Painting of a fishing boat named Milo plying waters in front of aleutian islands, painting is on a map of Alaska Peninsula and Kenai Peninsula along southern Alaska coast
While painting the Milo surf and ski boat for Alaska Surf Guides, I employed a more transparent effect than I typically do. I used a lot more watercolor, instead of acrylic, for the background, because I wanted the chart to show through and be easily read. Alaska Surf Guides does trips all the way from the Shumagin Islands in the Aleutians to Kayak Island just outside Prince William Sound, so it was important that those areas were visible. While vacationing on the Milo, I felt like I was living in a dream. The entire crew was so accommodating and the adventures incredible. Doing this painting helped me to relive some of my favorite vacation memories aboard the boat. Also, the two people sitting on the back of the boat in this painting are me and my best friend. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.

Marcelle Foxley Roemmich grew up in the Matanuska Valley in Palmer. Though she started life nestled in the mountains of that valley, she has always loved the ocean. As a child, she traveled to southeast Alaska every summer, where she would spend her days on the ocean: swimming in the frigid seawater, pulling up crab pots, exploring small islands from a skiff, and discovering the diverse marine creatures living in the tidal pools. The awe-inspiring, adventurous summers on Admiralty Island formed her identity and inspired the aesthetics for her art.

Mermaid, fireweed, lupin, seastars, puffins, bald eagle, and humpback whale's tail painted on a coastal map of Cape Resurrection to Two Arm Bay on the Kenai Peninsula.
Siren Scene: This was commissioned by someone who fell in love with all things Alaskan. He loved mermaids and wanted the painting to represent all the things he experienced here that made him fall in love with this awesome-beyond-words place. Nothing says Alaska more than fireweed, so naturally that needed to be included. While narrating on the boats, I always say, “The forget-me-not is Alaska’s state flower, but the fireweed is Alaskans’ favorite flower.” You see a lot more fireweed tattooed onto Alaskans than ones inked with the forget-me-not. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.
polar bears painted over map of ANWR and river
Arctic Family: I chose to paint this polar bear family on a topographic map of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, to bring to light the fact that what we do as humans in this area affects the lives and habitat of the wildlife that live there. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.
A red octopus is painted over a coastal map. Blue hummingbird lightly painted on map key in upper left.
Giant Pacific Octopus: This painting was commissioned by a dear friend who had recently lost her mother. If you look closely, I have paid homage to her mother by including a simple little hummingbird in the upper left-hand corner—a symbol for her mother. Even though this is probably my most popular print, very few people realize there is a hummingbird hidden in it. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.

As she grew older, her love for the Alaskan waters progressed. She landed her first job as a deckhand in the quirky, yet quaint, little town of Whittier. Though she left for Montana State University to pursue a degree in art education during the winter months, she returned to Whittier each summer to work on boats. In 2014, she achieved her status as a boat captain. Ever since, she has worked captaining vessels each summer, including for Major Marine Tours on Resurrection Bay in Seward, and taking winter sabbaticals to focus on creating her art.

floatplane painted over coastal map along the Gulf of Alaska
Alaska Bush Plane: I wanted to paint a Beaver because when I was a child, our whole family used to fly to Funter Bay on Admiralty Island in De Havilland Beavers and Otters with Ward Air of Juneau. I enjoy flying; takeoff and landing are so exhilarating, especially in a small aircraft. Each time we took-off, I’d get butterflies in my stomach. I loved both the fear and the excitement. The pilots were skilled and on a first-name basis with my grandparents and their neighbors. These floatplanes were their connection to the mainland and life outside of Admiralty Island. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.
a horned puffin painted on map of Aleutian islands
Horned Puffin: Working on the water, I have learned that besides orcas, puffins are the next animal that everyone wants to see. These little birds are so striking and have such colorful summer plumage. A group of puffins, aptly named a “circus,” brings me so much joy as they come lumbering and fluttering past the boat or perch along the cliffs at Emerald Cove. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.
Painting of Pioneer Peak and the Butte, river in the foreground. Peak of the painted mountain is near the label for Pioneer Peak on a topographical map.
Pioneer Peak: Pioneer Peak has always been my favorite mountain. I grew up at the base of it nestled near another familiar landmark: the Butte. You can see the Butte in the middle of this painting, which I created on a topographic map. The river that courses along the Matanuska Valley is the Matanuska River. When I was in middle school, the river began dangerously eroding the bank, threatening the roads and homes. We cut our home off its foundation and relocated six miles away to higher ground. I have always been so impressed by the sheer size and symmetry of Pioneer Peak. Last year I finally hiked all the way to its summit and painted this shortly after. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.

Her grandfather, a commercial fisherman, left a large stack of nautical charts in the rafters of a shed on his property on Admiralty Island, just outside of Juneau. Marcelle’s uncle, a commercial fisherman himself, gifted her these antiques. She immediately thought, “What better to do with unique, weathered charts then paint on them?” She was captivated with exploring numerous artistic techniques to portray different marine and terrestrial species, as well as planes, on nautical and aeronautical charts and topographical maps. She now has an extensive collection of charts and maps from throughout Alaska given to her from various people pleased to get rid of “old clutter.” Typically, she paints marine life, animals, boats, or planes geographically specific to her charts. To see more of Marcelle’s art, visit mfoxleyart.com.

painting of orca leaping out of water over a map of Alaska coastline
Chiswell Island Orca: Working on the water in Resurrection Bay and beyond has been such an incredible experience. Without a doubt the most magical creatures I get to see are the orcas. These apex predators are astounding to watch. The more you learn about their matriarchal society, the more fascinating they are to witness in the wild. We have a lot we could learn from this largest member of the dolphin family. They are captivating, intelligent, loyal, and have strong family ties. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.
A dungeness crab painted on a map of coastal Alaska
Dungeness: Pulling up Dungeness crab pots are some of my most favorite childhood memories. I’m not sure which activities I enjoyed most: riding around in the skiff, pulling up a pot praying for a bountiful load, learning to shell them, or enjoying the delicious feast with the family later that night. I chose to paint a Dungeness on a Kachemak Bay chart because a lot of people don’t realize that Dungeness and king crab were plentiful here through the 1970s. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.
Tail of a diving humpback whale painted over a map of Gastineau Channel. Whale is diving as if headed toward viewer.
Flame’s Fluke: Flame is a humpback whale that plies the waters of southeast Alaska during the summer months. She’s a local favorite. The painting was commissioned by a friend’s father. This friend of mine spent many years with me working in Prince William Sound where I learned to be a deckhand and later to become a captain. He helped me discover what it meant to work on the water and, that if you love something enough, you begin to form a bond with that inanimate object: the boat on which you work. You learn to trust her and to feel ownership and responsibility in keeping care of her. My friend moved to Juneau where he captained whale-watching boats. Flame is his favorite whale he sees year after year. By Marcelle Foxley Roemmich.

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