Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last 2009 Blog

It is December 31st, the last day of 2009; therefore, my last blog for the year. My prayer is that the year 2010 will not be as frightening as it is beginning to be, i.e. terrorists attempt, a shaky economy, and talks of more government control, which could eventually lead to a one-world government. What are we in for? I have no idea, but I know that God is in control.

Putting the negative aside, my blog today is about hope and a more enlightened year, at least for me, by broadening my walk with God. Part of that walk is praising and glorifying Him with my art. I have just completed, short of a few minor tweaks, two paintings that speak to his magnificence. I’ve posted them here before, but that was while they were both still in process. Here they are again:

The horses (18x18 oil on stretched canvas) were done at the request of my four-year old granddaughter. She absolutely loves “Ponies” and wanted this one to hang in her bedroom. She knows that God created them just as He created her.

The second painting (14x18 oil on stretched canvas) I call “Safe.” This one was done at the request of a friend who said she had this on her mind for days and thought I would like to paint it. She gave me her idea on a 3x3 post-it note. We are promised a safe haven with God the Father and the Son if we but believe and accept.

While waiting for these pieces to dry so that I could put in the last minor touches, I decided to do a sketch. I looked through pictures and photos that I have in my “library” and this one jumped out at me…

In Prayer
(9x12 graphite)

So, my friends, family and blog followers (you are also my friends)…my prayer for you in the coming year is love for one another; strengthening your faith, and remembering those in need - physically and spiritually. I will pray for much more for you. May you have a wonderful, prosperous and love-filled year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas - 2009

Here we are, the day after Christmas, sorting through pictures, gifts, cards, thoughts and reflecting on the day of the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. I live in a "Mother-In-Law" apartment attached to my son's home (why do they call it that; why not "Mother's" apartment - I've often wondered that)and in the past four Christmases that I've lived here; one of the children always knocked on my door at the outrageous early hour that little kids are up and chomping at the bit to see what Santa has brought for them. This year I fooled them...I set my alarm and my coffee pot for that outrageous Christmas morning hour and was in front of the tree dressed for Christmas morning with my cup of coffee waiting with my daughter-in-law and 8-year old grandson for everyone else to wake up. First came my 4 yr. old granddaughter being prodded along by Jack. My son dragged himself downstairs looking frazzled and worn out to the enth degree (he was the "bicycle-put-togetherer" and Santa's helper the night before) some 30 minutes after my arrival and my 18-yr. old grandson had to be strongly coaxed out of bed by dad much later when we just could not make the little ones wait any longer. When we were finally all gathered, cameras began. It was so fun watching the little guys open their presents from Santa and family.

Here's my 4-yr. old granddaughter trying to get ALL of her "ponies" and farm animals in her barn. She said to us..."How did Santa know to bring me the barn, I didn't ask him for it?" We perpetuated the myth by telling her that he knew what she was thinking. She is so into animals, especially horses and was absolutely thrilled with her barn and animals. She told us that when she grows up she's going to be a Vetenarian, sing and play all the instruments just like dad, and be an artist like Tutu (that's me - grandma).

Jack is 8-years old and this is his first Christmas knowing that Santa is make believe. When he first learned that several months ago he was very sad over that fact. After all presents were opened I asked him how he like playing Santa this year he said it was sooo fun. He outgrew his first bike so mom and dad got him a larger, fancier John Deere bike.

Ellie and Jack made sure each package went to the right person.

Surprise of surprises...Jack opening his X-Box. He had no idea and couldn't imagine someone giving him X-Box games by assured him it wasn't a problem and that it could always be exchanged for PS2 games...when all of a sudden Santa - in the guise of dad in his pjs - brings in a present he found in the hallway. I wish I had had my camera ready to get the expression on Jack's face when all the wrapping was ripped away...then came the tears of unbelievable joy.

Where is Jacob (the 18 yr. old) in all of may ask? Laying on the bean bag covered up with a quilt. I couldn't get a decent picture. He was very much an active participant; however, in that reclined position.

That's what Christmas is all about...the children. Even when they know what the season is all about, the presents take a front seat for that time, but they remember to wish Jesus a happy birthday!!!

I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas and didn't forget to wish Jesus a Happy Birthday and to thank His Father, God almighty for His Son. I love you all and thank you for following my blog.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Labor of Love

My last posting was a commission piece for a dear friend. This piece is a labor of for my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ for whom the celebration of His birth is what this season is all about.

The concept of the painting came about when one of my lady friends from my church handed me a post-it note and said..."This picture has been on my mind for days and I thought maybe you would like to paint it." There on a 3"x3" note paper was this tiny sketch. I took it and came up with this...very close to the initial sketch, but this is what I was led to do. Although there is still much to do on it I wanted to post it today in celebration of the birthday of Jesus. I call this painting "Safe"...from Proverbs 20:25..."whosoever putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe."

This painting has gone through a few renditions. This is my initial sketch, which I thought..."well, that's looking pretty good...I'll put it on canvas." Much to my dismay after laying in the paint, folds of clothing, hands...the whole works, I thought to myself..."no way can the left hand comfortably be in that position." That meant, removing His hands and most of what I had already painted and start over. I did that twice, until in frustration I had my 4-year old granddaughter take a photo of my hands in the position I wanted in the painting, and we are.

Sometimes life is tough and in our frustration we throw our hands up and say..."forget it." But, we need to hang in there, just as I did with this painting and something beautiful will surface.

Much love to all of you this wonderful Christmas Season. Celebrate with thanksgiving the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ who loves us all unconditionally. That with His love we will show our love for one another.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Second Commission

This is the piece that has kept me at my easel for the past 2-3 weeks. It is to be a surprise Christmas present for my friend's husband. He wanted this portrait done and especially wanted it done in black and white. I have never done an oil portrait in black and white before so needless to say, it was a challenge. I am pleased with the results and only hope she and her husband will be pleased.

