William D Berry
1954-1956 Field Sketches
Distributed for University of Alaska Press
This book offers a unique glimpse of Alaska and its creatures, rendered on paper by a man who loved and respected them. William D. Berry was nationally known as a wildlife artist, but to many Alaskans, he was also a kind of state treasure and certainly a natural resource. Berry's clear vision, conveyed with his disciplined skills, captured Alaska's creatures and their habitats in works that are both scientifically accurate and artistically compelling.
From his childhood in the southwestern desert to the closing days of his life in the taiga forest of Alaska, Berry was absorbed by the diversity of living creatures with which he shared the world. Years of observation gave him a singular capability to perceive animals; years of study gave him an equally singular ability to convey them to observers through an array of artists' media. Fox cubs or caribou, his animals are what you might see--if you had his patience or powers of observation. Each fully rendered creature has its own character, presented with respect for its individuality as well as accuracy for its individuality as well as accuracy for its species characteristics.
It is a privilege for the University of Alaska to bring this sampler of Bill Berry's private efforts from the 1950s before a wider audience. The book is grouped into four sections: Denali Park, color sketches, Point Hope, and around and about Alaska. Within each, the animals are in taxonomic order, the way Berry arranged and filed them.
Berry's friend, zoologist William O Pruitt, once observed that this artist's field sketches were the equivalent of the scientist's field notes. Perhaps it is that honesty that makes his work a challenge to other artists who wish to capture the essence of animals and captivate viewers. It is surely one of the reasons that his sketches continue to please all who cherish wilderness.
Around and About Alaska