Jim Leach: Plein Air Alaskan Landscapes

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

There’s something remarkable about people who choose to make the untamed state of Alaska their home, and that statement goes double for retired veterinarian Jim Leach.

Over the years, Jim has worked with sled dogs, became a pilot, and built a cabin where he and his wife can mine for gold. He primarily enjoys painting the beauty of Alaska en plein air, but he also works from his small art studio at their home on Birch Lake during the winter, when his paints begin to freeze outside.

“I’m greatly blessed to be able to put on canvas some of the beauty and wonders which God has provided us both in Alaska and along our travels,” he says.

The painting below, entitled Tangle Lake, showcases one of those wonder-filled moments perfectly, with a small body of water nestled securely in miles of luminous foliage, alight with the fleeting colors of autumn.

Tangle LakeL

Hints of snow-encrusted mountain peaks reach toward the heavens before blending like a whisper into low-hanging clouds. Shadows of tall pines create depth and develop substance within the painting, and contrast nicely with the shimmer of leaves and golden grassland reflecting the glimmering sun.

Jim was definitely in the right place at the right time to capture this moment of liquid, golden light as it flowed across God’s country.

Next, take a look at Original Hatcher Pass Bridge—can you imagine coming across THAT grand sight during an adventurous day of exploring?

Original Hatcher Pass BridgeL

Most likely, this bridge was built from the very evergreens that line the far bank, its footings solidly anchored in rock on either side of the river.

The textures of those cottony clouds, lightly feathered trees and clear rushing water leaves me with the feeling that this is a comfortable, easy day. It’s not one of work and fighting against Mother Nature—as we so often see in the harsh Alaskan wilderness—but rather one where you can enjoy all she has to offer.

Lastly, I think Chickaloon Pass is a good way to sum up the beauty that is Alaska.

Chickaloon PassL

Beneath majestic, snow-laden mountains lies endless forest teeming with wildlife and unexpected surprises, like the beautiful orange hue of crisp, turning leaves and a wide, broken path. It makes this sometimes unforgiving countryside seem attainable, an homage to the spirit of homesteaders who have chosen to settle here.

Take a few minutes today and head over to Jim’s website, for the rest of his gorgeous landscapes and nature paintings. You won’t be disappointed!


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