Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hawaiian mint (Stenogyne sp.)

Stenogyne sp., 5"x7", watercolor on paper

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

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Painting on plywood

Oil on wood, 5"x7"


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"

Lisa, oil on stretched canvas, 8"x10"

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!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Aeʻo (Hawaiian Stilt)

Aeʻo, oil on stretched canvas, 12"x12"

These adorable aeʻo or Hawaiian black-necked stilts (Himantopus himantopus knudseni) are native to Hawaiʻi and can be found wading in shallow waters, including anchialine ponds, estuaries, wetlands and even water hazards at golf courses. These birds are federally and state-listed as endangered.

The reference photo for my painting 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. 

Note: the light areas in the background is reflective glare from the wet paint. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Stocked up!


Aren't these lovely? I was missing my oils so I ordered a "lot" of Winsor & Newton artist oil colors from eBay. They finally arrived and I am now happily stocked up for months of painting before the next Volcano Village Art Studio Sale in November. I'll have original oil and watercolor paintings and some pencil drawings for sale and maybe the occasional clay sculpture so be on the lookout. I'll be posting paintings in preparation for it so you'll know what to expect when you stop by.

Hmmm, I just noticed I stock my watercolors in the same way, including my clothes in the closet. Yes, I arrange my clothes by color. Do people even do that?!

Irini's roses

oil on canvas, 5"x7"

The pinkish orange afternoon light on the bouquet of roses and rosemary that Irini made for our last group dinner together was especially pretty. She picked them from her gorgeous garden. That afternoon light is a color I've only seen in Greece, like the blues of the Aegean Sea. Early evenings were extra special because I was treated to the beautiful purple, orange, red, and blue sunsets that created natural art that I looked forward to every day. That light of the setting sun beamed into my "home away from home," lighting the front room and featuring shadows on the walls. 

I ended up using the oil colors I still had in my collection (as I mentioned in my last post, I left my favorite colors on Paros back in April). Alizarin crimson, Permanent green light, Azo Green, Cerulean blue, Phthalo tuquoise, Winsor lemon ... I think they were perfect for this painting and stretched my repertoire of colors. This might be a bit too dark but I like the starkness of it, which reminds me of the shadows I used to watch. I guess that is what art is for me ... a way to imbed in my brain the images and feelings of experiences. Even if I part with the pieces, the experience of painting the scenes and the feelings they evoke always stay with me. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Coffee and biscuit

Watercolor on 140 lb Arches - cold press, 5"x7"

Irini made biscuits and they were divine!  

I admittedly left my watercolor and oil paints in Greece because I decided to bring back some rocks instead. Yeah, nerd. Well, it was a weight thing too. I decided to catch a plane rather than the ferry so my options were limited. Still, yeah, I know ... crazy ... but I know I'll be back so it's not like it's a forever sort of thing. Still, it does leave me with only a few of my favorite oil colors here so I figured I'd paint in watercolors instead until I resolve my predicament. 

Switching back and forth between watercolor and oil is good exercise for my brain. Had to think "light to dark" rather than "dark to light" with oil paints and one can't force watercolors like you can oils. I keep forgetting that with watercolors, you have to start with a good drawing foundation. There is no fudging like you can with oils so this painting is a bit wonky but I like it tho'. Maybe because it reminds me of my new friends in Greece. I still miss them.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"I thought this would be an art journey but it was actually a heart journey."

Anacamptis pyramidalis, watercolor on 140 lb watercolor paper, 8"x10"

Being back for 2 weeks from a wonderful stay on Paros, Greece, I still feel the pangs of homesickness.

As I painted this native Anacamptis orchid, I was filled with gratitude to have experienced a very special month on a very special island and to me, it captures something even more subtle. These orchids are out for a short time during Spring, are rather obscure in form but showy and delicate and just plain beautiful in my humble opinion. And, it represents my stay on Paros. I was blessed to have filled my days in the company of amazing friends who I miss every day, to revel in sunny days in Kamari peppered with dog and cat kisses, surrounded by beautiful plants and birds and the hum of thousands of bees, taking in the sweet smell of honey in the air after a brief spring rain ... all this wrapped in antiquity that I still have trouble wrapping my head around. My stay was brief and memorable and just plain beautiful.

This painting lives on Paros with a sister friend. :)

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 (Not for Sale)

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!