Clarissa Selected for Tulsa Artist Residency, Oklahoma

Beginning student in Plein Rein, Clarissa paints at Eagle Beach, Juneau, Alaska - July 2015

Beginning student in Plein Rein, Clarissa paints at Eagle Beach, Juneau, Alaska – July 2015

Native Art Markets are good venues for certain artists who have sale-able works.  I have yet to experience myself to fit into that category as my work appeals to a certain type of art collector or historian.  However, art markets allow me to put myself out there and see who “bites.”  The bites are  folks who may be interested in buying my work later on, or they know of someone else who is, OR they are folks like those from the Tulsa Artist Residency who invite me to submit an application for a one-year residency starting in January 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Of 300 applicants from across this nation, I was 1 of 12 who were selected.  Whoa!  This was quite the  competition.  Read the press release just received from TAR announcing their first 12 inaugural residencies: 

Though I will be living in Tulsa for the entire year of 2016, I will still be traveling for business.  I’ll post my 2016 calendar later on this year; stay tuned!


Klarissa’s Kool Klean Kanteen Kontainer

Necessary cold or hot drinks Kontained in Klarissa's Kool Klean Kanteen

Necessary Kold or hot drinks Kontained in Klarissa’s Kool Klean Kanteen

When my friend Margie gifted me this thermos last Fall 2014, I thought it was sweet, nifty and thoughtful of her.  Little had I known I would use this precious gem at least once a day every day since!  It’s the perfect size, not too big, not too small.  I’ve traveled the ferry south from Juneau to Bellingham with it in my stateroom, traveled in my Chilkat Mobile along the West Coast down to Los Angelos over the Phoenix, up to Santa Fe and then Colorado.

This thermos keeps your hot drink hot for about 5 or 6 hours; keeps your cold drinks cold for about the same time.

I keep it handy at my side while I am at my desk, my drawing table, my sewing table, coffee table during music and of course my weaving loom.  It’s been my pal, my confidant (yes, sometimes I actually talk to it), and obviously my traveling buddy!  Yep, hot or kold drinks keep me hydrated serving me well…THE Klarissa’s Kool Klean Kanteen…!  Go out and get one for yourself!  Or better yet, maybe somebody will gift one to you…!

Thank you dear Margaret!

Clarissa Wins Tulsa Artist Residency


Grandma Rissy with Mamma Lily holding Louis – Sandy Beach, Douglas, AK  – July 2014

I will be moving away for a year starting January 2nd.  Moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the entire year of 2016.  It will be the first time:  1) living in a city bigger than 60,000, 2) living away from any family, relatives or friends (like nobody there knows me), 3) living away from nature as I will be living right down town in the Brady Arts District

I am 1 of 12 inaugural  artists from across the U.S. who will be essentially paid to live in Tulsa, given a brand new apartment with the option of a separate studio.  Click here to read about the TAR and the other 11 selected artists.

Although I am excited about “living on my own” away from everything that I love, I know that I am going to especially miss my grandchildren!


Clarissa in Antique Native American Art Show

Clarissa's grand-daughter, Amelie models "Chilkat Child" to be featured as 1 of 18 Chilkat robes to be exhibited during the Antique Native American Art Show

Clarissa’s grand-daughter, Amelie models “Chilkat Child” a 5-piece handwoven ensemble to be featured as 1 of 18 Chilkat robes to be exhibited during the Antique Native American Art Show

The Antique American Indian Art Show launches at El Museo in Santa Fe’s Railyard with an opening night gala on August 17th (6-9pm) benefiting New Mexico PBS. Show dates run from August 18-20th (11am-6pm), featuring a special Chilkat Blanket exhibit – (they say) the most extensive collection ever presented!

Lily Hope, Delores Churchill and Cheryl Samuel are a part of this exhibit as well.

Come check us out on opening night Monday, August 17th; we’re gonna dress up and meet the Native Art Market crowd!

Read about the producers of this event by clicking here!

