August First Friday features work brilliant and lively

As summer fades into brilliant fireweed and shorter days, the Homer arts scene remains lively and brilliant.

At Bunnell Street Arts Center, Gwich’yaa Gwich’in artist Colleen Firmin Thomas of Fort Yukon and Fairbanks shows work that incorporates modern sewing techniques and traditional Gwich’in Athabascan materials into mixed media work. Anchorage couple Janelle and Les Matz also work with traditional and modern materials. Les creates framework from bicycle spokes and other materials that Janelle then stretches fish skins over.

At Ptarmigan Arts, glass artist Tanya Norvell and Kit Beebee show new work in fused glass. Showing at Grace Ridge Brewery, painter Julianne Tomich also works with glass, but as her canvas; her paintings are often done on upcycled window frames. Tomich also paints Alaska wildlife and landscapes on canvas. Another landscape artist, Christina Wilson, showing at Fireweed Gallery, also explores “Bright Summer Landscapes” — the title of her show.

Photographer Taz Tally, who works in black-and-white portraits, uses composition, tone and contrast to capture the drama of Alaska scenery. He shows new work at Art Shop Gallery.

In a special treat, artist Gundega Sneptse features a retrospective of the changes of her art in many forms over the nine years since she moved to America from Latvia. Change also is the subject of M’fanwy Dean’s block prints at the Dean Family Gallery. She shows her early prints and her latest, more challenging work done in maple.

Don’t miss “Elaborate Expressions,” new work by Nathan Perry at The Shop. Perry creates in a variety of media, from black-and-white portraiture to scratchboard. He offers a class from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at The Shop on the scratchboard technique.

Reach Michael Armstrong at

Art Shop Gallery

202 W. Pioneer Ave.

New work by Taz Tally

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception

Homer-based black-and-white landscape photographer Taz Tally shows his latest portfolio work, “Mt. Saint Elias, from Icy Bay.” Tally said it took two years to make this piece. He originally took a panorama image of Mt. Saint Elias in June 2017 while kayaking across Icy Bay and planned to release it last year, but wasn’t satisfied with it.

“Just deciding how to crop the image was a major challenge because of its immense stature,” he writes. “Saint Elias rises to over 18,000 feet from near sea level and its massif sprawls for more than 22 miles across the northern head of Icy Bay. I choose the name for my piece to honor the Tlingit names for this glorious mountain, Yaz’eít’aa Shaa Tlein, which translates as ‘big mountain behind Ice Bay.’”

In addition to his photography, Tally also is the author of “50 Hikes in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula” and “Backroads & Byways of Alaska” as well as numerous books on digital imaging. Taz also is an outdoor adventures feature writer for the Homer Tribune and he teaches courses in geology and graphic arts.

Bunnell Street Arts Center

106 W. Bunnell Ave.

Restoration by Colleen Firmin Thomas

New work by Janelle and Les Matz

5-7:30 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception; 6 p.m., artists talk

Bunnell presents simultaneous exhibits by Colleen Firmin Thomas and Janelle and Les Matz. Colleen Firmin Thomas is Gwich’yaa Gwich’in from Fort Yukon who also grew up in Fairbanks. She studied printmaking and painting at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she now lives. Thomas works with modern sewing techniques and traditional Gwich’in Athabascan materials and methods in her mixed-media paintings.

“My work is an exploration of living in the space between two cultures,” she writes. “As a child these two communities often seemed to represent two opposing worlds; my Gwich’in culture and my non-native Western culture. I often struggled to reconcile the two and my place in them. I am aware that I’m not the only person living in a middle area and I hope my work speaks to all who know what it’s like to live in those less defined areas.”

Metalsmith Les Matz continues his line of jewelry forms done in partnership with his wife Janelle Matz. Les creates the armatures out of old bicycle spokes, and Janelle covers the forms with prepared fishskin. These light and intriguing forms speak to the cycles of fish, planets, and leaves. Additionally, these materials are in their second and new life, another concept of recycling. The Matzes began working in fish skin after attending a workshop with the late Fran Reed, after which they created small sculptures from fish skin and metal.

Dean Family Gallery

40374 Waterman Road

Block prints by M’fanwy Dean

5-9 p.m., First Friday Opening Reception

August’s show features the early woodcut block prints of Homer artist M’fanwy Dean that highlights the transition to her current medium of hand carved maple.