All that's left here is my signature then it is on to couple of paintings I've had on hold.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Paintings

Yes, it is that time of the year again. I will be doing a couple of paintings for Christmas. One of which is my very first commission piece. If it turns out well, there may be more coming from that source.

My little granddaughter absolutely loves horses. She is four years old and like so many little girls she has many, many "My Little Pony" ponies...I would say about 70. She got her daddy to promise her that he will build her a barn for a horse when she is old enough to take care of one. Knowing her, she will not let him forget that promise. She has been begging me to paint her a picture of a pony. I've never, ever painted a horse before but thought I would surprise her with this. Unfortunately, she walked in on me working on it and now it will not be a surprise. Oh matter.

A friend of mine has a friend who wanted a painting done of a sister who has passed away and asked if I would be willing to give it a try. My friend paints, but didn't feel that she was skilled enough to do a portrait. The photograph I was given to use as a reference was not very good, but I thought I would take the challenge. I got the photograph a week ago and I think I'm done with it. I am not very happy with it, but can't find anything I can do to make it better. This is my first REAL commission piece and, needless to say, I really stressed over this piece. I'm hoping she likes it.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Man of Sorrows

I awoke one morning about a month ago with a feeling of urgency…maybe that’s not the word I want…maybe more “feeling impressed upon” to do a specific painting. I made a sketch, showed it to my son and explained to him my thoughts on the painting. The first thing he said in response was…”a man of constant sorrow.” Isaiah 53:3 says “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Let me show you by posting my latest “practice” work.

16x20 oil on stretched canvas

Detail...Christ's tears

As I mentioned above, this is a practice piece. I wanted to make sure that what I had in mind; I would be able to create before doing a large canvas. I am told that an artist should leave the interpretation of an artwork to the viewer, but I want no mistaking what I’m saying here…or is it really what the Lord is saying??

The background is the Orion cosmos. For your interest, the constellation Orion, which by the way is the largest and brightest constellation in the universe, depicts… the Glorious One, He Who Triumphs, coming forth as light. Something I learned in my Sunday school class after I did the painting. Isn’t that interesting? (The Greeks call Orion The Hunter). Christ is shown in His ascended glory looking down on earth; His left hand clutching at His heart in grief, while lifting His right hand off the earth in a gesture of both blessing and allowance (allowing man to make his choices, good or bad). He is crying because He is saddened at what He sees as man’s rejection of the Word of God.

Through the art forums I belong to, I have received suggestions on how I can make this piece even better and I appreciate that help very much. I am intimidated by doing a larger canvas, so I am not quite ready to tackle that yet, but I will when it feels right.

Mahalo and thank you for visiting.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Children of the Rainbow

In one of my earlier blogs I wrote on the hula and its place and importance to the Hawaiian people and their culture. In this blog, I would like to make you aware of what it was like to be brought up in this rich, proud, but defeated culture. "Defeated" may seem like a strange word to use here, but history tells us that the Hawaiian government was overthrown by greedy business men and Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned in her home...Iolani Palace. A story for another time.

I like to call the children of Hawai’i…Children of the Rainbow…because of the diversity of the races and the children that resulted from the inter-racial unions. They are beautiful in features and possess skin tones of varying degrees. I and my siblings are counted among these children. We were like free spirits; running barefoot and half-dressed, going home only when hungry or hurt. I remember my days as a child of the rainbow. No real responsibilities and life was filled with sunlight, beaches, and play. And through that time…Mama and Tutu Rose were always close by. I'm sure each of you can recall those days of the 40's and 50's when life seemed simpler. But those days passed quickly into another phase. As it says in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”

It was time to grow up. Go to school to learn the Western ways and learn to do the hula as most young Hawaiian ladies were expected to do during that time. Most people are not aware of it, but Hawaiian parents were forbidden to teach or speak the language to their children, not even in the privacy of their own homes. So, unfortunately, we – my siblings and I – did not learn the language to any extent. We knew words and phrases, but could not string it together enough to carry on a conversation. This was a fact that continued into the 50’s when there was some relenting. Also, the history of Hawai’i, geographically or politically, was not taught in the schools…nothing at all regarding the Hawaiian peoples was made available to its young people.

Hmmm…this is taking off in a direction I’m not intending to for this post. I just want to show you a couple of great pictures that I received from my niece and want to share with you.

Children of the Rainbow

That’s me, front row, second from left, my brother James Kaiwa is to my left. All of the young people of our church (and some not) danced to raise money for the church. We had a lot of fun being together.

My sister Charlene (second from left) and sis Leinaala (far right). The other two girls are my cousins. They’re dressed in costume for a dance called “Sophisticated Hula.”

Aloha for now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Self Portraits

It has been a little over a week since I last posted…my goodness how time flies.

I’m told that in the process of learning how to paint, especially if one decides to delve into portraiture, one should practice by doing a self portrait. Before really getting into painting I often wondered why would someone do a self portrait…is it ego? I have discovered that it is a great way to practice. Your model is always handy and there is no charge for the sitting. Where can you find a better deal? I’ve gone onto artists websites and found that some of them have done several…one artist mentioned doing a self portrait at least once a month. Even the Masters have done self portraits, many of them more than one. So, if the Masters have done it, then why not me? I'm sure it can only help me hone my portraiture skills.

Sometime back I decided to give it a go and this is what I came up with…

This is my first attempt. Not very good, but my family did recognize it as me.

This one I call “Melancholia.” I did it for a challenge with the painting website. The challenge was to do an expressive self portrait. I decided on this composition because I find myself in this position many times, especially when I’m studying a piece that I’m working on. Also, with the hands being such a large part of the overall composition, it gave me an opportunity to work on hands…something I’ve always had problems with. I was surprised that I did get some pretty decent feedback on it. I think its time to do another one. I could paint from photos, which I have done on many occasions and I do have some fantastic photos of people from foreign countries in their cultural dress in great poses, but I want to be able to paint from life; therefore, the self portrait.

These are both done in oil on 9x14 canvas board.

