Friday, April 14, 2017

Home, for now

5"x7", watercolor on 140 lb. watercolor paper

As I say, "Home is where the toothbrush is" and this is where my toothbrush is, for now. I spent my birthday celebrating this place with a pen drawing and painting it in while relaxing on the front porch. Jim, my host, was so kind to take me to a special Tripiti beach and a cool sea arch and then for ice cream afterwards while the sun set over Alyki. It was an excellent birthday, indeed!

Bird house, To the Garden, Paros, Greece

5"x7", pen on watercolor paper

I hope someday you'll have the pleasure of staying here. If you like wildflowers in the springtime, swimming in the summertime, hiking, sightseeing and taking in the history of this incredibly ancient place, or just plain lounging, then this is a great place to stay! I'm here at To the Garden, a great retreat in Kamari on the island of Paros, Greece. I'm surrounded by geraniums and an incredible diversity of flowers and olive and almond trees. The hosts Irini and Jim are awesome and I can't imagine staying anywhere else.

This is a pen drawing of where I'm staying, I had planned on coloring it in with watercolor but I do like the starkness of it. I've spent the morning in the creative zone, listening to the bells of the goats being moved from place to place and the sound of the birds that flit by and the constant and relaxing buzz of bees all around me. Today is my birthday and I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing ... drawing and painting to my heart's content in Greece! This is a very good birthday. :D

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Piso Livadi, Paros, Greece

5"x7", watercolor on watercolor paper

I've been experiencing the island through my jaunts into the backroads and walking paths of the towns I've visited. The visual discoveries abound behind each corner, which makes me want to venture even further. Most times it means I get lost and eventually find my way back and sometimes it means I walk up someone's driveway by accident (well, once, and that just meant a shared laugh, a wave, and a "please excuse me"). 

I am finding that watercolor is the way to go while traveling in Greece and this is for a few reasons. It is easy to bring along (only paints, brushes, a container of water, and some paper), very quick to set up and clean up, and it lends itself well to this place that is surrounded by water. The lightness of watercolors fits in well with this landscape. Oils can be heavy and dense and this is a place that is definitely not those things.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Dryos Beach, Paros, Greece

Dryos, 5"x7", watercolor on watercolor paper

I rented a car and am enjoying exploring the island of Paros. Spent the day in Dryos and Piso Livadi, where I had a wonderful lunch of grilled sun-dried mackerel and a delicious selection of local appetizers next to the ocean.

This is a watercolor I did of a beach I found at Dryos and virtually visited months ago via Spitigatos, a website of Greek homes for sale (yeah, it's my vicarious pleasure). I recognized it immediately and was delighted to find stairs to the beach where I could sink my toes in the warm sand and dip them in the cold Aegean. The wildflowers were amazing so I wanted to capture and remember this very special moment. A visit by a little orange kitten topped off my morning. Then, it was off to explore the rest of the island.

Olive grove at Dryos

Piso Livadi

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sheep bells ring (Paros, Greece)

Around the property; 5"x7", oil on canvas panel

One of my favorite morning rituals (I've been here 5 whole mornings now!) is to sit on the porch with my breakfast and coffee and listen to the sounds of the sheep bells next door. This is a view of those sheep in the paddock behind "my" house ... white sheep with black heads (yeah, that's what those blobs are). It's just a quick painting and my first plein air oil painting ... ever. Besides the bee sting and the subsequent crazy lady bee-avoiding dance, it was a nice day out. This took maybe an hour.

I'm off to rent a car today ... and do some exploring! Hmmm, what new experiences await?!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Paros, Greece in the springtime

5"x7", pen on watercolor paper

5"x7", watercolor on watercolor paper

"Intentiality ... the appreciating of the little things and experiencing them not as a blur but as a discrete moment in time worthy of cherishing. ... The cool Paros wind on my face. The smell of Greek coffee when I open the cupboard. The sweetness of Greek honey. The sounds of sheep's bells. The unique blue-orange of the sun-setting sky. The unique meows of each of the cats. The buzz of thousands of beautiful bees that swarm the wildflowers around me. The beautiful dreams of really sweet sleep and the sounds of silence that brings me back to myself."

Friday, March 3, 2017

Dreaming of Greece

Pending rain, 5"x7", oil on canvas panel ($40 USD)

Vibrant clouds, 7"x5", oil on canvas panel ($40 USD)

I'm very excited to report that I'm heading to Greece to paint to my heart's content! If you know me, you'll also know that this has been a dream of mine for decades. I feel very fortunate to have been accepted to an art residency on Paros Island. I'll be taking along my oils and watercolors and hope to have a bunch of new artwork to share. Pochade box ... check! Paints ... check! Brushes ... check! Canvases ... check!

Here are some preliminary paintings I did just to get a sense of whether or not canvas panels would work and they seem to work fine. I do miss the give of stretched canvas but to have enough room to pack my clothes, I probably should stick to the panels. I'll be taking a subset of my paints so this helps me decide which colors I'll pack. 

