My first immersion in the Arctic was on
the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska from 1977 to 1980. I lived
and worked as a nurse practitioner, frequently visiting the
villages of Hooper Bay and Scammon Bay. I returned for summers
through 1982. The vast silence and mysterious seasonal arctic
light and ice shifts are with me still. The warmth and generosity
of the Yupik people I came to know and love will be with me
always. I traveled extensively throughout the interior and
northern slope communities. At the time my art form was black
and white photography. About every 6 months I would use a
friend’s darkroom in Fairbanks to develop my film. Never
did I think a day would come when the disappearance of the
shifting masses of spring ice would summon a raw urgency to
the painterly expression of these places.
During the years of 1984 through 1986 I lived
in the sub-arctic communities of Grand Rapids and Easterville,
Manitoba, Canada with the Swampy Cree and Métis people.
I was able to travel north once again into the arctic regions
around Thompson and Churchill. It was at that point that added
watercolor painting to my art practice.
Upon completion of my Masters of Arts degree
in 1988 I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at
the Institute of Eskimolgie in Copenhagen, Denmark (1988-1989).
This rich academic year of study introduced me to the culture,
languages and ecosystems of Greenland. I researched the collected
and primarily unknown stories of women angakkut (shamans).
This resulted in my manuscript “You Will Cease to Be
Powerless”. This year also included photographing the
Yupik Mask Collection at the Dalhem Museum in Berlin and the
Siberian/Tungat/Sami collections at the National Museum in
In 1999 I began to devote myself full-time
to my studio practice. In my current group of paintings, Wit(h)nessing
the Arctic, I am using my b/w photographs of the late 1970’s
on the Bering Sea Coast as points of entry for my work.