Thursday, November 15, 2018

`Apapane is home.

oil on canvas, 12"x6"

I had been walking through the kipuka along the east-facing slopes of Mauna Loa a couple weeks ago and was struck by the lushness of the flora. We were literally enveloped by hāpu`u (tree ferns, Cibotium glaucum) and other endemic ferns. `Apapane, `i`iwi, `amakihi, and `oma`o were calling all around us. I needed that time to be immersed in nature and I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear because it is exactly where I needed to be. It is where my heart will always be and I feel the most at home in it. It was hard to leave that day but I wanted to paint something to remind me of that very special place.

The challenge in painting this scene was deciding where the focal point would be and by using hue, value, chroma, and sharpness, the journey your eyes would take through the painting. I don't know if I'm very successful in this painting but I did try. If you squint, you can see what I mean. It's hard not to notice the `apapane, which has the highest chroma (saturation) and then the highlights on the fern fronds are meant to draw you from the left to the right of the painting, down to the bottom right, where you end in a deep shadow, where it's a bit suspenseful because there's only a hint of what's under those fronds. Or maybe it doesn't matter. I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wake uuuuup!

Rooster, oil on canvas, 12"x12"

This is an ode to the roosters that have moved in down the street. I don't mind their crowing so much but it's probably because they aren't next door. Huge wattles, yes? And that comb sits on his head like a crown! This is the kind of rooster that is the king of his neighborhood!

I chose complementary colors for this one. It's a fairly large painting (the largest size that I've done so far) but I was able to do most of it in one sitting. Most people may not notice that I tend to use the alla prima or wet-on-wet method, which presents challenges when I pile the paint on. If I fuss with it too much, the colors get muddied and I just create a puddled mess. In this case, I embraced it and used bold strokes and laid down the colors fairly quickly, then finished it with details by pushing the paint about. I've noticed that most people that use the alla prima method paint fairly painterly. In my case, I try to infuse as much detail by moving the paint about with my brush, leaving the brightest highlights for last in which I place on top of the wet paint with a very small "0" brush. Most of my small paintings take between 4 and 8 hours. I came back to it a couple days later to lighten up the feathers of the rooster and decided to leave the black feathers unsaturated (i.e. grayish), which I think gives is a more realistic look, as if they were "feathered in" with the white ones.

`Ōhelo in the rain

`Ōhelo, oil on canvas, 10"x8"

`Ōhelo or Vaccinium reticulatum is probably my favorite Hawaiian plant. The fruit are usually tart, sometimes sweet and comes in a variety of colors from yellow, orange, red, to purple. This species is a cousin of blueberries and like blueberries are collected for pies and jam. But, in Hawai`i, we first ask for permission to pick and in reverence, offer the fruit to Pele, the Goddess of Fire, before picking some for ourselves. And, we always leave lots of fruit on the bushes for nene (Hawaiian geese) and other native birds.

I've been choosing to paint on larger canvases and this one is 10"x8", which means changing my painting style to larger brushes, larger brushstrokes, and getting used to a larger drying time. It has also meant making more conscious decisions on areas to keep sharp and distinct and areas to push back into the distance. It is easier to fudge that with smaller pieces. Painting larger also has meant needing to step back from the painting from time to time to to take in the whole painting where I just held it at arm's length when painting much smaller pieces. It's a learning process, isn't it? Maybe my next step will be to purchase an easel so I can paint even larger!

My favorite part of this piece, besides painting the luscious fruit, was adding the red and green leaves. I used a myriad of colors for this piece, sometimes leaning toward the cool cerulean blue and sometimes toward the warmer cadmium red. I love painting with complementary colors!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Volcano Village Artists Hui Studio Tour and Sale 2018

2018 Event

The Hui members and their guest artists cordially invite everyone to the 32nd annual celebration, Thanksgiving weekend, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 23, 24 & 25th.


Every November on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend, Hui members open their doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the annual art studio tour and sale. Visitors are welcome to meet the artists and to view the elegantly crafted artworks as well as moderately priced items.

With Volcano Village being a nexus for fine art and crafts, art patrons and holiday shoppers are drawn to the area for this special event. Maps to the studios and exhibit locations are available at businesses and galleries in Volcano Village or may be downloaded from the web site (click here)

Mooooooving on

Cow, oil on canvas, 7"x5"

Saturday, October 27, 2018

`Io - Hawaiian Hawk

`Io (Hawaiian Hawk), oil on canvas, 6"x8"

Friday, October 26, 2018


Tangerines, Oil on canvas, 8"x8", for sale (see below)

Interested in buying this painting? It will be available at the Volcano Village Art Studio Tour and Sale in Volcano Village, Hawaii starting November 23 through November 25, 2018! I'll be a guest artist at Emily Herb's Apapane Pottery Studio on Keonelehua Street. Emily, our host artist, will be selling her beautiful Hawaiian species-inspired pottery and Charlotte Forbes Perry will be there as a guest artist with ceramics and stained glass featuring the many native species found on the island. If it's cold, I'm sure we'll have a fire going. Come warm yourself as you enjoy the nature-inspired artwork and if you're inclined, please support the artist's of Volcano by purchasing the many one-of-a kind pieces available for sale. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pet portraits available!

