Anchorage Painter Dispels Trauma Through Art

Sep 22, 2015

An Anchorage artist who opened a new gallery exhibit in Homer earlier this month uses art to show damaged objects and people who have suffered through trauma can still be beautiful. KBBI’s Quinton Chandler has more.

     KN Goodrich has been painting for years and she took up art full time back in 1996. For her art is an escape. 

     “I started painting when I was a sophomore in high school and I’m sure that the practice of painting is a meditative practice,” says Goodrich.

     Goodrich says painting definitely played a role in her ability to survive a harsh childhood. She says stories like hers are common in Alaska. 

     “If you can make it through and survive it’s a beautiful thing. Unfortunately we also have a really high rate of suicide. I have to weep for the people who didn’t make it through and didn’t survive. The ones who do may show their scars but it’s so beautiful to have made it through,” says Goodrich.

     Capturing the beauty of those emotional and physical scars is one of the goals Goodrich aims for in her art. Her primary medium is pastel. She says it’s a pigment that is mixed with water and gum Arabic to make a paste. The paste is rolled into sticks and then air died. 

     “When the artist gets it, it’s a little stick of pure pigment that you can make wonderful marks onto paper with,” explains Goodrich.

     Goodrich sits next to two of her pastels as she describes the medium. They are pictures of old windows set in the side of a building in Seward. 

     “There’s a window that’s been painted with a pale yellow paint but overtime it has cracked and chipped so the wood shows through. In a salt, moist environment like Seward wood tends to silver. So a lot of the wood showing through in these paintings is silver,” says Goodrich. “The windows symbolize people so when a person is a little bit broken and has survived a great trauma they’re still beautiful.”

     KN Goodrich’s work is currently on display at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer. Her exhibit will be there until September 26th.