Fireweed Gallery

475 E. Pioneer Ave.

Bright Summer Landscapes, oil paintings by Christina Wilson

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Anchorage oil and acrylic artist Christina Wilson returns with a new collection, “Bright Summer Landscapes.” Self described as an “artist of color,” Wilson uses texture and color to create vivid works with oil and acrylic paint. A professor of studio arts at Alaska Pacific University and a contemporary landscape artist in Anchorage, Wilson said she finds time to enjoy the world through travel with her family. Her art has been exhibited internationally in Iceland and Sweden. She also is a published author of the children’s books, “Raven’s Love” and “Peek-a-boo Bear.”

Grace Ridge Brewery

3388 B. Street off Ocean Drive

Moose Queen, new paintings by Julianne Tomich

5-7 p.m., First Friday

“The Moose Queen reigns supreme in Alaska,” writes Homer artist Julianne Tomich. “Regal, independent, and sure footed she is completely in her element. She is the boss. It gives me great pleasure to paint her portrait, here amongst this majestic fireweed stage in Homer, Alaska.”

Tomich has a background in children’s mural painting and Disney mural painting and likes to paint wildlife of Alaska. She especially loves moose and fireweed.

Homer Council on the Arts

344 W. Pioneer Ave.

What’s Beyond, retrospective work by Gundega Snepste

5-7 p.m., First Friday

Of her work and career, Latvian American artist Gundega Snepste writes, “I have been blessed and cursed at the same time to have many interests and talents, but none of them big enough to determine a sure path for my life. Would I be an English teacher or writer, try to enter art school or follow my parents’ path and become an engineer?”

She said she has always created something with whatever materials are at hand.

“I like to experiment and explore. I like to take one small path, follow it, curious to see where it will lead, what’s beyond the corner. Sometimes I will go the same route again, but I will want to check out the next path and another,” she writes.

Sneptse has lived nine years in America and five in Homer. During that time she has learned and changed a lot, she said, developing skills in quilting, ceramics and painting. “Ten years ago I could not imagine that at an age when most people look forward to retirement, I will restart my life again from scratch. But I am curious to see where the new path will lead me, what’s beyond the corner. My greatest reward will be if something I have created will talk to you and encourage you to find out what’s there beyond that well-known path you have been walking.”

Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery

471 E. Pioneer Ave.

New glass work by Tanya Norvell and Kit Beebee

5-7 p.m., First Friday Reception

Tanya Norvell’s techniques push the limits of “warm glass,” or fused glass. She enjoys the unlimited possibilities of warm glass and often lets the glass speak to her on its desired design. She’s perfected a number of different methods to create unique pieces that express her dedication to the art.

Kit Beebee also incorporates fused glass into her stained glass windows, but Kit enjoys the challenge of cutting glass into shapes that glass is not normally seen in. The “impossible cuts” that adorn her work are her signatures on the creative, intricately designed stained glass.

The Shop: Kachemak Bay Art Space

60388 Bear Creek Court

Elaborate Expressions, new work by Nathan Perry

7-9 p.m., First Friday Reception

Nathan Perry shows his exhibit, “Elaborate Expressions.” Perry also will teach a scratchboard workshop from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at The Shop, with a $25 fee, including supplies.

Nathan Perry has an extensive art background as a graphic designer, professional fine artist and photographer, and has worked in a scratchboard, pastels, pen and ink, graphite, acrylics, oil and mixed media. His subject matter includes color and black and white portraiture, wildlife, landscape, and spiritual themes.

“Recently, I have been exploring themes focusing on the landscape and wildlife that has surrounded me my whole life,” he writes. “Growing up in Great Falls, Montana and now living in Alaska, creating artwork that represents the creatures and their natural settings is a coherent direction for my artwork to take. … Many of my compositions use small strokes and meticulous lines while others use bold strokes and vibrant colors. My work ranges from non-objective abstract expressionism to intricately detailed realism.”

This month, The Shop also offers classes in plein air with Norway-based artist Nicholas O’Leary and pastel painting with Alaska artist Nancy Angelini Crawford. For more information, visit

“Moose Queen” by Julianne Tomich.

“Moose Queen” by Julianne Tomich.

Art by Gundega Sneptse.

Art by Gundega Sneptse.

“Owl,” a woodcut by M’fanwy Dean.

“Owl,” a woodcut by M’fanwy Dean.

Fused glass work by Tanya Norvell.

Fused glass work by Tanya Norvell.

“Homunculus” by Janelle and Les Matz.

“Homunculus” by Janelle and Les Matz.

Glass work by Kit Beebee.

Glass work by Kit Beebee.

“Love Song” by Nathan Perry.

“Love Song” by Nathan Perry.

“Mt. Saint Elias, from Icy Bay” by Taz Tally.

“Mt. Saint Elias, from Icy Bay” by Taz Tally.

Art byColleen Firmin Thomas.

Art byColleen Firmin Thomas.

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