Xena, oil on canvas, 8"x10" (Not for sale)

Lani, oil on canvas, 5"x5" (Not for sale)

Honoring our beloved pets! These are two portraits I did of two dogs that I've loved. The bottom one is of Lani, who was my brother's family's pup. She had a wonderful life and lived to a ripe old age. She'd always greet me at the door with such excitement that she'd always pee! Like her own family, she knew she had my heart. 

The top painting is of Xena, who was my friend-family's dog and lived two doors down the road. She was a smart one and would be tempted to jump on me when I fed her when her family was away but she didn't ... she just held her two arms up like she was dancing! That always made me laugh. She's truly missed.

If you're interested in a pet portrait, please feel free to contact me. I can paint them from a clear photograph that captures their personalities. If you're unsure, we can go over the photos you have to pick out the best one to capture.

For starters, here are examples of prices:
5"x5" - $115
6"x6" - $125
5"x7" - $125
8"x10" - $175
12"x12" - $225

Contact me soon before the holidays as I probably won't be taking as many commissions from October - November 2018 since I'll be prepping for the Volcano art studio tour! 

Pet portraits make the best personalized gifts!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Volcano Village Artists Huiʻs 31st Annual Studio Tour and Sale!

The Volcano Village is abuzz with activity as the Village artists are preparing for the annual studio tour and art sale. If you're free Thanksgiving weekend, please join us in the Village (see the map below). I'll be at Emily Herb's studio as a guest artist and will have some new paintings, like those I've featured here on my blog. There will be original artwork and prints to fit any budget!

If you aren't already a fan of Emily Herb's, you will be! Her amazing ceramics feature native birds and plants and are always simply gorgeous! Visiting her studio is like visiting a museum ... where you can buy the artwork! Charlotte Forbes Perry, another guest artist, will have beautiful one-of-a-kind ceramic tiles and stained glass pieces ... including other ceramic surprises. Charlotte is a biologist at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park so you can bet she has a special connection to her subjects.

Visit all of the artists in the Hui and get a stamp on your postcard at each studio and turn them in for a chance to win a piece of artwork from one of the Hui artists or guest artists! Postcards will be available at each studio.

Hope to see you all in Volcano soon!

Hawaiian forest-living

Hāpuʻu-ʻŌhi`a forest, 6"x12", oil on canvas (SOLD)

Some paintings take a year ... Yup, I started this one in November of last year and set it aside after the initial blocking in. It's a view of my backyard, from the view of my "studio" so I knew I would be able to get back to it because I see this view every day. The ʻapapane (red native honeycreeper birds) outside were calling from the same trees so I took at as a calling back to the painting. 

I havenʻt decided whether to paint in the birds or leave it as is. What do you think? Does this need a spot of red?

Please excuse the highlights. The painting is still wet. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It's persimmon season!

persimmons, 5"x7", oil on canvas ($80 USD) 

Crunchy sweetness is about all I can say about these persimmons! Their lovely shades of yellow to almost reddish orange made these great subjects for my little painting. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Halema`uma`u and koa`e kea

Halema`uma`u and koa`e kea, 8"x10", oil on canvas (SOLD)

Living within a mile of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park provides me with lots and lots of opportunities to visit the summit of Kilauea and watch koaʻe kea (white-tailed tropicbirds) fly around Halemaʻumaʻu crater. We usually see them flying around so far away (like the distant one I painted) that they are merely blurs so I decided they deserved a closeup. I mightʻve chosen a better pose but I enjoyed painting a different view of the bird.

This painting also tasked me to paint believable steam/smoke and I have to admit, it was a bit challenging. I viewed Wilson Bickfordʻs video on YouTube a while back that created a beautiful foggy scene by applying a thin coating of gel medium over dry paint and always wanted to try it ... until I realized I didnʻt have the gel medium he spoke of so I gave it my best shot using the medium I mixed myself. Light circular brushstrokes using a soft clean brush created a bit of wispiness that I was looking for. I think I need to use more medium next time. I'm working on a new painting so I'll have another shot at it.

