Having developed both a passion and a talent for sketching and drawing as a young child, Sandy Jamieson has been creating art in one form or another for his entire life. Departing from Great Falls, Montana, he set out for Alaska the day after high school graduation in 1962. Quite by chance, Sandy happened into a job with the U.S. Geological Survey that took him into places in the state only reachable by air. That, coupled with his father’s stories from his days as search-and-rescue pilot in Alaska and Canada during WWII, led him into the world of guiding and furthered his passion for aviation, both of which strongly influence his art.
"Everything I do starts with a pencil."
Starting with a pencil sketch, Sandy creates whimsical, often comical, interpretations of Alaskan lifestyles, commonly juxtaposing wildlife with very human surroundings. Being intimately acquainted with the native wildlife from his many years as a guide has given him the unique ability to create fanciful scenes in which animals appear quite lifelike despite their unorthodox settings.
To bring these compositions to life, he uses a technique that involves preparing a surface with several layers of gesso, which can later be scratched to reveal highlights in the image. This is followed by an underpainting in egg tempera and finally oil paint.
Sandy finds inspiration all around him, especially on the fringes of life. He focuses on gritty subjects - people and animals whose coats are a bit worn down, planes past their primes, and cars with more miles behind than in front of them. While the finished scenes are products of an active imagination, there’s a healthy dose of realism that brings authenticity to the work, a consequence of more than 50 years spent in Alaska in the company of his subjects. As one critic said, “it’s art work with some hair on it!”
Beyond his creative pursuits, Sandy is a working guide, bush pilot, and reader of history who resides in a beautiful log home near Ester, Alaska with his wife Melody.
Fishing: I stopped commercial fishing about 2009. As time allows I take family and friends fishing to my favorite lakes and streams. I don't guide fishing trips.
Flying: I am flying my Cessna 170 on floats in support of Guided Hunting and Photography. I also fly to collect reference material for Artwork.
Guided Hunting Trips: During hunting season I am active in late August through September in the Arctic-and Yukon Flats Wildlife Refuges in Northeast Alaska.
Building: What interests me in particular is the restoration of historic log buildings. The most recent projects that I have been involved in are the Black Rapids Roadhouse in the Alaska Range, the Dunkle Street cabin down town Fairbanks and the Russian Log Fort near UA Museum of the North. I enjoy spending some part of the building season on any given project. There is always work to be done on my log home and other similar structures.