Until next time, mahalo for visiting.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Local Festival

Last weekend I participated in a local festival that turned out to be more of a learning experience than anything else. I did go into it knowing that sales would probably be nil, but I had not done anything like this before and did want to get a feel of what it would be like to show in one of these outdoor events.

This photo was taken while I was still setting up.

The weather was ideal that day…mild temperatures, clear skies and a slight breeze to start the day. My son set up the canopy for me. Arrangements had been made with the promoter to have a display rack available for me to hang paintings. That was the first disappointment. Although the rack was made to my width and height measurements, I expected more than 2x4 pieces randomly placed between the panels…what I did expect was solid panels where the paintings could be hung solidly. There were pieces I didn’t even take out of my car because I knew I would not be able to hang them. The wind would come up every so often so the paintings you see hanging on the left kept being blown off the rack so ended up being propped up under the table…and they were still blown over.

Further disappointing was the fact that I was the only artist there and my art was not conducive to the theme of the festival. I didn’t realize that it was to be a festival honoring Jesse James and his exploits, which included re-enactments of gunfights and bank robberies. Not all was negative; however, I did get a lot of positive feedback from those who stopped by to take a look. One very classy-looking lady said that the setting did not do my artwork justice. I was glad she mentioned that.

On the upside, I learned quite a bit…like what was needed in this kind of exhibition. I became comfortable talking with people who had questions, something that makes me nervous…that is talking about my art. So, all in all, even though I was glad when the day ended I learned a lot from this venture. Will I do it again? That would depend on a few factors…most importantly, that the event is also geared toward original artwork.

That's it for now...see you again soon.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kai - A Boy and His Ball...Pau (finished)

16x20 oil on stretched canvas

With the help of friends/fellow artists on the Forum I have finally finished this portrait of my grandson Kai. Needless to say it was truly a joy to work on this piece.

Let me tell you a little bit about Kai. His name means Sea Water or Ocean. He is eight years old, home schooled, a new cub scout, a Lego builder, a Star Wars fan, knows everything an eight-year old boy could know about sharks, and loves the Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ. He is a gentle person, slow to anger and still loves to be hugged. He is not an angel but I cannot recall a time when he was belligerent, mean, or disrespectful to anyone and I spend a lot of time with him and his sister.

His name brings to mind the ocean and how it was so essential to my life as a child and continues into adulthood. The ocean takes on many “moods”: calm and as smooth and reflective as glass; white capping and a little disturbed; or black, violent and turbulent with waves mounting high and with a roar crashing on the beaches. I remember the ocean in the back of our house in Kihei, Maui on so many mornings when we, as children, went to the beach. In my mind’s eye I see the ocean as we walked over that last crest of sand dunes…laid out like glittering crystal…not a ripple to be seen. Then there were the times when the wind was blowing so hard, and the sand was whipping across the beach stinging our legs bringing howls and tears of pain. Those were the times we ran as fast as we could straight into the water. For me the ocean was not only my playground, but a place to go to when I needed solitude time, reflective time, a time to be close to God – even when I didn’t know Him very well. Then there is the sweet aroma of the ocean…nothing in the world can replace that special scent that only comes when you are in close proximity to the ocean.

So much of my childhood was spent on the beach and because we were always barefoot, our treks to the beach were a journey in itself. The sand was always so hot that we had to run; hopefully finding little clumps of plant life where we would stand long enough to cool our tootsies, and then dash onto the next clump of green.

Remembrances of beach time were gathering shells with Tutu Rose to make shell leis (some of which I still own and use), gathering limu (sea weed), a’ama crabs and other Hawaiian edibles, again with Tutu Rose, all which we helped to prepare and eat. I must admit…a few of those edibles I could not eat.

Photo of a shell lei Tutu Rose made with shells I had gathered with her when I was a child. She's been gone 50 years now, so imagine how old this is.

Many times my uncle would take all of us to the beach at night to catch sand crabs. Armed with buckets and flashlights, we would be so excited. The buckets were buried in the sand up to the rim and the flashlights were used to either lure the crabs into the buckets, or it would lure the crabs toward you so that you could catch them…yes, barehanded! Me?…I was petrified. When they came toward me I would throw either the flashlight or limu at them. My uncle and siblings would get on my case because I would literally smash them little suckers. By the time we got home Tutu Rose would’ve already started the water boiling. Crabs were washed, dumped into the pot, and in no time at all, we all shared in a great Crab Fest. My love for the ocean has never waned even though I’ve been totally removed from it for so many years.

Aloha…Y’all till next time.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birds of Paradise

This weekend I’ve been invited to participate in a local arts/crafts/whatever show. The call to participate was a surprise because, although I knew the show was happening, I had not intended on hanging any of my artwork…one reason being that I did not have the equipment (i.e. racks, canopy, etc.) and didn’t really want the hassle of gathering up all the necessary equipment. The promoter of the show visited my online gallery, called me and said she really liked my work and would I consider showing my work at her upcoming event. Told her what my dilemma was and her response was that she would help me with anything that I needed. To make a long story short, I will be hanging my work this weekend. Once I had decided to do this I realized that I did not have any smaller pieces to show so thought I should get busy and hopefully come up with a couple of pieces. Wracked my brain for a subject and came up with “Birds of Paradise.” I did these in such a hurry and it shows, but all considering, I do like them and will show them on Saturday…especially since I have no other smaller pieces. I really enjoyed doing these so may just continue with more birds of paradise, but will certainly take more time and care.

The scarlet I’iwi (ee-EE-vee) or Hawaiian Honeycreeper. Although only 6” long, this bird is one of the most spectacular and beautiful birds found in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s long peach-colored, sickle-shaped beak probes for nectar from tubular-type flowers, feeding primarily on the Ohi’a nectar, but also catching butterflies, moths, and other insects. That squeaky, irritating sound you may hear is their song…a surprise for such a beautiful bird.

