Arts & Culture

Shane Lamb

Written by
Shane Lamb

Main Photo: Great Land Passage

One of my favorite places on earth is the Jim Creek river basin. Three years ago I found an active eagles’ nest in the area. The area is rich with waterfowl and fish, both of which eagles love to eat. The nest was miles out beyond shallow swamps and rivers, and it was all I could do to access the spot a few times with my little boat and a lot of effort. Eagles know what they are doing, building out in the middle of nowhere and nesting at the tops of the tallest trees; they like to be alone. That year the parents raised three eaglets to maturity—a rare feat. 

The next year when I went back to check on the nest, it was completely gone—blown away in a severe winter storm. I didn’t see the eagles that year. However, early last winter I noticed through my binoculars that the tree that once held the grand nest looked like it had a few branches back in the previous nest site. I didn’t see the tree again until late April of this year when, with much anticipation, I looked, and this time, the nest was back and so were my eagles!

After purchasing a better boat made for shallow water, I set up a blind in the area, and have since spent many hours on multiple trips this year watching the eagles sit on the nest and raise their young. For me, this is one of the things that makes life worth living, to be able to witness the regeneration of nature in all of its grandeur. 

Experiences like this are the backbone for my work. The photographs I take out in the field provide the reference material I need to paint with the kind of detail and accuracy I put into every painting. All of this is done before I ever pick up a paint brush.

Experiences like this are the backbone for my work.

Twenty-five years ago I was half as old as I am now. I had just graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I bought an old moving truck and my wife, Erin, and I threw everything we had in it (except our first born child who grandma flew up later). It was mid-April and we headed north to Alaska across the icy roads of the Alcan Highway. I was moving back to my childhood home of Palmer, Alaska to pursue my ambition of making a living as an artist painting the Last Frontier. This was my dream ever since I was a child. I was the kid whose art was pulled out and flaunted by their parents every time the family had guests over. The kid who spent more time doodling cars on his math homework than practicing arithmetic. 

Polychrome Pass Rams

Finding myself back in Alaska and facing the mountain of my ambitions, I remembered wanting desperately to become skilled enough to sell my work to one of the most prominent galleries in Anchorage. I worked on two wildlife paintings for months to prepare to show them my work and get my foot in the door. At the appointed time, I met with the manager at their main gallery on 6th Avenue. Other artists warned me that this woman was a “tough sell.” Before long, I felt like I was being run through a shredder. She told me everything wrong with the paintings, and made me feel like I was lucky to be offered anything at all. In spite of the fact that I had spent a considerable amount of money framing the large paintings, I somehow felt fortunate that she was willing to purchase them, which she did, for the price of $350 each. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad! I came to realize why they say creating artwork can be a “labor of love.”

Three years ago, after painting for over 22 years and becoming the owner of two art galleries of my own, I decided to take a break from painting and focus on how to really use my camera. I needed professional quality pictures to capture the best possible reference material for my paintings. I began to invest in top-of-the-line equipment and intensely study photography. During this process I released a photography line, and to my surprise, this work appealed to a whole new audience that I had not reached previously with my paintings. I was killing two birds with one stone: acquiring the great reference material I needed to do my artwork, and reaching a new audience with beautiful photographs.  

While focusing on this line, I have been rewarded with unexpected success and have enjoyed every aspect of learning the intricacies of photography. Nothing beats the experience of being out in nature within 100 feet of the largest bull moose you’ve ever seen, or seeing a father loon feed day-old babies while they ride on the back of their mother, or watching bald eagles build a nest and raise their young over a summer. My work has become about capturing the beautiful things of Alaska and sharing it with others. Whether the experience becomes a beautiful painting or remains an amazing photograph is not important.

It has now been 25 years of working to make my living as a full-time artist. I am coming full circle and returning to painting by creating a piece from my experiences this spring with the Bald Eagles of Jim Creek.

It is a rare combination of elements that works towards an artist’s success or failure and after all that we can do, fate often decides. What will the next 25 years hold? I don’t know, but I realize how fortunate I have been to have realized the dream thus far in the journey. 


Shane Lamb lives in his hometown of Palmer, Alaska. His original paintings and prints of art and photography, can be found in galleries and private collections throughout Alaska and the United States. For a complete selection, visit Shane Lamb Gallery in Palmer, Three Bears Gallery of Denali Park or www.shanelamb.com

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Shane Lamb

Arts & Culture

Author

Shane Lamb

Over the past 25 years Shane Lamb has become one of Alaska’s top artists and photographers.

