The journey from apprentice to master, in any field, may not be a straight one. But as Tlingit master carver Tommy Joseph knows, the road – or the waterway – however winding it is, will surely be an interesting one.

Tommy’s journey started in Ketchikan, Alaska in 1964. That was when the Tlingit carver-to-be was born, as Naal xἁk’w, into the Ch’aak’/Gooch (Eagle/Wolf) moiety of the Kaagwaantaan (Wolf) clan.

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Pat Kehoe’s life might sound like a John le Carré book. We met one evening over a pint (after Pat’s cherished tap dance class) to talk about how art and life had evolved.

Trained as both artist and nurse, Pat came to Sitka from Washington in 1980, specifically to go fishing. She’d been working as an RN in a “very intense setting” and needed to do something different. She and a friend put their VW van on the ferry, got to Sitka on July 4th and settled in at Starrigavin campground.

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This year’s cover artist was born and grew up outside Boston – interestingly, she notes, at the one-mile mark of the Boston Marathon.

Bethany Goodrich’s photo is striking to some because of its tranquility and the feeling of respect and connectedness between the salmon in the foreground, and the hand and mussels in the background.

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You’ll definitely see “a bird with attitude” when you look at the cover of this year’s Sitka Harbor Guide. So says artist Sandy Greba, who is lighting up a Harbor Guide cover for the second time in five years – this time with her watercolor painting, “Hooded Merganser.”

Sandy has a knack with color, light and water – you can see this both in “Hooded Merganser” and in her earlier cover art, “No Vacancy,” whose sea lions-atop-a-buoy-in-water graced the cover of the 2013 Harbor Guide.

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When herring return to Sitka Sound each spring, so does watercolorist Phil Long. This year’s Harbor Guide cover image is from Long’s painting “Net to Tender” that depicts an action scene from the Sac Roe fishery.

Long lives in Sitka for four months of the year during the herring and salmon seasons to oversee the movement throughout Southeast of refrigerated shipping containers. The containers are destined to be packed with fish and shipped, mostly to Asia. The rest of the year, he lives in Oakland, California.

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Ketchikan artist Terry Pyles had a brainstorm at the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, while staring at Alejandro de Loarte’s 1610 painting The Kitchen. The work portrays a jolly and prosperous European man, surrounded by fish and game ready for the cooking pot.

Pyles said he immediately thought of an Alaskan in his kitchen, surrounded by regional delicacies. “I’ve always loved still life (paintings) since I was a kid,” Pyles said. “I was drawn to de Loarte’s painting – (the man in it) reminded me of my friend Dave. I thought, `how perfect this could be just changing it out to Alaskan stuff.’”

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The cover image for the Harbor Guide this year is courtesy of John Erp, a Sitka-based photographer, sailor and troller. We reached Erp as he was rigging his trolling poles on one of his two vessels at the work float this spring. He lives on one vessel or the other.

Erp said the cover photo – which he has not named — was of an older wooden sailboat moored in downtown Juneau circa 2000. Erp, now 65, had just completed an intensive summer program at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography.

“What caught my attention was all the converging angles of the bow spit, chain and lines,” Erp said.

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It might be appropriate that Mark Bartlett paints the Rockwell Lighthouse, because light is one of his main sources of creativity. “I’m always seeking light,” the 52-year-old Sitka-based artist said. “That’s what I’m looking for and where I start a painting.

“If I’m doing a mountain, for instance, I want some drama and the way the light is hitting the mountain is how I develop that drama.”

Bartlett’s subjects span Alaska – he explores the misty, defused light of Southeast and the sharper light of the Interior. A naturalist, he is nonetheless unafraid of taking some creative license.

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Cover artist Sandra Greba’s “No Vacancy” displays the vivid colors and sharp line that makes this watercolorist unusual for her medium. Watercolor paintings often use soft hues and soft lines. Soft would not begin to describe the strong red that dominates this work.

Greba is an Alaska-born, self-taught, Sitka-based artist who specializes in paintings of birds and flowers, but who occasionally takes on a different subject. She said she was inspired to paint “No Vacancy” from her experiences in Southeast viewing sea lions who have hauled themselves onto buoys to bask in the sun.

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