Artist connects with father’s memory through painting

“Reflections of the Seasons” by Danielle Larsen, painting in oil. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Larsen)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository is building up its permanent collection with modern art.

The museum recently acquired a new painting through a Museums Alaska grant. The artist, Danielle Larsen, lives in Anchorage and her piece, Reflections of the Seasons, shows a selection of canned salmon in small containers.

Larsen says it’s a personal testament to her father, who passed away.

“He used to jar salmon, and I started painting ‘em.”

Her father was “selectively generous” when it came to the hobby.

“He was very stingy with his salmon. His jarred salmon. Every time he would come over he would give me a jar of salmon, and he did that with anybody who came and visited with him. He would give ‘em one. One jar of salmon.”

Larsen says her father used to be a fisherman, but he also earned his degree in civil engineering and owned his own business in Anchorage.

Later in life, he would get all his salmon from friends in King Cove, where he grew up.

Larsen remembers her father fondly. She says he had a tendency to say exactly what was on his mind.

“He always had a really strong presence in any room that he came in. He had strong ideas and opinions, but also he had a more gentle side, a very caring side.”

Larsen says her father’s passing served as an extra push for her to prioritize her values, and it led her to enroll in fine arts at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She says she paints a number of different subjects, including birds and landscapes, and many of the themes are personal.

According to an Alutiiq Museum press release, Larsen’s painting is one of 131 pieces the museum has purchased so far through the Museums Alaska Art Acquisition Fund.

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