birch and aspen forests. The impasto painting technique allows viewers to enter the painting as if they were taking a walk in the woods, Wilson writes in her artist’s statement.

Artist Michael Murray takes the concept of en plein air — painting outside the studio — to a different venue. For more than 14 years he has been sketching and painting at live concerts, many at Alice’s Champagne Palace. His show, “Beer Stained and Bumped,” features art done at Alice’s concerts.

In what may be a first for First Friday, fiber artist Abigail Kokai launches her Kickstarter campaign at Alaska Marketplace with a showing of HomerWhales, plush toys made from upcycled fabrics. The show is part of the marketplace’s mAKer First Friday series.

Also showing is work by Amy Casey, artist in residence at Bunnell Street Arts Center, and “The Silent Horizon,” a show by Kenai Peninsula College art professor Cam Choy at Kachemak Bay Campus. The Pratt Museum is open for late hours so people can see “Ocean Treasure, Ocean Trash,” for one last First Friday before the exhibit ends on Monday.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at