The reference photo for the koa`e kea is, by permission, from Randy Bartlett who is not only a great biologist and program manager but also a professional conservation photographer. You can purchase his photographs or make a donation to his non-profit, Endangered Hawaiʻi. Heʻs also on Instagram: Endangered Hawaiʻi. A portion of the proceeds of this painting, including any of my other drawings or paintings of endangered species, will be donated to local conservation programs as well so they can continue to protect the species that make Hawaiʻi so unique. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nene goose (Branta sandvicensis)

Nene, 8"x10", oil on canvas ($120 USD)

Going bigger to 8"x10"! I'm still working on this painting but was just feeling happy about how it was going that I figured I'd post it now before I do the final touches. I just think these geese are so pretty. I think they're a favorite bird to paint in Hawaii because they tend to stand still and allow you to take pictures or paint them. So, not wanting to be typical, I opted to try something new and put this goose in front of a simple background, just to show off its adorable face.

ʻŌhelo (Vaccinium reticulatum)

ʻŌhelo, 5"x7", oil on canvas (SOLD)

Back to my oil painting! Iʻm getting ready for the Volcano Village Artistʻs Hui Sale coming up Thanksgiving weekend. If youʻre around, please stop by Emily Herbʻs Studio. Iʻll be there as a guest artist and will have original paintings like this one and some prints ... and a few surprises!

ʻŌhelo is one of my favorite plants to paint, not only because of the colorful berries (theyʻre related to blueberries, btw), but their leaves are colorful, with hints of red, orange, and yellow. The berries are usually tart and rarely sweet like blueberries but they make great jam or great just eaten off the bush. This painting was actually a bit of a struggle because my reference photos were pretty monochromatic so I had to draw out the colors and exaggerate some. I used a bit of retouch varnish last night, with the plan of fixing some of the details. I quite like that dangling branch with the rain drops. :)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hawaiian mint (Stenogyne macrantha)

Stenogyne macrantha, 5"x7", watercolor on paper ($100 USD, matted & framed)

Hawaiian mints are pretty special. Unlike many mints, they've lost their scent, having evolved in the absence of predators here in Hawaii. Now, mints are getting more and more rare, because of rooting and browsing by feral animals coupled with their short life span. We found this one in S. Kona. The touches of pink on its flowers really drew me in (pun intended). 

Maybe outlining watercolors may be a bit like cheating, at least that is what I've always thought. But, now, I don't think so. It's a look that reminds me of my favorite artist, Garth Williams. His artwork in Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little has brought generations of kids so much joy and I don't think he followed the rules of art. I'm realizing art is not a set of rules but an expression of what's inside. My recent paintings are a nod to Mr. Williams (THANK YOU!) and the little chuckle inside when I get to paint inside the lines. :D

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pūkiawe (Leptecophylla tameiameiae)

Pūkiawe (Leptecophylla tameiameiae), 5"x7", watercolor on paper (SOLD)

Dew drops on pūkiawe glisten in the sun as I walk along the crater rim trail in the Park. The air smells of a mixture of warm cinder and sweetness of molasses grass that grow alongside. Nevertheless, the air is crisp on the verge of too chilly for a walk. Still, the pretty sight is worth it.

This is my painting weekend and I've been planning it for weeks! Made a big pot of stew, a mug of hot coffee, and plugged in the music. Found myself humming and smiling while painting, taking special care to not dip my brushes in my coffee. :)

`Oha wai (Clermontia parviflora)

`Oha wai (Clermontia parviflora), 5"x7", watercolor on paper ($100 USD, matted & framed)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Painting on plywood

Oil on wood, 5"x7" ($80 USD)

It's been 30+ years since I've gessoed a board so it was a relaxing Saturday event. I gessoed a few boards, varying the texture and will reserve some for multiple coats. While I LOVE the feel of a brush on canvas, I figured I'd try an alternative to decide which I like better. And I must say the sound of a brush on a board is luscious but it's pretty hard on my sable brushes. I'll need to break down and get me some hog hair or synthetics for the early stages of the painting and save my sables for the finishing touches. I say luscious because it is an audial experience as well. Running my brush across a board (I didn't sand it by the way, opting for more texture) ... was a bit like painting sandpaper. I can imagine my sables getting whittled down to nubs! It grabs the paint very unlike a canvas. I like it. I'll need to test the boards out a bit more but I think it may be a new fave.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

JKPP (thvedl/Lisa) ... "Blue"

"Blue" (Lisa), oil on stretched canvas, 8"x10" ($120 USD)

S-T-R-E-T-C-H! Lisa provided a wonderful black and white photo for us to draw and paint on Julia Kayʻs Portrait Party. I didnʻt take the plunge to translate it into a color painting so decided to do a monochrome but with blue instead. It did stretch my brain but I loved the challenge. I also jumped to a larger size, 8"x10", this time. Feel free to leave constructive feedback!