A New Zealander now living in Alaska, Stephen Lawrie began painting at a young age and paints stunning portraits and landscapes. A commercial fisherman with a lifelong obsession with the natural world, the landscapes and lighting he captures are so close to real life, they often look like a well-timed photograph.

At Sitka Conservation Society's Sea Pony Farm propertySteve found himself drawn to the physical built environment that the homestead's original owners, Eric and Pam Bealer, created. Doing a painting a day, he focused on the home and outlying properties, such as the shed and barn. Much of the property was made from logs that Eric and Pam salvaged from the beaches and milled. “For me, Pam’s presence was very strong,” says Steve, “Eric is something of a known quantity in my mind, while Pam I knew nothing about. But being there, you can definitely feel her.” One example of Pam’s presence was the cast iron stove. “My impression is that this was Pam’s spot. I’m sure Eric could whip up a meal as good as anybody, but this felt like her to me. Eric and Pam – their presence is everywhere here.”

In 2023, Stephen Lawrie and Maite Lorente premiered an exhibition honoring the lives and legacy of Southeast Alaskan artists Eric and Pam BealerThe Squirrel & the Bear: Eric and Pam Bealer’s Life in the Tongass. It featured art and writings by Steve and Maite, who were inspired by their retreats at Sea Pony Farm. You can read more about it in this Daily Sitka Sentinel story re-shared on our blog.

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Photo courtesy of Daily Sitka Sentinel/James Poulson.