Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion) Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

‘I want them to see what I see, how I see it’

Ninilchik artist expresses love for Alaska through work

In the Kenai Art Center’s front gallery this month, an exhibition of paintings will share a glimpse of Alaska as seen by artist Robert Clayton.

“What they’re going to see is that I love Alaska,” Clayton said Thursday.

Clayton came to Alaska with the military around 20 years ago, planning to stay for three. He said he’s “awed” by Alaska, that he loves to be outside and that he’s driven to portray the state in his artwork.

An architect by trade, Clayton said drawing, painting and creating pictures comes naturally. He began working with watercolors a few years before coming to Alaska, and then his career as an artist started in earnest when he entered three pieces to a show in Fairbanks at the New Horizons Gallery. They sold the first night, and the curator said they wanted more.

Now, Clayton is retired and living in Ninilchik, but still paints — he would even if he weren’t selling work.

“I just like to paint,” he said.

Fine art can evoke an emotion or a smile; Clayton says he enjoys sharing that with people.

At the Kenai Art Center this month, around 20 works by Clayton fill the walls, depicting Alaska wildlife and vistas, spruce trees, moose and mountains.

Clayton described his style as being representational — he paints what he sees without abstraction. What he sees in nature is personality and detail, something he’s trying to share.

The hope is, he said, that looking into one of his paintings is like looking into a window — feeling the awe and the detail — instead of looking at a picture.

“I want them to see what I see, how I see it,” he said. “That may be different from how they see it.”

An opening reception will be held for the exhibition at the Kenai Art Center on Friday night, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be live music, refreshments, and Clayton will deliver a brief artist’s talk and take questions from attendees.

For more information about Clayton’s show or other upcoming exhibitions, visit kenaiartcenter.com or find “Kenai Art Center” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion) Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion) Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion) Artwork by Robert Clayton is displayed at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Robert Clayton paints. (Photo provided by Robert Clayton)

Robert Clayton paints. (Photo provided by Robert Clayton)

Robert Clayton displays a portrait of a bear. (Photo provided by Robert Clayton)

Robert Clayton displays a portrait of a bear. (Photo provided by Robert Clayton)

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