The colorful paintings and whimsical musings of artist Kristy Tracy
Monday, July 14, 2014
IT'S A SMALL, SMALL WORLD
My second plein air painting from the Great Alaska Plein Air Retreat cruise was at a stop in Juneau. While everyone else was painting the Mendenhall Gacier or the boats in the harbor or the view from Mt. Roberts at the top of the cushy tram ride, Karen Whitworth and I meandered around town, climbing up the hilly streets past quaint little homes with yards full of flower gardens until we found ourselves a mile outside the city at the end of Basin Road. We stumbled upon the "Last Chance Mining Museum" and were encouraged to stop in and say hello by a huge snowy-white Great Pyrenees who seemed to be the welcoming committee. After being thoroughly inspected by the shop cat, we introduced ourselves to the owner of the museum. When he found out we were artists, he asked us if by chance we knew of an artist named Larry Seiler, whom he had met years ago in Wisconsin. Surprised and amused, we told him Larry just happened to be one of the Guest Instructors on our Great Alaska Plein Air Retreat cruise, and was currently painting with a group of students at Mendenhall Glacier. We exchanged some amusing stories about Larry, said our goodbyes, and the museum owner pointed us up Perseverance Trail where he promised we'd find good views of Ebner Falls. We climbed past an old mine entrance that felt like an industrial air conditioner, dodged bear scat in the middle of the trail, and hiked upwards until we each found a spot to set up within shouting distance of each other. Painting the falls that day was a peaceful, much-needed respite from our busy retreat schedule. When the clouds rolled in and the rain started to patter down, it was time to head back to the ship. As we made our way down the mountain, we had a good chuckle about being out in the middle of nowhere in the back country of the Last Frontier and running into a complete stranger who happened to know our friend and fellow traveler, Larry Seiler. As we hiked the 4 miles back to the dock, our steps were made lighter because we were bearing well wishes from friend to friend to friend.
It IS a small world after all.