Dominik Modlinski Plein Air Painting Class: Part 1 of 3

Dominik Modlinski's painting pants

Dominik Modlinski’s painting pants

Retired school principal and one of the lead organizers for the Juneau Plein Rein group, Cristine Crooks sent out an email announcement that world-traveler plein air painter, Dominik Modlinski was coming to Juneau to teach a 3-day class in mid-July.  Intrigued, I checked out his website and very much liked his painting style.  I weighed how much work I already had on my plate with the cost of the class and I decided that no matter what, I had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I jumped in!   Wow!  I learned more in three days with this young man than I did in an entire year of painting class at a college!

The night before the class began, Dominik gave a presentation on his work

The night before the class began, Dominik gave a presentation on his work

Born and raised in Warsaw, Poland in 1970,  Dominik started painting at 6 years old.  He said he always knew he wanted to be a painter.  In Poland’s education system, whatever a child shows is his strongest interest, that is the avenue in which his parents and teachers guide him.  Dominik has painted in the wilderness of South America, Africa, Japan, Quebec, British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon.  He lives in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and during the summers he spends his time in Yukon with a cabin in Atlin.  Check out Dominik’s website at: 

Dominik presents the color wheel and color charts

Dominik presents the color wheel and color charts

Day One:  We worked indoors at the Juneau Arts & Cultural Center (JACC)  learning how to mix our paints and make color charts.  Fascinating!  I have made color charts in high school and again in college courses and I found them totally boring, however, I have NEVER learned how to mix the colors to make these charts the way Dominik taught us; we mixed all day without a drop of boredom!

Dominik suggests using this type of disposable pallete paper

Dominik suggests using this type of disposable pallete paper

We learned Complementary Contrast #1:

Two colors are complementary if their pigments mixed together produce a neutral gray-black.  Physically, light of two complementary colors, mixed together, will yield white.  Two such colors are a strange pair.  They are opposite, they require each other.  They incite each other to maximum vividness when adjacent; and they annihilate each other, to gray-black, when mixed – like fire and water.  There is always but one color complementary to a given color.  In the color circle, complementary colors are diametrically opposite each other.

Examples of complementary pairs are:  yellow-violet, blue-orange, red-green

In analyzing these pairs of complimentaries, all three primaries – yellow, red, blue – are always present:

yellow – violet = yellow, red + blue

blue – orange = blue, yellow + red

red – green = red, yellow + blue

Dominik demonstrates how to mix a beautiful grey using equal amounts of yellow, blue and red

Dominik demonstrates how to mix a beautiful grey using equal amounts of yellow, blue and red

Complimentary Contrast #2:

Each complimentary pair has its own peculiarities:

Yellow – Violet, represents not only complimentary contrast but also extreme dark-light contrast.

Red – Orange – Blue-green is a complementary pair, and at the same time the extreme of cold-warm contrast.

Red – Green are complimentary, and the two saturated colours have the same brilliance.

Many paintings based on complimentary contrast exhibit not only contrasting complementaries themselves but also their graduated mixtures as intermediates and compensating tones.  Being related to the pure colours they unite the two into one family.  In fact, these mixed tones often occupy more space the pure colours.

Dominik demonstrates how he begins most of his paintings starting from the top working down

Notice the focused intent of Dominik’s students!

Simultaneous Contrast #1:

Simultaneous contrast results from teh fact that for any given color, the eye simultaneously requires the complementary color, and generatesit spontaneously if it is not already present.

The simultaneously generated complementary occurs as a sensation int eh eye of beholder, and it is not objectively present.

the simultaneously appearing colour, not being objectively present but genereated in the eye, induces feeling of excitement and lively vibration of ever-changing intensity.

Each of six pure color squares contains a small neutral gray square, matching the background color in brilliance.  Each gray square seems to be tinged with the complementary of the background.  The simultaneous effect becomes more intense, the longer the principal color of a square is viewed.