Its orange-red feathers, which were used to make the feather capes, helmets and other apparel and symbols of Hawaiian royalty was very much valued and sought after in Hawai’i’s days of old. To get these feathers, the royal bird catcher went into the forests seeking out the trees with blossoms that attracted the I’iwi. A sticky sap was smeared on the branches of the selected trees. Often times the bird catcher would imitate the bird’s song or recite a special chant to lure more birds. Once the I’iwi landed on the sap, he would be pa’a (stuck) and easily captured.
Although the species does live in drier areas on Hawai'i as low as about 1,000', it is most commonly found above 3,200' of elevation, where disease-carrying mosquitoes are not present. I'iwi are still fairly common on most of the islands, it is rare on O'ahu and Moloka'i and no longer found on Lana'i. Most of the decline is blamed on loss of habitat, as native forests are cleared for farming, grazing, and development. Another threat has been the spread of avian malaria.

The Raggiana is a rather large bird, measuring approximately 13” in length. Its habitat is primarily in southern and northeastern New Guinea. It is the national bird of Papua, New Guinea and appears on their national flag. The adult male has trailing orange plumes, green chin, and yellow crown and nape. The female is dull brown. They are very vocal. Flight is undulating and floppy.
Many people consider the Raggiana among the most beautiful and interesting of all birds because of their spectacular plumage and intricate mating dances. Plumage varies from all black to red, orange and iridescent green, to muted shades of brown. They are related to crows, and share such characteristics as strong feet and toes, a strong beak, good flying endurance, and loud voices.
The PNG government allowed the capture and export of three species by Honolulu Zoo in 1987. Since then Honolulu Zoo has successfully propagated all three: Raggiana Bird of Paradise (Count Raggia's Bird of Paradise, or simply the Raggia), Magnificent Bird of Paradise and Superb Bird of Paradise.

Red Crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) is a bird species in the tanager family of birds. It is found in northern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is about 7.5 “ in length and was introduced to Hawai’i in 1930 from South America. The Red-crested Cardinal feeds on the ground for seeds, plant matter, insects, and fruit. Often found in pairs or small family groups. Also known as the Brazilian Cardinal. With its introduction to Hawai’i, it has become one of its more common birds.

Whoops, almost forgot…these paintings are oil on 8x10 canvas board. They are just finished so the paint is still wet. I still need a little bit more tweaking. You can contact me my email if you are interest in purchasing. Hope you enjoyed this posting. My apologies for the poor quality of the photos.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Kai - A Boy & His Ball (cont.)

Kai - A Boy and His Ball
16x20 oil

Sorry, I just realize it has been about ten days since I posted progress on this piece...long overdue. Unfortunately the photo is not true to color and I am disappointed in it; however, that is usually the case...a photo never does the real thing justice. A lot more yet to do on it, but other than the fact that I think more dark/light contrast is needed and he seems to appear older, I am pleased with it.

I'm not particularly fond of the title so I'm open to suggestions. Usually, I come up with a title at the onset of a piece or when I am in the actual creating/painting, but this time I can't get past my "temporary" title. That could mean that this is what the title should be...???

I live next door to my son and his family so quite often my mo'opuna will drop by for visits. While doing this painting Kai would pop in, look at the painting and make comment when something didn't look quite right or ask "why" I did such and such a particular way. For instance, he looked sad in the painting and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Kai walks in and says, "Tutu, my mouth is too low." That was exactly what was wrong...the downward curve of his mouth was too downturned. When that adjustment was made, he looked pensive not sad...just as I was trying to achieve. Too many times adults don't listen to what the children have to say and if we took the time to listen, it is amazing what we can learn from them.

Aloha till next time.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pele - Stories of the Fire Goddess

18x24 oil on stretched canvas

My rendering of Ho’opa’a (chanters) reconciling to the one God Almighty and the rejection of the goddess Pele
(see her in upper left sky).

Pele, known by Hawaiians to be the mighty and powerful fire goddess who, through myth and legend is, even to this day revered and respected by many native Hawaiians. In Hawaiian folklore she is reported to appear as a tall, beautiful young woman, or sometimes as wrinkled, old woman. I believe a large part of this reverence exhibited was the result of “first-hand” encounters and sightings…or at least perceived sightings of this fabled goddess. There are stories told that before the volcano erupted Pele was seen, sometimes in the company of a little white dog, walking in the area of the volcano. Today hula halau (schools of dance) dance to her honor, not necessarily that they believe she exists, but because it is tradition.

My nephew tells this story of driving with a friend late at night through a desolate area of lava beds on the Kohala coast of the Big Island and coming on a woman walking alone. They stopped to give her a ride and after going a short way, turned to speak to her only to find the rear seat of the car empty. He said his hair at the back of his neck stood on end and he knew he had just had a Pele encounter. My nephew’s recounting of his experience is just one of many such tales. Questionable?? No doubt, but each one telling of their “sightings” swears on their lives that it really happened.

My Tutu Rose believed in Pele - maybe believed is not the right word to use here, but I remember her warnings that we should always revere Pele. She used to tell us that if a woman, whether old or young, appeared at our door for a “handout” – never, ever refuse her request because it would be disrespectful and she would show her displeasure in a not so pleasurable way. As a little girl the Pele stories always intrigued me…I don’t know if I really believed or was just afraid not to believe.

Just had a thought...let me introduce you to this wonderful lady...Tutu Rose. She was always there for us, no matter what the circumstances. I remember her getting up to dance the hula during a family night of "kanikapila" (make music)and this was when she was well into her sixties. I loved my Tutu very much and miss her. She was huge influence on my life.

I mention in one of my earlier blogs how so much of who we are stem back to our childhood events...that goes doubly for the people who came before us...our ohana. They have all molded our character and if we are fortunate enough, we draw all the positive we can from their teachings.

