Birdsall, watercolor painter of Alaska scenes, dies

  • Monday, December 5, 2016 9:19pm
  • News

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Byron Birdsall, a prolific painter who spent decades capturing Alaska scenes in watercolors, has died. He was 78.

Birdsall died Sunday, his stepdaughter, Pamela Bell, confirmed Monday from Whidbey Island, Washington. Further details were not immediately available.

Birdsall was born on Dec. 18, 1937, in Arizona, and raised in California. He moved to Alaska in 1975 and became a self-taught painter, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/2g2YhG0) reported.

Birdsall turned many of his watercolors into prints that could be found in galleries throughout Alaska.

A biography of Birdsall at Annie Kaill’s Fine Art & Graft Gallery in Juneau noted that he was known for the variety of his landscapes and his use of light while depicting life in the north.

Birdsall painted florals, still-life images and historic scenes, including work that commemorated Anchorage’s centennial. He also painted scenes from travels around the world.

Gallery owner Tennys Owens of Artique Ltd. in Anchorage told the newspaper she worked with Birdsall for 30 years and considered him a friend.

“He was a wonderful man to work with,” Owens said. “His quote was, ‘I live to paint.’ He was a remarkable artist. He could do anything he put his mind to.”

Tammy Phillips, owner of Phillips Studio & Gallery in Fairbanks, and a watercolor painter herself, met Birdsall through her in-laws and said he was a family friend.

“He was a kind, humble gentleman,” Phillips said. “I remember one show he had turtles, bamboo and Mount McKinley all together in one painting. He was incredibly creative.”

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