the creative journey of discovery

This mural of dye-painted silk habotai has its home in Homer, Alaska, at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College of UAA. It is entitled Discovery.

artist's statement

Bayview Hall of Kachemak Bay Campus of UAA in Homer, Alaska overlooks Kachemak Bay rimmed with glaciered mountains. Like the vast bay, KBC invites exploration, learning and discovery.

Imagery is from the bay's name: “Ka” water, “chek” cliff, “mak” high, great, large.

Bay and cliffs are abstracted in warm, summer colors echoing and enhancing the architecture’s curved, wood ceiling, wave-patterned carpet, and wall hues.

The silk undulates in air currents as people pass through the doorway below it.

Kachemak Bay is deep and full - a place of to explore and discover. KBC likewise is a place to connect, investigate and to discover.

installed in bayview hall

Even the pattern of the carpet relates visually to the waves in Discovery.

Discovery - detail above


discovery in the studio

Discovery - in the studio before installation

the process

Here are a few snapshots of the process of creating the commissioned work entitled "discovery." The commission process began with my proposed concept sketch and description reviewed by an art committee for KBC. I was pleased to hear that I was selected to contract to create artwork in silk.


A more-refined design was requested. Here are a few studies.

and a variation below has added sub-marine rock cliff...

The committee was attracted to the more abstract compositions with strong movement and line.

This design was selected understanding that the dyes will migrate and create unexpected coloration and abstract pattern within the design.

the site

The artwork is to hang on a highly visible wall directly facing the main entry of new Bayview Hall.

The samples in the photo below are the architect's designed wall colors. Having these color swatches helps ensure my design will not clash with the site space. Instead, I will incorporate the architectural colors into my design and then add and exaggerate colors that are harmonious to enhance the room. Some colors will intentionally contrast so the artwork will be distinct.

One classic color was no longer available as a swatch in stores but the color-recipe is always on hand, so I had a sample quart made to order. That way I can make a larger swatch. 

color studies for discovery

Only the most light-fast colors will be used in this public art commission. Even though it will be displayed out of direct sunlight, every effort is made to make the most enduring artwork. Royal blue, sapphire, and night blue were used in lieu of cyan (which is more likely to fade over many years). Mixing with different blues creates rich, deep hues - some happy discoveries in color.

They may resemble children's scribbles, but these color studies are essential reference tools showing me which dyes will mix to create hues in the palette of architectural colors - and which form nice compliments and accents.

An amazing aspect of silk is that even "muddy" colors look (quite) beautiful in silk. The luster and sheen of silk brings the colors to life somehow.




Click here to see more silk commissions.