Chelsea Jones Horn-Gold Low

This week’s First Friday reception at the Snow City Café marks the first Anchorage show for Homer-based painter Chelsea Horn.

She simply couldn’t be more thrilled and well, yes, also just a touch bit nervous.

“I am excited to be moving my artwork up the road, so to speak,” Horn said with a jesting reference to the Seward and Sterling Highways. “To get some pieces out of Homer for a bit is a huge blessing. It’s not that easy for me to get up to Anchorage a lot.”

Horn’s show titled, “Transitions,” is planned to feature 20 of her paintings. It is aptly named as the mid-30’s artist is, herself, undergoing changes in terms of her artistic focus. Approximately half of the show originates from the first year or so after she began to seriously pursue a career as a professional artist. The remainder features creations from within the more recent few months as Horn began re-evaluating how her artwork could more intentionally express her concerns that Alaska fish and water remain a clean resource readily available to Alaskans.

Horn, who has been painting on a professional level for three years, is in the midst of combining her love of the Kachemak Bay and its pristine water and abundant salmon with her professional work. She’s been sketching it since her childhood, working on the water taxi her family runs between Homer and the Alaska Peninsula. When Horn turned 30, the encouragement of family and friends worked like a riptide pulling her into a sea of professional discovery as the owners of Homer-based galleries took interest in her style.

Her early pieces present more than just a hint of her substantial ties to the water and its occupants which surround Homer. They feature the swirls of ocean waves and the surfacing of its creatures that live beneath the water’s surface, as well as the scenes of beaches and docks.

Last summer, salmon became the dominant theme of her work.

“I am a fisherman, my kids eat a lot of salmon and I have a lot of respect for that part of the Alaskan lifestyle,” Horn said, noting she considers the Pebble Mine proposal and other mining activities to be a threat to that. “So, now I am really focusing on our fishing lifestyle and making a statement of support for that through my art.”

Her “Transitions” show on display for all of January showcases several salmon-themed pieces. It is, in part, a testing ground for the new direction Horn is taking with her painting.

She’s getting ready to become much more vocal in her support of clean water and salmon protection. She’s already scheduled a Homer-based show at the KBay Café to coincide with Salmonfest in August just up the road in Ninilchik. It will be all about the salmon – large detailed images of several species most likely cast up against Horn’s depiction of the movement of ocean and river water.

“I am excited to be changing my style up a bit and to challenge myself to do something is a bit more difficult,” Horn said. “I am teaching myself how to paint all the time.”

She isn’t kidding.

She’s had no formal art education – just on-the-job training as she takes the images of what she sees while fishing and running the water taxi from her mind to the canvas.

Portraying movement is a priority for Horn.

“It’s how nature works,” she said.

While Horn is changing up the type of paintings she produces, she is also maturing as a businesswoman.

She realized that with three kids and a burgeoning artistic career, she couldn’t keep up with marketing.

A couple months ago, she hired an agent and that move has made an enormous difference in raising awareness of Horn’s artwork.

Her agent connected Horn with a photographer who is preparing mass-produced prints for the summer’s tourist season.

Horn is again thrilled.

She knows that not everyone can afford a $4,000 painting that comes at the expense of $800 of paint and 200 hours of her time, but lots of folks can afford a print, she said. The prints will open the door for her artwork to be enjoyed by so many others, she said. Her website now offers online ordering.

Horn is scheduled to be at the Snow City Friday for the evening reception.

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