Three small gray squares, surrounded by orange:

Three grays barely distinct from each other have been used.  The first gray is bluish, and intensifies the simultaneous effect; the second gray is neutral, and suffers simultaneous modification; the third gray contains an admixture of orange, and therefore fails to be modified.

Dominik demonstrates how he begins most of his paintings starting from the top working down

Dominik demonstrates how he begins most of his paintings starting from the top working down

Simultaneous Contrast #2:

The simultaneous effect occurs not only between a gray and a strong chormatic colour, but also between any two colours that are not precisely complementary.  Each of teh two will tend to shift the other towards its own complement, and generally both will loose some of their intrinsic character and become tinged with new effects.

Under these conditions, colours give an appearance of dynamic activity.

Click here for Part 2, 2nd Day of Plein Rein Painting Class with Dominic Modlinski


Clarissa’s 1st TV Interview — New Mexico’s PBS “Colores”

Clarissa takes a photo of herself on the monitor above her right shoulder

Clarissa takes a photo of herself on KTOO Public Radio station’s monitor – Juneau, Alaska

who sponsors the weekly TV series called  “Colores” at PBS New Mexico.

When show organizer John Morris contacted me about being a part of the Antique Native American Art Show in Santa Fe, New Mexico opening August 17th, I did not know it would involve doing my first public television interview airing on Saturday, August 8th in Albuquerque, NM.  Modern technology made it so that the interviewer, who was in the television station in Albquerque, could interview me while I sat in the KTOO television sound room.  Technology sent the visual interview via internet along with me providing about 100 images of my work to the TV company who sponsors the weekly TV series called  “Colores” at PBS New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The interview will broadcast on the following dates:

Clarissa in the TV recording studio of PBS's local station at KTOO in Juneau, Alaska

Clarissa in the TV recording studio of PBS’s local station at KTOO in Juneau, Alaska

The episode with my segment will broadcast on Saturday, August, 8th at 4:00pm on Channel 5.l  PBS New Mexico who sponsors the weekly TV series called  “Colores”.

It will also repeat as follows:

Monday, August 10th at 9:30pm on Channel 9.1.
Friday, August 14th at 10:30pm on Channel 5.1.

Just a reminder that this is a segment not the entire show.  The way Colores! works is that each show is made up of approximately 3 segments.  Clarissa’s segment is about 5 minutes.  They will mention the Santa Fe Antique Native American art show during the program.

Thank you Tara Walsh and Joan Rebecchi at PBS New Mexico and the folks at Juneau’s KTOO for getting this interview together.

Dorothy Grant Girls

L to R:  Vicki Soboleff, Catrina Mitchell, Nancy Barnes (Jr.), and Clarissa Rizal sport Dorothy Grant's beautiful designer clothing

L to R: Dorothy Grant, Vicki Soboleff, Catrina Mitchell, Nancy Barnes (Jr.), and Clarissa Rizal sport Dorothy Grant’s beautiful designer clothing

During the final hour of the Sealaska Corporation’s annual meeting, my friend Rhonda Mann and I took a jaunt over to Dorothy Grant’s booth of her designer clothing.  Of course we went wild over the blues!  And it turns out that after a half hour of having a ball, all of us danced away with a Dorothy Grant!

For those of you who want to know about our top Northwest Coast Native designer of 35 years, check out her website at:

2nd Year at Adaka’s Fashion Show

Clarissa Rizal models her 7-piece dance ensemble created by 4 generations of women in her family

Clarissa Rizal models her 7-piece dance ensemble created by 4 generations of women in her family:  Clarissa’s Grandmother Mary Sarabia made the tunic for great uncle Leonard Davis, button robe designed by Clarissa and beaded by mother Irene Loling Sarabia Lampe, button work by daughter Lily Hope. (Photo by Minnie Clark)

This evening, the Adaka Festival sponsored the 2nd biennial Da Ze Tsan Fashion Show featuring traditional and contemporary designs from First Nations designers and artists, including a special sealskin collection from Nunavut, performances by Andrameda Hunter, Nyla Carpentier, and special guests.  I was asked to be one of the special guests to show the following ensembles:


