Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Painting with John Matsushita

Two weekends ago Rod Cameron invited Tuko, and by extension, Cosette and myself, to go up to the rainforest near Mountain View and paint in a treehouse. Not wanting to miss anything involving the famous Rod, I joined the group for an exquisite day of plein air painting among the giant hapu'u ferns, ohi'a and olapa trees, and clambering anthuriums. The treehouse is the creation of an ingenious builder named Sky, and to his credit it actually did not kill the beautiful big ohi'a trees that it surrounded. Truly a magical experience. Also present were the beautiful Anne Catlin and her good friend John Matsushita, who is giving an encaustic workshop soon. These are the details:

Encaustic Wax Painting Workshop

Beginning this February, local artist and adventure seeker John Matsushita will be teaching a workshop on the tradition of encaustic wax painting. Class space is open to 12 students at any age and skill level for intimate and personal learning. Painting classes begin Saturday, Feb 19th from 9am-1pm and run 5 consecutive Saturdays (Feb.19, 26, March 5, 12, 19) with an option of extension.

Sensitive to touch and temperature extremes, the tradition of wax painting has been in practice for thousands of years. Despite their seeming fragility, encaustics preserve very well, with examples in Egyptian and Greek artifacts dating back to 800 B.C. The Greeks applied wax and resin for weatherproofing, eventually using it for decoration upon warships. Perhaps the best known encaustic works are the funerary portraits painted throughout Egypt over 1,500 years ago.

Students are invited to bring unconventional materials to experiment with the wax. They will learn basic and advanced applications and can create at their own pace. Additional assistance will be provided for those in need. $300 includes materials, with financial aid and member discounts available.

John Matsushita is Hawaii-born and raised, with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Hawai'i –Manoa, with study at the Art Institute of Southern California, Laguna. As a painter he works in molten wax against recycled wooden panels that he salvages from construction refuse. His encaustic paintings have been featured at VAC’s Emerging Artist Exhibit and he is currently represented in the Volcano Art Gallery. As a sculptor, he works in wood and stone, which he carves away to reveal landscapes and features of the natural environment that he feels a sense of deep connection with. His artistic focus has largely involved volunteer projects with limited resources beyond natural materials that have been foraged from the land itself.
This class will take place at the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus: 19-4074 Old Volcano Road. For more info, call 967-8222 or visit

Monday, February 07, 2011

Plein Air Class at Volcano Village

These photos were take by Everett Charters on Sunday, January 30, 2011 .

Hats off to the students who attended my plein-air oil painting class up in Volcano Village last Sunday. It's not an easy thing to tackle a new way of applying and manipulating paint, and some of you had never even used oils before! I'm hoping that some of the fear factor may have been dissipated and that you might be encouraged to try the technique on your own. Remember that representation of a scene is really optional, and that oil paints can be used to play around and do just about anything that you can conceive of!

Just acquire a few colors (people get rid of paints at garage sales frequently) and use any old surface, and have some fun!

I'll be happy to help with any questions, and would love to receive your feedback on the class. Write to me at