In the studio: Genevieve Opheim

Ing’iq/Barometer, 2017, oil, 48" x 12"

Genevieve is an Inupiaq Artist whose interest in oil painting began while attending Chemawa Indian Boarding School in Salem, Oregon. She grew up in Alaska, primarily in Anchorage, and has lived on Kodiak Island for 15 years where she and her husband Jason raise their two boys, Leon and Joseph. 


What is your studio space like?

I have two easels set up in our dining room. I previously painted in other areas of the house—the garage and family room. However, I like my family and I like to spend time with them and not be isolated for long periods of time.

Where do you find inspiration?

The scenic splendor of this island gets me every time! I have to admit that taking walks with me may take longer as I take hundreds of photos, whether the lighting is just right, or the season is just so, or there’s a new perspective on a trail that I’ve walked many times. My camera is well-used.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to explore creating art?

Art is very personal. You’re using your imagination and skill to create something that you can share with others. Find someone who you can learn from, who has the skills to share with you. 

I’ve taken many classes, either to gain a skill, or to receive instruction from a specific individual. Often times I want to learn from someone who is accomplished in their field, or in a field that I am interested in. 

In high school I had the opportunity to learn from a Native American artist, and even though his work wasn’t my interest (he preferred primarily abstract), I appreciated what he could teach me, which was detailed techniques of oil painting. n

Genevieve’s work can be seen at the Alutiiq Museum store and she will be December’s Artist of the Month at The Frame Shop on Mill Bay Road. Her new works will debut at First Friday on December 1, 5:00–7:00pm.

Ahna May, 2015, oil, 24" x 36"

Genevieve in her studio.