Last Sunday was, according to the Weather Service, the coldest June day in Fairbanks in 113 years. Snow filled the air off and on all that day. An artist friend and her husband who are organic farmers on the outskirts of town lost hundreds of plants when the heater in their greenhouse gave out that night, with the temperature in the teens. Another artist friend and her family in Banner Creek, north of Nome, lost all of the plants in their freshly planted garden, and the four newly hatched baby robins under their deck died in the cold. The Dalton Highway is closed today at Atigun Pass, due to blowing and drifting snow.
It's colder than is usual this time of year, but winter never gives in easily. My friend Glen Simpson and I drove back from a successful fishing trip to Chitina one bright night years ago on June 21, the summer solstice, through a snowstorm that dropped half a foot of snow on us between Paxson and Trims on the Richardson Highway.
It's still spring in Alaska, and the battle with winter isn't over. I love that drama, and I've tried in this new painting, as in the last two, to capture some of the character of that annual contest--the flanks of the mountains dark with newly uncovered ground, while the snow falls hard and fast in the surreal midnight light of June.