If anyone is interested in partially funding my trip, I have these little jobbers available for purchase. They're originals! I'll probably have a few more paintings available before I leave so please stand by. If you're interested in art cards, please check out my previous posts, below. And, if you'd like an email notice of my posts, feel free to sign up for Feedblitz (to the right of my post). Thanks all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Watson is his name

5"x5", oil on watercolor (SOLD)

Painting, and drawing for that matter, gives me the perfect opportunity to truly see something. This is Watson. He is a lovely horse that my Goddaughter rides and he is beautiful! He has a dark spot just under the white spot on his forehead. He has attentive ears and his mane sometimes goes wonky in the wind. He is all muscles but very gentle. You can see it in his eyes. Horses scare me a bit. They are huge but being able to get to know a horse through his picture makes me less intimidated. Horses are incredible creatures and now I just want to hug them!

This is a commission I did for a friend and the painting now sits at a place of honor with Watson's human mom.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Congratulations Nathalie!

Laua`e, 5"x7", oil on canvas (Not for sale)

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Nathalie of Hilo for winning the Volcano Art Sale giveaway! As part of the sale, visitors collected stamps at each studio and once their invitation postcards are filled out, they are returned. Then every artist and guest artist pulls a card from the stack of filled cards and the person wins an art piece from the artist! I pulled Nathalie's name and this is what I painted specially for her. Congratulations Nathalie! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dogs galore!

3"x3", oil on canvas (SOLD)

12"x12", oil on canvas (SOLD)

Since the art show, I've been busy with commissions and taking my paintings to size extremes, from the little 3"x3" (top) to 12"x12" (bottom). Both very fun to paint and challenging in their own right. I loved the freedom of large brush strokes with the bottom painting but also the challenge of getting enough detail in the upper painting so the pup is recognizable. I'll be sharing more of the commissions I did the past couple months so stand by! 

Special thanks go to those that signed up as followers on blogger and on feedblitz! I really appreciate your support!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kilauea Iki Trail

Kilauea Iki Trail, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; oil on canvas, 6"x6", (SOLD)

After speaking with many people familiar with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, every person cited the Kilauea Iki Trail as their favorite hike. It's a little over 4 miles and a loop trail that can begin and end at just about any point you choose along the trail, taking you from the edge of the crater all the way down across the crater and then back to the rim. My favorite starting point is the Kilauea Iki overlook and heading to the right of the crater along the crater rim first before heading into the crater itself. To enjoy the calming and relaxing hike, I think it helps to appreciate the powerful eruption that occurred here in 1959 to create such a spectacular crater. The amazing video by the U.S. Geological Survey and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can be seen here. The video continues on to the Kapoho eruption.

Here, I painted a scene after just crossing the Kilauea Iki floor where the trail starts to head up the east side of the crater. It was fun trying to use color, atmosphere, and chroma to create depth. I am really glad that it was the first painting sold at the art sale. It is near and dear to my heart and now has a home with wonderful friends. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

THANK YOU! Mahalo Nui Loa!


Thank you to those of you that braved the wet and chilly Volcano weather to visit me and the other artists at the Volcano Village Artists Hui Art Sale! This was the very first time I've sold my artwork in such a venue so it was a great experience and I enjoyed it immensely. Meeting the visitors was the best part and I'm glad 9 of my original paintings got to go home with awesome people. Thank you for making this first sale one that I won't forget!

I'd like to thank Emily Herb who was so kind to have me as a guest artist at her studio. If you haven't seen her artwork before, please check it out here.

If all goes well, I'll be at Emily's again next year so please mark your calendars for next Thanksgiving weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Volcano Village Artists Hui Annual Studio Tour and Sale!


If you're free Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 25, 26, or 27, come and enjoy a walk through Volcano Village and visit artist studios and check our their wares at the 2016 Volcano Village Artists Hui Annual Studio tour and sale! Visit the website for a map of open studies in the Village. Please support local artists and maybe even find a gift for the holidays!

I'm honored to be a guest artist at Emily Herb's studio on Keonelehua, between Haunani and Wright Road. I'll be selling the original paintings and drawings that I've posted on my blog, plus prints (It's the first time I've had my art for sale like this so I'm very excited … and a bit nervous :)). Emily Herb makes beautiful ceramic works featuring native plants and animals and all of them are exceptional. Charlotte Forbes Perry, long-time guest artist at Emily's studio, will also be there selling her beautiful one-of-a kind ceramic tiled trivets, ornaments, and stained glass pieces. All of our works honor the native plants and animals found in the area. Please stop by and say hi!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Volcano highlights

Kamehameha butterfly, oil on canvas, 6"x6" ($80 USD)

Impressions of Kilauea Iki, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, oil on canvas, 5"x7" ($100 USD)