Mahalo Nui Loa Kupuna (Thank you very much grandparent) and aloha till next time.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

KAI - A Boy and His Ball

This is slow going because other than the fact that I have not spent everyday painting, I am being meticulous about detail. I have done the underpainting, put the books on the bookshelf and tried to individualize each one. After that dries I will glaze over to blend into the chiaroscuro area behind his head. This is my first attempt at this technique, but I think this painting lends itself beautifully to that technique. For those who aren’t into art…Wikipedia defines chiaroscuro this way…

Chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark) is a term in art for a contrast between light and dark. The term is usually applied to bold contrasts affecting a whole composition, but is also more technically used by artists and art historians for the use of effects representing contrasts of light, not necessarily strong, to achieve a sense of volume in modeling three-dimensional objects such as the human body.

I don’t know what it is about this picture…is it just the sweet, loving child that he is that makes it so special for me? He looks kind of sad here…I need to correct that because he is not. I think it might be the droop of his lip/mouth…too much. I posted the reference photo on first posting; just click this link if you want to look at it again.

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3. Email your ideas and/or suggestions on what you would like to read/see more of to

Friday, September 4, 2009

OMG…Found This Wonderful Photograph

I have come to the conclusion today that I have way too much going on simultaneously. I paint, I write children’s stories (strictly for my mo’opuna), I am writing my memoirs and journal through scrap booking, and I’ve added my blog…all of this so that my progeny will know those who have come before them. I believe that leaving a “trail” for those who follow you is very important. A large part of who you are is not only traced through your blood lines – but also through your upbringing, environment and events throughout your life that negatively or positively shape the person you become. When you get to my age you will come to realize that all that you’ve personally experienced comes rushing back, in some cases, like powerful waves pounding the beaches…sometimes like gentle waves whispering those memories as they wash over island shores.

Anyhow let me get to the fun stuff…this photograph I rediscovered today while scrap booking. The reason I even found this is because my grandniece who looks exactly like her grandmother (Glori in the picture below) wanted to know what her grandmother looked like when she was younger. Unfortunately, not as clear as I would've liked it to be.

All four sisters are pictured here. I’ve laid out names I could remember by their positions. Fortunately, I was able to crop photo to what I've posted below.

Gloriann and Leina'ala

Charlene, me way in the back (white lei on head)

I was a mere child and along with my three sisters, being Hawaiian young ladies, had to learn to do the hula. Our teacher was our Auntie Hilda (I think I mentioned her in an earlier blog)…anyhow she was a strict teacher, from the big city of Honolulu who moved to small town Kihei on the island of Maui after she married one of my uncles. Glori, the eldest, was IMHO beautiful. She had 6-pak abs; long, long legs; and “stacked.” When she was home from school, with her girlfriends from boarding school I was always in awe…but then I was the “baby sister” and anything my older sisters did I soaked up like a sponge. This event is called an Uniki, which is a graduation for hula classes. I remember that we did it in the VERY old Kihei Theater (I'm pretty sure it was the early 50's). Let me describe the theater; the screen was on the stage you see there and the audience sat on old wooden benches and bleachers on dirt floors. If you looked up you could see the stars. I remember being so nervous about performing and looked to my sisters for encouragement. At least this is the way I remember it...memories have a way of looking different through different eyes.

> There are 3 ways you can make a real difference to this blog.
1. Share the link to this site with just one other artist, art collector, or someone who would be interested.
2. Post your thoughts in the Comments section.
3. Email your ideas and/or suggestions on what you would like to read/see more of at

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yay...I want to paint

After three weeks of not really being inspired or motivated to paint, I have finally "felt" like getting back into it. I'm pretty sure it has been because I haven't been feeling up to par and just lacked the enthusiasm. From time to time; however, the fog lifted enough from my brain to be able to blog.

I have three wonderful grandchildren who will indulge me by letting me take their pictures with the intent of getting a shot that would be perfect to paint. My oldest grandson Kalani (the heaven) is now in college...OMG where has the time gone!! The other two still at home are Kai (ocean) who is eight and Kiana (Hawaiian for Diana) is four. I love their Hawaiian names so I will be using them here. Needless to say, I must have hundreds of photos of them that I think would make wonderful paintings.

Spending the day with my two younger grandchildren a while back, I caught my 8-year old grandson in this great pose. Not a staged shot...just him being engrossed watching TV. I loved his expression and demeanor. He was totally oblivious to the fact that he was being photographed. Kai is a warm, lovable child who loves giving and receiving hugs. I live in an apartment which is an add-on to the main house and he almost always will come by on the way to do his chores to say "good morning Tutu." Kiana is a pistol. Smart beyond her years and has been conversing fluently since she was two, or maybe even earlier. It seems like she has always been speaking in sentences. She is the princess, a beauty with a mind of her own and a strong will. She comes to visit me frequently. Will on many occasions sneak in and try to scare me...she'll accomplish that on every try. I have a photo of her which I will be painting at a later time. I've painted each of them before and will probably continue to use them as subjects.

My mo'opuna (grandchildren) are God's reward. I'm sure all you grandparents out there feel just as I do. A thought I just had...if a woman thought about having children and the responsibilities it entails...playing such a huge role in the outcome of a person's life...we may think twice about becoming a mother. However, on the other side of the coin...with good, nurturing parenting we are rewarded with grandchildren. Hmmmm...come to think of it, for some, even without good, nurturing parenting we are still rewarded with grandchildren. I love being a grandmother.

Anyhow, this project will keep me busy for a while. I will post my progress at major steps. Right now, I am contemplating...OK, where do I start?

More later.

Friday, August 28, 2009

HA - The Breath

Have you ever wondered what the name Hawai'i meant? Let me translate literally for you.
HA - the Breath; WAI - the water (fresh water); I - God
Therefore, the Breath and Water of God

A visual; the breath of God constantly and gently bathe the islands in tradewinds as He all the while provides life-sustaining rains and surrounding oceans and rivers filled with nourishment for the people of this land since the beginning of time.

