There is something about the Alaska landscape that attracts a certain kind of person. Alayne Tetor was drawn to Alaska by its wild, untamed frontier, adventure lifestyle and simple living. She was attracted by the background vistas and glacier landscapes. Tetor, 28, an art teacher at Homer High School, captures these moments and sights through mixed media, water colors and photography. Her show, “awAKenings,” opened this month and is on exhibit through March 31 at the Homer Council on the Arts
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Tetor learned to love the outdoors exploring the Pocono Mountains.
”I’ve been painting since I was three. I’ve always been a painter, it’s just always been my thing,” she said.
It’s the vibrant and wild landscapes of the back country that is the focus of her work. Her watercolor and acrylic depictions of the Aniakchak Caldera and Denali National Park are inspired by her adventures outdoors, trekking and hiking her way through Alaska’s untamed frontier, Tetor said.
“My inspiration comes from the world around me. I think simply being outside and being with nature … feeling the earth beneath your feet and breathing fresh air … that’s what inspires me, where I get my creative energy,” she said.
Many of her paintings are compact. When Tetor travels she has to pack light, as she can’t afford to carry a large canvas and collection of art supplies. Instead she chooses her materials based on mobility — a small watercolor set and a drawing pad slipped neatly within her hiking gear, a pack of pencils and acrylics hidden in her backpack.
“Everything that I have, like my watercolors and my supplies, has to be really small because I’m carrying it for miles,” she said.
It’s with these tools that Tetor conquers and captures each trail and adventure she sets out on. Admiring the awe inspiring vistas of Mount McKinley and Denali National Park, she recreates the landscape before her with a near photographic skill. In fact, she even carries with her a compact camera stowed away in her backpack strap in case she needs to snap a quick shot.
With all of her gear in tow Tetor sets out into the Alaska wild. Upon finding inspiration in a majestic view or a stunning glacier, she begins the process of recreating the images that inspire her.
“I tend to start with color first. I get a color palette in my mind, taking a snapshot of the whole period, then I pick a color scheme that best represents that,” she said. “Then I think the texture, like smooth or calm or rough and scratchy or peaceful or fun.”
Whether smooth and calm or rough and scratchy, her artwork skillfully captures the essence of her subject. Unafraid of trying different styles or mediums, she uses varying kinds of mixed media to capture the image she sees before her.
“Definitely my role as an art teacher drives that,” Tetor said. “My education in art is very broad, so I learned to teach different mediums. In that way I’m always trying different styles and different methods for my work.”
Looking back, she said her most memorable adventure was the trip to the Aniakchak Caldera. At nearly 135 miles it was easily the longest and most remote trek she has undertaken.
“I had such bad tendinitis by the end of the trip … but it was just so real and beautiful and one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced,” Tetor said.
Tetor not only draws inspiration from the great outdoors but also from within. Deeply meditative, she also is a certified yoga instructor. To Tetor, these different passions intertwine.
“Drawing and painting is a meditation,” she wrote in her artist’s statement. “I just think that art brings a lot of joy to people. Through art we overcome challenges … we create a reflection of who we are.”
paintings by Alayne Tetor
Homer Council on the Arts
1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
on exhibit through March 31