Mariella Wentzell models Clarissa Rizal’s latest 5-piece Chilkat woven ensemble “Chilkat Child” which includes the headdress, robe, apron and leggings (photo by Minnie Clark, Yukon News)

At $20/ticket (Elders and youth $10/ticket), I was totally surprised to hear that the tickets were sold out the first day of Adaka a week ago, and the standing room audience proved it so! — Fabulous traditional and contemporary works walked this runway.  I did not include any photos here for several reasons:  I was back stage during the event so I did not take any photos.  These photos of my ensembles  were borrowed from Minnie Clark, Photographer. And if you want to see photographs of the rest of the fashion show, then be-friend Minnie Clark on Facebook.

Megan Jensen

Megan Jensen models Clarissa Rizal’s three-piece leather ensemble made for her mother Irene Lampe by beadworker Kate Boyan in 1981 — Clarissa inherited the ensemble with her mother’s passing in 2011 (Photo by Minnie Clark)


Wayne Price models the “Egyptian Thunderbird” button blanket robe designed and sewn by Clarissa Rizal – though you cannot see the design in this photo image, you can check out the robe at the Haa Shagoon Gallery in downtown Juneau, or you may see it during one of the Native American art markets in Santa Fe, New Mexico (August), the Lawrence, Kansas (September) or Tulsa, Oklahoma (October), or Los Angeles (November – check out my “Calendar” website page for details (Photo by Minnie Clark)


Learning Tlingit Form Line Art


Artist, Professor, and Instructor of Tlingit form line art, Lance Twitchell introduces the class first with the spiritual and cultural context

Yes, I took an evening of form line instruction.  Yes, even though I have been drawing formline for nearly 40 years, I felt like I could use some FORM-al  instruction.  I learned a bit from the instructor, Lance Twitchell.  I learned a few techniques that I had never though of using AND I learned that I am not too bad of a designer, and that I could use some more assistance and inspiration.  After all these years, it’s fun taking a class in which you know almost as much as the instructor!  Lol.


Approximately 18 students, many of them just beginners, in the form line class sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute

A few years ago, Sealaska Heritage Institute took it upon themselves to begin teaching form line classes after Haida Artist Robert Davidson told the audience in attendance at the Sealaska Juried Art Competition that “the Tlingit people didn’t have very good artists who mastered the form line art.”  (I had heard complaints from other well-accomplished Tlingit artists about Robert’s statement.  I laughed at the absurdity, though at the same time I know that all of us will continually better ourselves at the formline art.  Even so, did Robert realize his statement was a slap in the face to several Tlingit artists who have been working as long as he or nearly as long, like Nathan Jackson, Preston Singletary, Israel Shotridge, Rick and Mick Beasley, the Chilton brothers, etc.?)


Students were given the task of choosing a design aspect of the carved bentwood box shown on the screen to replicate as best as they could on their drawing paper

I don’t know if Robert realized how he was saying these things may have caused a ruckus for the locals though nevertheless, SHI decided it was high time they do something about educating the Tlingit artists no matter where they were in their careers as designer/artists.


Lance provided a list of the various form line definitions created by Bill Holm and Bill Reid over 40 years ago

Lance Twitchell added some very good aspects to the one-night instruction plan:  the design terms in Tlingit language!  I felt Lance did a fine job of leading the students carefully step-by-step.  Though the part I enjoyed the best about his presentation was his acknowledgement of all the artists who had gone before and the spiritual representation of the art. — Being self-taught in Tlingit form line design, I appreciate the fact that SHI has taken the initiative to conduct classes throughout Southeast Alaska.  If we had these classes 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago, I would have taken them…and that’s why I had the privilege to finally attend one!  Thank you Sealaska Heritage Institute!

Tlingit Names in Formline

Tlingit Names in Formline