From this translation we come to the word "haole." Ha - breath, ole - not, without, lacking; therefore, no breath. It is a word used to describe the foreigner by the natives in the early days of the arrival of explorers such as Captain Cook and the coming of the missionaries. The form of greeting between the Hawaiian people was the rubbing of noses and the exchange of breath. This exchange was meaningful in the sense of indicating camaraderie, trust between the parties, and sharing of their essence. The missionaries and explorers would not participate in this greeting; and were therefore, referred to as Haole. I cannot, in my research, learn why the early foreign visitors to Hawai'i did not comply with this traditional greeting. I would think that on discovering a new land, an explorer would not hesitate to learn and participate in a tradition of its people in order to understand the tradition and lifestyle of a newly discovered culture. Could it have been a matter of personal hygiene or just the fact that the gesture was far too personal to share with a heathen? Haole...not a derogatory term in itself, but it may have become more so in modern times as more and more foreigners made their way to Hawai'i.

A preliminary sketch of a piece I would like to do depicting “HA – the Breath.” The young Hawaiian warrior has returned home after an extended ocean journey in his double-hulled canoe.

My Hawaiian dictionary translates the word haole simply as "white person" be he American, Englishman, Caucasian...formerly any foreigner, i.e. of foreign origin. There is also the term ho'ohaole, which is to act like a white person, to ape the white people or assume airs of superiory. A term most often used toward the hapa-haole (half-white) Hawaiian. I am hapa-haole, raised in Hawai'i the Hawaiian way and as a young woman moved to the mainland. When I went home for a visit many years later, a couple of islanders used that term to describe me...a term I didn't take kindly to. Personally, I use the term to identify a white person, just as I would say Chinese or Japanese or Black to identify a person of that race. I've been told that such descriptive terms are not politically correct. It surprises me that someone would be offended by being described by their race.

Unknown to most are the underlying prejudices that exist among the Hawaiian people which have developed over the years since the coming of the white man. Those prejudices are still evident now in the 21st century. It is more than the original travelers not exchanging the is the capturing and demise of a is the loss of a is the demeaning of a once proud race brought to its knees by greed. The bright side is the resurgence of a people who are not willing to sit back and watch it all slip away. The renaissance of Hawai'i has come through King David Kalakaua and his reinstating of the hula. The renaissance has been fueled by those who truly want to know from where they came...a movement that continues to grow in strength to the point that peoples of other nations want and do share in the wonderful art form of the Hula.

His Hawaiian Majesty David Kalakaua wrote in February, 1887 about the Hawaiian people: "Within a century they have dwindled from four hundred thousand healthy and happy children of nature, without care and without want, to a little more than a tenth of that number of landless, hopeless victims to the greed and vices of civilization. They are slowly sinking under the restraints and burden of their surroundings, and will in time succumb to social and political conditions foreign to their natures and poisonous to their blood. Year by year their footprints will grow more dim along the sand of their reef-sheltered shores, and fainter and fainter will come their simple songs from the shadows of the palms, until finally their voices will be heard no more forever."

Sorry for the heaviness of the topic. It is worth knowing; however, why a word came into being.

Aloha nui loa for now.

> There are 3 ways you can make a real difference to this blog.
1. Share the link to this site with just one other artist, art collector, or someone who would be interested.
2. Post your thoughts in the Comments section.
3. Email your ideas and/or suggestions on what you would like to read/see more of at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Sisters

It’s interesting that as you get older, that without having the intent, thoughts go back to earlier years.I’ve been told that this happens as you age, but being that I’ve never been at this space in time before I am just now discovering this to be fact. Can’t say whether I like it or not because then I have to admit that I am at that time of life. Actually a comfortable place to be, IMHO, because I am comfortable with who I am and am accepting of my past mistakes and human frailties.

I am remembering Wailuku, Maui in the mid ‘50’s. I had three older sisters… slim, long legs and extremely attractive. In order of age, they were Glori, Lei and Charlene…at least that’s the names I called them. They all had Hawaiian names, but Glori and Charlene went by their given English names. Lei did not have an English name and I was called by my Hawaiian name…Lokelani or Loke for short. Oh, almost forgot that we did have a brother…Kaiwa. He was the youngest of five and unfortunately he was kind of lost in the midst of all these women.

My sisters were popular, never lacking for dates. Needless to say our home never lacked for visiting young men. Glori and Charlene attended Kamehameha School for girls, a boarding school on the island of Oahu so other than holidays, they were gone for nine months out of the year. When they were home for summer vacation though they told stories of their in-school exploits…stories I loved hearing. Glori’s stories were the funniest because she was into everything. She was the “big man” on campus, had lots of boyfriends, and did crazy things. One story I remember really well is that after lights out she wanted to visit with the girls in other rooms, stripped down to her undies, climbed out the window and swung from window to window to get where she wanted to go. Can’t remember if she took her clothes with her. She told me this story herself so I have to assume it was for real. My sister Lei was an asthmatic through most of her childhood and spent a lot of time in the hospital. However, she still proved to be a typical teenager; having her share of boyfriends. In my opinion, compared to them, my life was pretty colorless.

Recently did this for a dyptich.
From front to back: Lei, Charlene and me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More on Iao Valley

Yesterday I blogged some on Iao Valley, a magnificent little valley on the island of Maui. I've since been reminded that according to stories and legends that have come to light from the pre-Christian days of Hawai'i, the Eternal Creator was also known as I'ao (Ee-yah-oy).

I'ao was the supreme light of the world. Iao Valley was named for this great diety. The rock pillar in the center of this valley, now commonly referred as "The Needle" was once a rock altar where the natives of Maui came to pay homage to their Lord I'ao. (excerpt from "Children of the Rainbow" by Leinani Melville).

At the head of the cast of the Hawaiian gods was the eternal creator, Teave (tay-ah-vay), also sometimes called I'O meaning soul, one's inner self. Teave was the "Soul of the World." I must say re-reading about the gods and religions of old and being a Christian, I find the similarities between the descriptions of old Hawai'i gods and the one true God so in tune with each other and their "positions" in the Heavenly hierarchy. I can't help but wonder if old Hawai'i was really a heathen nation (even with all their personal gods) they believed there was the Eternal Creator (the Father); Tane was the Son and all that emanated from the Father flowed through the Son. Is that not how Christians believe?...the Son, Jesus the Christ was in complete obedience to God the Father and all he did came from the Father.

