Russian Far East
2012: Artist-in-Residence for 3 journeys with Heritage Expeditions:
Alison was privileged to join Heritage Expeditions as artist-in-residence on 3 of their voyages in the Russian Far East during the summer of 2012. These journeys were an exciting opportunity to share her passion for the Russian Far East and to enhance fellow passengers’ powers of observation. Depending on the weather – the bar or the deck served as an impromptu art-room and when ashore – there was always an inspiring vista, people or animals to stimulate all with their sketching and drawing exercises. Alison participated in Heritage Expeditions’ highly acclaimed on-board lecture series and supervised and worked with passengers on shore. While observing and drawing – there were always lively discussions and she was particularly drawn to the many keen birders who were impressed by the way in which drawing complemented their photography. As kindred spirits – this led to several commissions and purchases of art with bird-related themes. For purchase of prints with themes from Russian Far East – please see Contact/Sales.
The Russian Far East is a tremendous source of artistic stimulation, with its dramatic landscapes, flora, fauna and friendly people. The soaring Kamchatka volcanoes and coastline, uninhabited Kuril Islands, abundant Stellar sea-lions, otters and bird-life, the spectacular and remote Nature Reserve of the Commander Islands, the extraordinary rock formations of the Shantar and Yamskiye Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk and finally, Anadyr City – modern capital of the Chukotka tundra – also the breeding grounds of the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper ….The contrasts in topography, wildlife, people and atmosphere are striking and inspiring to photgraphers and artists alike!
2009: 3 travels included:
A memorable journey in 2009 with Heritage Expeditions that began in Petropavlovsk-Kamchtka (PK), via Commander and Kuril Islands, Wrangel Island – and ended in Anadyr, Chukotka. An unexpected opportunity to explore by boat the Anadyr River enabled 5 of us to glide through the most awe-inspiring, pristine wilderness for 10 days… to revel in the unique character of the tundra fauna, flora and migrating species of birds, as well as the constant changing light and colour….We met the friendliest Chukchi and Evenki people in their isolated “yarangas” and villages where we enjoyed the most extraordinary hospitality and generosity. Surprisingly – we discovered that we were the first non-Russian visitors to those remote villages and yarangas – only accessible by helicopter or by boat. Lack of transport between villages seemed a real challenge for the scattered population of Chukotka .
Furthermore, as we proceeded up the Anadyr river – we were concerned by the rusting detritus/environmental degradation (from the Soviet era) in certain settlements of this fragile, tundra region. Another concern was also the fragility of the Chukchi language and how the cultural identity of this ethnic minority seemed to be teetering on the edge…
Long may our Chukchi and Evenki friends prosper and flourish in their unique and fragile environment…!