James Behlke

Arctic Fog. Acrylic on canvas, 96 x 72 in, 1986
Beaufort Sea, Camden Bay. Acrylic on canvas, 1990
Chamberlin Glacier. Acrylic on canvas, 116 x 88 in, 1988
Icebow. Acrylic on linen, 66 x 88 in, 1993
Jago River. Acrylic on canvas
Midnight, Shublik Island. Acrylic on canvas
Arctic Slope. Watercolor
Jago Valley. Watercolor
Marsh Fork Canyon. Watercolor
Upper Marsh Fork, Canning River. Watercolor
Upper Marsh Fork, Canning River. Watercolor
Peters Lake. Watercolor
Rain, Peters Lake. Watercolor
Stream & Jago River. Watercolor
Kongakut River. Watercolor sketch
Kongakut River. Watercolor sketch

Arctic Refuge Art mourns the passing of artist Jim Behlke in March 2022; our thoughts are with his family and friends. An obituary may be found here.


I was raised in Alaska, lived in California for ten years, and in 2001 moved back to Alaska. I return to the Arctic year after year to sketch, paint, and write in journals. I like to explore and to imagine that I am the first to discover remote places. When I travel north, I encounter environments which starkly and beautifully contrast the human world. Wilderness experiences are unique and are easy to retain in memory.

I gained new perspectives in California. Now I often gather landscape images for future studio refinement. My art has become less involved with nature’s direct dictation. The strongest work speaks both of my world, and of my self.

If I am lucky, many more volumes from California, and Alaska, will follow. My artistic expression now encompasses both environments, and my art is evolving with new awareness of natural places that I once took for granted.

1984: MFA, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Painting.
1981: BFA, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK. Printmaking.

1998: SITE 250 Fine Art, Fairbanks, AK
1991: Alaska State Museum, Juneau
1990: Anchorage Museum of History and Art
1989: Fairbanks Arts Association
1989: Visual Arts Center of Alaska, Anchorage

1998: “Landscapes,” Site 250 Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
1996: “From Home Space to Art Space,” Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
1995: “A Sense of Wonder,” University of Alaska Museum
1994: “Alaskan Landscapes: Views of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Wignall Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
1994: ”Our Natural Surroundings,” Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
1993: “Our Natural Surroundings,” Mount Diablo Interpretive Association Summit Museum, Mount Diablo State Park, CA
1993: ”Landscapes,” Site 250 Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
1993: ”Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Exhibition,” Anchorage Museum of History and Art
1991: “Paintings from the Arctic Refuge,” Civic Center Gallery, Fairbanks, AK
1990: “Artist in Place,” City Hall Gallery, Honolulu, HI
1978/80/85/88/90: All Alaska Juried Exhibition, Anchorage, AK
1986/88/90: 64th Parallel Juried Art Exhibition, Fairbanks, AK

Alaska State Museum
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
University of Alaska Museum
Alaska Contemporary Art Bank
Juneau Empire
Progressive Insurance Corporation, Cleveland, OH
Parks Canada, Pangnirtung, NWT
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

Artwork ©1986-2022 by James Behlke. Used with permission of the artist.

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