Amazing food for thought.

Me ke aloha o Akua

P.S. Forgot to mention that Iao Valley was also the select spot for internment of the elite of the Hawaiian hierarchy. The bones of Hawaiian nobility were hidden so well within the valley so that they could not be found and desecrated.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Iao Valley

My father was 100% Hawaiian, my mother maybe 1/8 Hawaiian. It was my mother’s family that we were closest to, learned things Hawaiian from and lived with my Tutu (grandmother) Rose off and on for many years. There were five of us. In order of birth there was; Gloriann, Leina’ala, Charlene, me Lokelani, and the only boy Kaiwa. We were pretty close in age and I often wonder how my mother kept her sanity raising us. I don’t believe she had much help from my father. I say that because as far back as I can remember, there were long spaces of time that he wasn’t with the family. I don’t know why, but that was the case. I do remember one of his absences though when he was gone for a long time. He went to what was Canton Island to work and was gone for a couple of years. My mom, with the help of her family, kept us together…for that I will always be thankful to her. A lot of what I learned of my heritage came almost exclusively from my Tutu Rose. She told us the stories and legends of Hawai’i, most of them scary and prayed every night to her gods. I learned on being a girl from my older sisters and also learned on what not to do and how to keep from getting into trouble from them.

To get a feel for painting landscapes, I did a practice piece of The Needle in Iao Valley on the island of Maui. What was a simple, practice landscape turned out to be a powerful reminder that touched my soul deeply. It took me back to my childhood…the fun, the trauma, my siblings, my family… the emotions it invoked completely overwhelmed me. Not only was I so touched by it, but so were the family members who viewed it. For some it brought tears, for others deep reflection of the memories that surfaced at dealing with that time of their lives. Maybe as someone mentioned…the lone figure…the lost little girl??

As children we (my siblings and cousins) would trek up to Iao Valley by way of a cow path that led out of the small cemetery at the end of Vineyard Street in the town of Wailuku. We would swim in the Wailuku Creek at the Mahi’s pond and other ponds on our way to Kepaniwai Park and The Needle. On the way we picked and ate guava and nuts; drank the fresh, cold, sweet water out of the creek; picked clusters of ti leaves and rode them down the muddy slopes. When the ginger was in bloom, the scent of the flowers permeated the valley so thickly that it felt that the scent was completely absorbed by your clothing and even your body.

I recall a time when we, my mother, Tutu Rose and the kids, went to Mahi’s pond for a family picnic. After swimming for a while I went back to the car to change my clothes and get ready for some lunch. When I was changed ready to return to the fun, I looked out the window and found myself and the car surrounded by cows. I was petrified. I screamed and screamed, crying like a baby for my mother. The cows just stood there through all my caterwauling looking at me as if I was a complete idiot. Needless to say, both Mama and Tutu came running to rescue me. When they saw what was really going on they both let me know how silly I was being and that the cows would not have hurt me. How was I to know that, I’d never been that close to cows before. Check out this fun sketch, which was done for one of my art forum challenges called Silly Situations.

I often wish my children and grandchildren could experience the innocence of that time.

Aloha for now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Change of Pace

It has been a while since I’ve done any serious drawing so as a change of pace I thought I would draw instead of paint for a couple of days. Needed a break from the painting anyway and could surely use the drawing practice. I did three pieces…

Started with a very intense portrayal of my nephew...Then onto a tender piece I call "Keiki Kane" (male child). Then decided to do a piece with more of a challenge. I have never attempted to do a drawing with this much detail before, but did enjoy doing it very much and love how it turned out.

The practice was good and I found my love for drawing again.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Make A Joyful Noise - Continued

I'm sorry, didn't realize that it has been a while since I posted. Life gets in the way sometimes.

The word hula, the act of which is depicted in the painting below, literally translates as “dance.” As it is in so many other cultures, the hula was a religious ritual. Another translation of the word hula that I have read is…”a gift.” A gift to the gods in thanks for a reward of nourishment, both spiritual and physical. It is in the motions of the dancer that the offering was made. In other words, the hula was a way to communicate with the gods. The language of motion was not only sacred, but conveyed political, personal and profound views as well. As the word and concept evolved, the primary purpose of the hula remained the same…a means of communication. As a student of the hula, I was taught that the motions of the hula told a story. The story being told in the mele (song) which accompanied the dance. Sadly, the significance and importance of the hula degenerated into merely a form of entertainment for the tourist. In the past few years; however, a renaissance of the culture erupted into hundreds of hula halau (dance schools) being formed, not only in Hawai’i but in foreign lands as well. In the halau the kumu hula (dance teacher) teach the dance, culture and history of the Hawaiians/Polynesians to hundreds of eager students of varying ethnic backgrounds.

Taking an excerpt from an article written by Larry V. LeDoux for “Hawai’i” magazine.
“In the same way, mele (song) is both poetry and prayer – and often educational primer. In mele, language is essential. An old Hawaiian proverb states that, “In the word there is life. In the word there is death.” Words lend themselves to healing. Words lend themselves to destruction. This recognition of the power of language was and is vital to the Hawaiian artist, be he poet, priest or composer.

The mele had a significance to the Hawaiians which we – as members of a print-oriented culture – can never fully appreciate. In a culture with only an oral tradition, the olelo, or spoken word, holds a central place not only in communication but also in the transmission of culture. It was through chants that Hawaiians learned how to behave, how to plant, grow or harvest, fish or fight, build canoes or beat tapa, revere their elders, leaders and gods. Only through the chant could they learn how to mourn death, celebrate life, survive – and teach their youth as they had learned.”

