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Artist JoAnn George, an Angoon resident since 1967, will be the guest of honor at the Hale Ski Foundation's 2005 benefit reception, 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Hangar Ballroom in Merchants Wharf. Admission and a print is $80.
The foundation, named in honor of John and Deena Hale, raises proceeds to help encourage youth participation at Eaglecrest Ski Area. Each year, it sells limited-edition prints of a specially commissioned artwork.
The board asked George to paint Bear Trap, a short black-diamond run halfway up the mountain that connects Super G to Logjam.
"I was going to do the typical winter scene, and then I met with the board and they wanted something a little different this year," George said. "We tossed around ideas about fall scenes and people picking berries. I thought it would be cool to have a bear in there."
George and board member Rosemary Gute-Gruening hiked to Bear Trap in the off-season. George took photos, while Gute-Gruening picked berries.
"We kind of bushwhacked up there," George said. "There were a lot of bushes, falling down logs. They call it the Bear Trap because of all the berries, and when I first did it, I hoped they wouldn't think I was showing a picture of a bear in a trap. The idea was to show bears up here picking berries, because it was such a nice, attractive place for bears to go. I tried to put Stroller White Mountain way in the background, so it would make it a little more identifiable."
The Bear Trap original is an oil painting. The prints are about 9-by-17 inches and cost $80. They may be reserved and viewed at Hearthside Books, Nugget Alaskan Outfitters, Foggy Mountain Shop or through any foundation board member. Call 586-1982 for more information.
George was born and raised in New Hampshire and moved to Angoon in 1967 to teach. She has been painting for most of her life and seriously for the last 15 years. Rie Muñoz published her prints in the early 1980s. These days, George's prints and cards are distributed by Taku Graphics. She has work at Southeast Artworks in the Nugget Mall and at Annie Kaill's on Front Street.
George was commissioned in 1987 to create a limited-edition print for Sea World of San Diego's new killer whale stadium. She won an excellence award from the National Parks and Monuments Association in 1979 for her illustrations in "Carved History," a book on totem poles and house posts in Sitka National Historical Park. She's done watercolors, pen-and-ink drawings and etchings, and in the last few years she's expanded into oil paintings, such as "Bear Trap."
In years past, the Hale Foundation has sold prints by Muñoz, John Fehringer, Byron Birdsall, Herb Bonnet, Ed Mills, Sharron Lobaugh and Nancy Taylor Stonington.