Sunday, October 22, 2006

Painting Away

Tuko took these pictures of me painting in an aloha shirt (and I took this one of her) last week. We can't seem to stay away from our "office" at mile 17.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Paint-out Map of Hilo

Here is a rough map of the locations we will be painting at. (Click on it for full size)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Next Week's paint-out with Maui folks

On Tuesday some members of "Plein Air Painters of Hawai'i" (PAPOH) from Maui will be in Hilo to paint our scenery, as if Maui were not gorgeous enough for them. We are looking forward to mingling with new artistic blood and sharing techniques as well as locations up and down the coast, Wailoa & Wailuku Rivers. Friday afternoon will be an exciting "Quick-Draw" which is a painting contest we'll conduct in a relatively visible part of town to draw attention to the show we'll be having that evening at the gallery!

Monday, October 16, 2006

One Last Look

These are the last paintings that I did at Mile 17. Several of them were done literally days before the bulldozers came in and changed so much. The little tree tunnel scene with the white and black dog is the very last view from that spot, which is now being turned into the middle of the new bypass road. I donated it to the Sierra Club for their recent fundraiser (it was bought by my friend Katie Viehl). The poignant look of the doggy is very real since he and his master Eric had been squatting on the gorgeous property nearby and have now been evicted by the new owner, who actually requested that the bulldozers go in and flatten his little house and much of the surroundings. Now he and the dogs are truly homeless -- too bad....
But I think the area will be beautiful once again someday, as it has excellent bones.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More Mile 17

What makes a great painting spot? Or should I say, what would compell me to return to this place so many times to repaint the same scene over and over again? Part of it is convenience, of course, the luxury of having a world-class beauty spot just a five minute drive from my house. But the largest part is just the sheer pleasure of hanging out on these two bluffs overlooking the sea, in the shade of tall old palm and java plum trees. A bit harder were the times I set up a little ways down the tree tunnel near Kiki's B'n'B and painted looking back toward the graceful bend in the road, when I would be besieged by hungry mosquitos seeking entry through my screen of repellent -- buzzing my ears and landing on my eyelids. But for me it was always worth it...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Red Road Mile 17 remembered

Many folks living now in Puna don't remember the red road from when it was actually paved in red cinder. I thought it would be fun to celebrate my many years of enjoyment at mile 17 by posting all the pictures I can find of my favorite painting spot, especially since recent road improvements have changed it radically. These older paintings show the mottled old road before they repaved it standard grey in 2000. If I wasn't careful, the road could end up looking like a big slab of bacon!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Small Protest

I had my back to the recent devastation at my favorite painting spot at Puna Coastal Road mile 17, minding my own business, painting a view of the ocean through the remaining stand of coconut palms. Along comes Kiki, owner of the beautiful BnB right nearby, and says "I am so glad you are painting those trees before they get bulldozed!" which practically gives me a heart attack. Why do they need to bulldoze these trees??? I thought they were widening the OTHER side of the road....

Turns out they need to fill in a deep lava tube pit on either side of the road at exactly the most exquisite spot for painting in all of Puna, if not the world. It seems that a bicyclist drove into the puka (hole) and died painfully and unnoticed for several days in August, and the county fears lawsuits if it should ever happen again.

Tuko and I stayed up late Tuesday night, painting fabric banners saying "spare these trees, we love them," and so on, and we went down to our spot close to midnight and tied them up by the light of her tiny blue Honda. The next day I heard from our friend Paul that he had set up a meeting with one of the job supervisors, Ben Ishii, on Thursday morning, to see if they could be less dozer-happy about the project. A group of us met with Ben under umbrellas in the dripping rain, to the deafening sound of a giant dozer pushing huge rocks around directly opposite our cherished trees. And sure enough, he was very pleasant and did intervene on behalf of some of the trees. So we won a small victory even though most of the road crew could not comprehend why anyone would care about a bunch of old palm trees, especially when they were just doing their job to make the road safer for people to drive on faster....

On a more cheerful note, we stayed open late at the gallery to celebrate "first Friday" and the opening of the "Trash Art Show" which is the big event of the year up the block at the East Hawai'i Cultural Center. Gail had spent the day at the gallery putting the finishing touches on her splendid new painting of a Hawaiian pa'u rider.