The specialness of living a mile from one of the most beautiful national parks in the world is not lost on me. I live in a native forest so there are wonderful native creatures about. This Kamehameha butterfly, one of only two native Hawaiian butterflies, was flitting around my neighborhood so I painted it. And the bottom one, is my impression along the Kilauea Iki Trail, my favorite trail in the park. There is always that section of the trail that suggests there might be an even better view up ahead. This painting is a bit more painterly but I like the lightness about it and I'm glad I didn't ruin the painting by rendering it in detail. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sleeping Marm

Marm, oil on canvas, 5"x7" (NOT FOR SALE)

I love him. He came to join our home a few years ago when his 94 year old owner passed away. His name is Marmalade and he's about 13 years old. I like to think that Ray, his previous owner, is keeping an eye out for Marm and knows that he is loved tremendously, hugged every day, and is the king of the household. He is offered every preferred spot in the house, including my pillow (or head (!)). This is the first painting I've ever done of Marm because I was concerned I'd wouldn't be able to capture his likeness to do him justice but in this case, I'm glad I painted him because this is exactly what he looks like when he sleeps next to me. I love this little guy to bits!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ohelo (Vaccinium reticulatum), oil on canvas, 5"x7" (SOLD)

Ohelo is my favorite plant and as a botanist, it's usually hard to choose. Ohelo is a low-growing shrub much like blueberries on the mainland. They're more tart but no less delicious. They are only found in Hawaii and if you've visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you might have seen them growing along the road to Jaggar Museum and the Halemaumau Overlook. 

I do love painting them, because they reflect light in such a way that makes them look so luscious. When the light hits them just right from behind, they even glow. The fruits of ohelo can range in color from deep purple-red to red to orange and even yellowish so that'll give me options in painting them.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alala (Hawaiian crow) returns to the wild!

Alala, oil on canvas, 5"x7" (SOLD)

I've steadily checked items off my bucket list. One item, however, still eludes me but it may come to fruition this year! It is to see the Hawaiian crow (alala), which has been extinct in the wild for over a decade, fly freely in the wild again. I work with colleagues who remember the calls of this bird in the forests of South Kona, even in Volcano but by the time I started field work, there were only several remaining and slowly the numbers dwindled and I never got the chance before the last few were moved into a facility for captive propagation. The folks at the San Diego Zoo Global at Keahou Bird Sanctuary have been working tirelessly to bring this species back from the brink of extinction. Their efforts have paid off and there are over 100 birds bred in captivity and some of them are ready for release this year! My heart is full with pride in the work this group has done and so glad to know some of the members of the team personally. If you'd like to know more, please visit the Alala Project website and consider supporting them with a donation. In support of this awesome conservation effort, I will be making prints and notecards of the alala (top image) available for purchase and 100% of the funds will be donated to the Alala Project. I figure we all need to do our part to save this precious species. If you'd like more information, please send me an email or stand by for more information.

UPDATE: Thanks for those of you that purchased the Alala notecards at the Alala Project VIP and public celebrations at Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo and my art sale in November! We raised at least $400 for the Alala Project! Mahalo Nui Loa!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The dogs have it!

Sleeping Wilson, oil on canvas, 5"x5" ($80 USD)

Pug, oil on canvas, 6"x6" (Not for sale)

Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers are just fun dogs to paint. I love their distinct look and their funny-when-trying-not-to-be-funny faces.

I got the reference photos from Draw my Photos, which are royalty and copyright-free images. Thanks Christine C!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Melon and mushroom fun

Hamakua mushrooms, oil, 5"x7" ($80 USD)

Watermelon slice, oil, 5"x5" (SOLD)

Honeydew slice, oil, 5"x5" (SOLD)

Cantaloupe slice, oil, 5"x7" (SOLD)

Melon seeds are HARD to paint! So, I took the melon scoop by the handle (or bull by the horns, whichever) and had at it. It did force me to take the painterly approach, which I sort of liked. I couldn't get too hung up on accuracy and it did flex my creative muscle so in a way, it was a good exercise ... tho' I won't be doing THAT again anytime soon. I painted the cantaloupe first and then the mushrooms last. Notice the pattern? Loose, less loose, kinda tight, and back to really tight again. My mantra this week ... flex that muscle ... flex that muscle ... flex that muscle ... Lord help me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Barn owl and peaches

Barn owl, oil, 5"x7" (SOLD)

Peaches, oil, 7"x5" ($100 USD)

Here are a couple more realistic paintings, where I tried a limited palette and the use of a single brush. In both of these paintings, I used a size 3, Series 77, Rosemary and Co pure sable bright brush (which I HIGHLY recommend) and just burnt sienna, raw umber, cadmium yellow, bright red, soft mixing white (and some titanium white) and mars black. I might have had some leftover cadmium yellow pale left on the palette. I haven't used mars black much and instead prefer the less harsh Payne's gray but I think in this case, it really needed the oomph of a rich black to create the stark shadows since the shadows were as much of the painting as the other colors.