Monday, August 29, 2011

Adventures on O'ahu

I came over to O'ahu to attend an opening ceremony and preview at the Disney Aulani Resort, in Ko'olina, west of Pearl Harbor. I'm lucky to be able to stay at the Nu'uanu home of my dear friend, mentor and "big sistah" Mary Philpotts McGrath, and her very kindhearted and tolerant husband John.

The Aulani resort is very spectacular, but the event was somewhat of a bummer for me. Not only was my own contribution nowhere to be seen, but it actually took a huge last minute effort on the part of Peggy Krantz, my art rep, to find it! So after a whole evening of ogling the spectacular artworks by OTHER members of the art community, who are probably all buying villas in France with the proceeds from this commission, I was practically choking back tears as I searched for my own artwork. Once I found it, though, I was pleased that it looked good in its location and was not an embarrassment to me.

Mary herself did some wonderful panels which were hanging in the spa area, totally suggestive of underwater tranquillity.

The next morning we trouped up to Jonathan Edwards Staub's home on a ridge on the Roundtop mountain, with views in both directions toward Diamond Head and Ewa, and with one of the most stunning gardens in between. A stellar group of designers and artists assembled to work on plein air paintings and other projects. I photographed Debby Young clambering up the pathway to get out of the drizzling rain.

Today I enjoyed a little painting time with Mark Brown, who was working in Ho'omaluhia botanical gardens with his friend Greg. I set myself up and painted the same view, but of course my version is much smaller and blue-er than his!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Native Plants and Critters

Inspiration is not always timely or convenient for me. I knew I wanted to enter something into the Hawai'i Nei art show opening this friday at the Wailoa Center in Hilo (opening reception 5-7), but I didn't know that when the impulse congealed it would be in the form of three huge canvases, 4' x 6'. I'd always wanted to depict one of the massive koa trees that grow in isolated locations on the Hawaiian Islands. These trees are so huge and old that often their limbs bend down to the ground in graceful curves like branches in a Japanese screen. So I finally decided, "if not now, when?" and got to work.

Into the branches of the koa tree I painted a Hawaiian Hawk, or io, and a few i'iwi and amakihi songbirds. I'm not sure that the little birds would actually fly so close to the fierce bird of prey.

I had to deliver the painting in separate components which I screwed together into a big folding screen since none of the walls at the center are large enough. While there I was surprised to find that several other gallery artists had entered and gotten into the show!

The Hawai'i Nei show just moved from its original location at the Volcano Art Center, and was shepherded to its new home by the familiar gallery personnel Ter and Fia. It's a great showcase for native species lovers, regardless of their professional experience.