Artist, author, and Alaska sport fishing guide Bob White helped launch the artist-in-residence program at Bristol Bay Lodge on Aleknagik Lake near Dillingham. It was an easy decision—he pondered aloud to his friend and owner of the backcountry escape, Steve Laurent, how fun it would be to combine fly fishing and the arts in an Alaska setting. Laurent’s answer? “Why not? Let’s do it!” That was in 2009; since then, White has joined numerous other writers and artists as well as photographers and musicians at the lodge in support of the arts.
About the rewards of creating art, White says, “When a viewer or reader experiences my work and comments, ‘I’ve been there, I know how that feels,’ then I know I’ve gotten it right.”
White learned hands-on guiding skills from a sourdough named Rusty who taught him all he needed to know about boats, engines, tools, and repairs. He recalls Rusty saying that catching fish was usually the easiest part of the job.
White came to the art world as a way of exploration—of life and of the world. In addition to Alaska, he’s spent plenty of time in Patagonia and Argentina. He was artist of the year for the Alaska State Parks Foundation, and his work has been published in national outdoor sporting magazines.
One of White’s favorite memories is of landing on a remote lake in western Alaska and walking above the tree line with his bird dog while hunting ptarmigan. “There’s something very freeing about walking with the wind in your face for hours on end, with no fences to cross, no permissions to ask.”
See more of Bob’s work at bobwhitestudio.com. —Susan Sommer