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PUBLISHED: 5:04 PM on Tuesday, August 1, 2006
'Rosifrax Pekaloomis' now on dislplay at Juneau City Hall
A painting by local artist Herb Bonnett is being presented to the City and Borough of Juneau in memory of George W. "Bill" Mann by his wife, Ann, and their family.

Bill Mann, a 41-year-old resident of North Douglas, owned and operated Mann Construction and died in 1999.

Bonnett, a lifelong resident of Southeast Alaska, was born in Douglas and is a 1948 graduate of Douglas High School. He attended art schools in Los Angeles and Seattle, was an illustrator for Boeing and later worked at the Auke Bay lab before becoming a full-time artist. He currently resides in North Douglas.

The "Rosifrax Pekaloomis" came into being at Louie's Douglas Inn one evening in 1980 where Bonnett and Mann discussed the painting.

The acrylic realistic scene of Southeast Alaska, depicting snow-covered mountains, a soaring eagle and a beached troller, Rosifrax Pekaloomis, dominating the foreground, with details of the channel waters, including spouting whales, a tugboat and lighthouse.

In creating this, Bonnett set up shop in the Mann's North Douglas home. It was typical for Mann to return from work to find Bonnett busy with his paint brush and few friends gathered for "happy hour," admiring his talent.

About a week into the project, the Manns came home to an empty house, finding the mountains "wiped-out" of the picture. After Bonnett did not show up or answer his phone for a couple of days, someone told the Manns that Bonnett went to Hawaii. They were becoming somewhat concerned as several weeks passed and no work from Bonnet. Then, as suddenly as he had left, Bonnet appeared one day busily recreating the mountains. It was as if he'd never been away, enjoying friend and "happy hour."

In the background there is a small building nestled in the trees. Bonnett explains this is where he went to school. And, at close scrutiny, you'll find an empty "Oly" can on the beach, which was Mann's favorite brew at the time.

When Bonnett finished the picture, the Manns held an open house for friends and neighbors to view Bonnett's masterpiece. One commented, "it's so realistic, I feel as if I'm actually standing right there on the beach watching the whales and the tug boat go by. Everyone feels the same."

Mann was often asked how much the painting had cost. His reply was always the same, "A hundred dollars and about 10 cases of vodka."

There was never a straight answer from Bonnett or Mann as to where the name of the painting originated.

The painting may now be viewed in the Council Chambers at City Hall.


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