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.