Shane received his formal art training from Brigham Young University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1990. Since then he has dedicated his professional life to the Alaska he knows, drawing inspiration from the land he considers one of Nature’s most beautiful.  His works are the culmination of many hours spent in the field studying and experiencing each subject.

Main Photo: Great Land Passage

One of my favorite places on earth is the Jim Creek river basin. Three years ago I found an active eagles’ nest in the area. The area is rich with waterfowl and fish, both of which eagles love to eat. The nest was miles out beyond shallow swamps and rivers, and it was all I could do to access the spot a few times with my little boat and a lot of effort. Eagles know what they are doing, building out in the middle of nowhere and nesting at the tops of the tallest trees; they like to be alone. That year the parents raised three eaglets to maturity—a rare feat. 

The next year when I went back to check on the nest, it was completely gone—blown away in a severe winter storm. I didn’t see the eagles that year. However, early last winter I noticed through my binoculars that the tree that once held the grand nest looked like it had a few branches back in the previous nest site. I didn’t see the tree again until late April of this year when, with much anticipation, I looked, and this time, the nest was back and so were my eagles!

After purchasing a better boat made for shallow water, I set up a blind in the area, and have since spent many hours on multiple trips this year watching the eagles sit on the nest and raise their young. For me, this is one of the things that makes life worth living, to be able to witness the regeneration of nature in all of its grandeur. 

Experiences like this are the backbone for my work. The photographs I take out in the field provide the reference material I need to paint with the kind of detail and accuracy I put into every painting. All of this is done before I ever pick up a paint brush.

Experiences like this are the backbone for my work.

Twenty-five years ago I was half as old as I am now. I had just graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I bought an old moving truck and my wife, Erin, and I threw everything we had in it (except our first born child who grandma flew up later). It was mid-April and we headed north to Alaska across the icy roads of the Alcan Highway. I was moving back to my childhood home of Palmer, Alaska to pursue my ambition of making a living as an artist painting the Last Frontier. This was my dream ever since I was a child. I was the kid whose art was pulled out and flaunted by their parents every time the family had guests over. The kid who spent more time doodling cars on his math homework than practicing arithmetic. 

Polychrome Pass Rams

Finding myself back in Alaska and facing the mountain of my ambitions, I remembered wanting desperately to become skilled enough to sell my work to one of the most prominent galleries in Anchorage. I worked on two wildlife paintings for months to prepare to show them my work and get my foot in the door. At the appointed time, I met with the manager at their main gallery on 6th Avenue. Other artists warned me that this woman was a “tough sell.” Before long, I felt like I was being run through a shredder. She told me everything wrong with the paintings, and made me feel like I was lucky to be offered anything at all. In spite of the fact that I had spent a considerable amount of money framing the large paintings, I somehow felt fortunate that she was willing to purchase them, which she did, for the price of $350 each. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad! I came to realize why they say creating artwork can be a “labor of love.”

Three years ago, after painting for over 22 years and becoming the owner of two art galleries of my own, I decided to take a break from painting and focus on how to really use my camera. I needed professional quality pictures to capture the best possible reference material for my paintings. I began to invest in top-of-the-line equipment and intensely study photography. During this process I released a photography line, and to my surprise, this work appealed to a whole new audience that I had not reached previously with my paintings. I was killing two birds with one stone: acquiring the great reference material I needed to do my artwork, and reaching a new audience with beautiful photographs.  

While focusing on this line, I have been rewarded with unexpected success and have enjoyed every aspect of learning the intricacies of photography. Nothing beats the experience of being out in nature within 100 feet of the largest bull moose you’ve ever seen, or seeing a father loon feed day-old babies while they ride on the back of their mother, or watching bald eagles build a nest and raise their young over a summer. My work has become about capturing the beautiful things of Alaska and sharing it with others. Whether the experience becomes a beautiful painting or remains an amazing photograph is not important.

It has now been 25 years of working to make my living as a full-time artist. I am coming full circle and returning to painting by creating a piece from my experiences this spring with the Bald Eagles of Jim Creek.

It is a rare combination of elements that works towards an artist’s success or failure and after all that we can do, fate often decides. What will the next 25 years hold? I don’t know, but I realize how fortunate I have been to have realized the dream thus far in the journey. 


Shane Lamb lives in his hometown of Palmer, Alaska. His original paintings and prints of art and photography, can be found in galleries and private collections throughout Alaska and the United States. For a complete selection, visit Shane Lamb Gallery in Palmer, Three Bears Gallery of Denali Park or www.shanelamb.com

No items found.

Author

Shane Lamb

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