Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Favorite Spot

Here are Tuko and I painting at my favorite place on the Red Road (highway 137), which is that stretch just past mile marker 17 where the road dips down and passes by the cliffs under a row of very old palm trees. I suspect that these trees date back to the old "Kings Highway" which was built in the late 1800s and can still be found here and there along the coast. You could say that this is my "primary motif" as I come back here over and over to paint, either looking up or down the coast at the fierce waves and gnarly rocks, or along the road as it winds under the palms or under the canopy of kamani trees. I think it must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. That's our good friend Wailana with Tuko.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Artist at Work

Here I am in my studio today working on this portrait of a young Hawaiian woman. I am using photos so she doesn't have to sit and pose for me, which is not my favorite way to work. It's a fine line between not being slavish to the photos, and distorting the image in annoying ways that are hard to fix. I want to be like Gauguin who referenced photos but was very free in his interpretations.

My studio is actually a big greenhouse (agricultural) building with a plastic roof. I had to paint that chevron design all over it to keep myself from baking in the summer months. My friend Alaina says the feng shui is awful, but I like it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A visit from Roger

We have a good friend named Roger Montoya, from New Mexico. He is a wonderful painter who also happens to be very socially conscious and well-respected in his community. He came for a visit in the fall and gave us lots of great tips for improving our plein-air painting. He has always been generous in sharing his style and techniques.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

That Floor!!

Repainting the old brick-red concrete floor was an adventure in itself. Against Randy's admonitions to save the valuable 100 year old antique floor as it was, I just had to brighten it up and change the look. So I spent a couple of days scrubbing every inch of the floor and then laid down a coat of green paint. Then Cosette, Tuko and I swirled tapa-inspired patterns onto each panel using notched squeegees and brownish red paint. Now everyone looks down immediately and exclaims "I love the floor!!" so I guess it was worth it. And sure enough the new paint does flake off and scuff a bit, but it just adds to the timeless "old Hawai'i" flavor.

Karen, down at Mo Media, printed out a new sign for me using the logo my cousin designed, based on my signature.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Birth of a Gallery

Our little nook on Waianuenue Street was originally The Ohana O Hawai'i Gallery, run by Randy Farias, who did a tidy business selling my paintings. So when he had to close shop for an indefinite time the question arose: could it possibly become "the Arthur Johnsen Gallery" since I was his best selling artist???

Enter my friend Cosette Bonjour who offered to run it with me, and Voila, the gallery was born. While I was away for a couple of months, Cosette stripped everything out of the old space and repainted it pure white, and had an extensive new track lighting system put in. In fact she was much bolder about it than I would have been. I kind of liked the old warren of little spaces to poke around in.

But the new shop is brighter, much more spacious, and quite professional looking, so Bravo Cosette.