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alaskan stilt houses

Here's the next installment of my posts about Alaska. The houses in Seldovia have a lot of character, often a bit ramshackle looking, but sitting on stilts that can withstand tides and flooding. Here's a drawing I made of two of the houses along the wooden boardwalk:

My uncle's family has a cottage on the slough, the light green one here in the foreground:

Stuart and I sat on a rock across the slough at low tide and drew the row of houses. Here's his picture, which came out amazingly well, considering he hardly ever draws:

And mine:

Here's a photo of the guys on the deck, after my uncle (on the right) pulled out a bunch of maps of the area. We like maps.

The house on the other end of the row has been turned into a book and coffee shop since our last visit about nine years ago:

It's run by John Fenski, and is lovely cosy inside.

More stilt house photos:

(That's Lyle the otter in front.)

Here's my aunt peeking out from the kitchen:

And my uncle and my dad by the wood stove.

My uncle is Japanese Hawaiian, and his Japanese dad, Wataru, bought the cottage after the war and spent every summer in Seldovia. He got on well with the other people in the town, so everyone knew who we were and were very friendly. It was funny walking in to shops and overhearing conversations among the customers, with Wataru's name popping up to identify us.



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
Holy cow, what a beautiful place!! That looks like the coziest bookstore in the world, and the customers in your photo look pretty happy to be there (I would too). Love the inkwash trees in your drawing.

Hey, this tale of attempted art theft came up on the Stranger's blog the other day-- isn't that an, uh, artist of your acquaintance?
Jul. 11th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness, I hadn't seen that yet! Someone tried to steal my sister's painting... I don't blame them for wanting it, but ... jeez!
Jul. 11th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
I really love the first drawing of the houses! These kinds of buildings are always interesting for their details. I like the small pieces that make the greater whole; the shingles, bricks, support beams.
Jul. 11th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
Thanks! The house had a lot of fun detail, I wish I'd had another week just to draw!
Jul. 11th, 2009 09:28 am (UTC)
i'm really enjoying seeing all these fab sketches and photos, sarah -- what a gorgeous place! i used to love that *northern exposure* show, set in alaska..
Jul. 11th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
I can't believe I never even saw that show. I think it was supposed to be in Talkeetna, where we stayed for a couple days on our last visit, and filmed in Rosalyn, Washington, which is near a campground where I've camped with my sister and the Blue Moon crew. Rosalyn had a great bar but my sister said something about it being shut down, which is sad. She totally impressed/horrified my dad the first time she took him there and everyone in the bar knew who she was.
Jul. 11th, 2009 10:50 am (UTC)
oh my goodness!!!

this trip looks like a DREAM, glad you had a good time! I love those drawin's, all these pictures are wonderful. that slanted house edge!! that garage-y looking one with the purple door!
Jul. 11th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Dave! Yeah, I really liked that boat house, too, it had this sort of abstract colour field thing going, with texture.
Hey, I'm so looking forward to your book!
Jul. 11th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
Beautiful houses and fantastic drawings! It looks so idyllic; I'd be quite happy to live somewhere like that for the rest of my life!

Jul. 11th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
It IS idyllic! I think I'd want to live there, say, eight months out of the year, but then have some time in a big city so I could do more than catch fish. Actually, I was trying to work out if I could support myself making cards and tourist gifty stuff for the Herring Bay Mercantile shop there. Tempting. Winters are a bear, though.
Jul. 11th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
Holy crap that place looks beautiful! I think some of your drawing skill is rubbing off on Stuart. His drawing is great!
Jul. 11th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
I think he was pretty chuffed with it, too! He hates to say something he does is good, because he thinks it makes him sound like he has a big head, but he was verging on remarking that this one wasn't so bad, which is saying something.
I read him your comment and he gave a very delighted giggle... :-D
Jul. 11th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Hey, Stuart's standing here ironing and asking me to say this:

It gave me a better appreciation of how much work is involved, and concentration required to make a drawing. It drove me crazy drawing all the stilts.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 11th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
I agree! Buckingham Palace would look far less heavy if it was raised up ten feet. ;-)
Jul. 12th, 2009 10:46 am (UTC)
Wow that place looks awesome and I love your illustrations. Makes me think that living there could get very creepy in thick fog.
Jul. 12th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
You are so right, it could look creepy! Actually, the first time we visited, we were socked in with fog the whole time, so we were surprised to have brilliant sunshine this whole trip. Actually, most of the time, in the fog, it just looked kind of mellow, not creepy. But my uncle did take his boat straight into the mist once, and we wondered if we'd ever see him again.
Jul. 12th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
You should join Lou, Emma and I when we do a 12 hour comic the theme is ghosts and THis would be a cool setting. Were planning to all join up and drawing them together.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 12th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Amazing!
Aw man, thanks! It means a lot, coming from you! I often think of your 'draw comics every day' slogan, and I don't always manage a comic, but I try to do at least a picture.

I was so amazed the first time I went back to your first HMM comic and started scrolling through and seeing how much you improved by just plugging away at it. THAT was really inspiring!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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