What Mr. LeDoux does not mention here is a very important fact. It was also through chants that the genealogies of Hawaiian Ohana (family) were maintained. Each family had a primary person who was entrusted with the family genealogy, which was passed from one generation to another. Due to the fact that this was a culture with only an oral tradition, the importance of choosing the right person for this responsibility was paramount.

“Make A Joyful Noise”
Overall diptych: 31x24
Oil on stretched canvas

With this painting I am trying to bring the above explanation to the viewer. The olelo (spoken word) or mele (song) of the chanters, along with the movements and motions of the dancers, raise praises to the Almighty…always to His glory.

I’ve learned a lot doing this diptych. Firstly and most important is to make sure you have both sides ready for paint, (e.g. both sketched in) and that you have enough paint mixed, and making sure your values are correspondingly the same. As you can see in the above, I will have to make some adjustments. The story behind this painting is in the first post here.

Thanks for looking and your comments are most appreciated.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family Portraits

As most artists, I have done my share of family portraits and I would like to post some of them here. I’ve already posted a few of them such as “Captive Audience” and “Mo’opuna” (both in the post of Sunday, June 21, 2009) which are paintings of my grandchildren. Most recently, “From Whence I Come”… a portrait of my son showing his ethnicity (post of Monday, July 20, 2009).

"Soul Mates"
Private Collection
(16x20 oil...son and wife)

Private Collection
(11x14 oil…oldest grandson)

Private Collection
(11x14 oil…youngest grandson)

Private Collection
(18x24 portrait of oldest sister)

I’m getting ready to ship my sister’s portrait to her. Hope she likes it.

Aloha…that’s it for now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

From Whence I Come

My niece, who is a Kumuhula (teacher of dance) has become one of my followers…Welcome Mo’ikeha. She posted this comment in response to the latest posting of “Make A Joyful Noise.” She is an exceptional hula dancer and teacher…who was born and raised in California and now resides on the Big Island of Hawaii. Not being raised in Hawai’i has not lessened her “Hawaiianess;” the love for her people and their history…her mother kept that alive for her and her siblings. On this subject she is very passionate. That explanation aside, I want to post her comment here as my blog entry for today.

Aloha Auntie Loke…I love your blog site and your paintings. Especially, the ones depicting your sisters. When i started reading your bio i was offended and i will tell you why. First off I don't know if you wrote the bio or someone for you, since it is written that way, but here goes: Yes, we are related to Ali'i of Hawaii, which there are many, but the famous Navigating King Mo'ikeha is not a name that is "meaningless today", ask any Kumuhula or historian of Hawaii and they all know very well who you are speaking of. I don't want any of your readers thinking this way, because our Kupuna Mo'ikeha had a son named La'amaikahiki and who brought to Hawaii the 'temple drums'. Never before in Hawaii. This is very significant to hula and hula is not just another dance. It is the most stunning and meaningful of all of Polynesian dances. Hula documents the history of Hawaii, its environment and its people. It is poetry in motion. So La'a brought the temple drums to Hawaii and taught the hulas that go with them. Some believe that Laka, who is an important god of the hula was really, La'a, but that over the years names were changed as dialects change. I know Auntie you understand how important this is to Hawaii. There is a chant that is known by every Kumuhula (hula teacher). It is 'Eia Hawaii', also known as 'the Mo'ikeha' chant. Kamahualele, Mo'ikeha's astrologer/seerer, chanted this upon their arrival for the first time to Hawaii. A very significant chant that is still used today.
THE NAME MO'IKEHA CAN BE DESCRIBED AS ONE WHO FOLLOWS A COURSE OF ACTION, TO MASTER SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE, TO ATTAIN GREAT HEIGHTS, TO OVERCOME OBSTICLES AND SUFFERING..Ka Heke O Na Pua...the greatest of his descendents. I carry this name with great pride and for the reader who doesn't know Hawaii, a name is never forgotten.....God Bless you, Auntie Loke and all who took the time to read this long comment!

(Translations: Ali'i = royalty; kupuna = ancestors; La'a = dedicated, set apart for special purposes; La'amaikahiki = saying La'a was from Tahiti.)

To Kumu Mo’ikeha…I do know all you state above, but thank you so much for saying it with so much passion so that those who visit my blog will know that it is this passion I strive to show in my paintings. I know I come through the line of Mo’ikeha, the mighty Polynesian navigating king, a fact that I am so very proud of. I am extremely proud of the fact that my maiden name is Mo'ikeha and even if I don't use that name in everyday, I KNOW it's importance in my culture.

In this blog and in my bio I am speaking to people from all cultures who may or may not know their roots, but have pride in who they are and where they come from. Those of my culture hopefully know, through my paintings, what speaks to my heart.

Private Collection
Son’s portrait showing his ethnicity

This article has given me the opportunity to show another of my paintings…it goes right along with the topic. A painting idea I carried with me since my son was very young. I’m not totally happy with it, so plan to either rework it or do another. I'm sure an explanation is not necessary here, but just in case, the Indian image is Cherokee.

I have been looking for other topics besides painting to add interest to my blog and I think the history of my culture would be very interesting. Maybe even some childhood stories, legends from my Tutu (grandmother), and maybe adding a painting or sketch along with the story. Let me know what you think about this?

Aloha until next time…

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Make A Joyful Noise - Finish Part 1, Start Part 2

This is it…finally finished (with minor adjustments after it dries). If you recall back in my blog post of June 13, 2009, I gave the history of this piece. I witnessed this powerful event in 1992 and decided that someday I would attempt to paint it. I did a piece from memory last year and titled it “Reconciliation;” it did not reflect, for me, what I had in mind. It did; however, serve the purpose of conveying the message that Hawaiians turned from their gods and goddess of old to accept the one Christian God. I stumbled on the negatives of the photos, which I couldn’t believe I still had, developed them to be used as reference…coming up with what you see above.

18x24 oil on stretched canvas
Available for sale

Now, moving on to part 2 of this diptych…here is the start.

That day on the rim of Halema’uma’u there were about 30 dancers, so you can just imagine the power that emanated from the chanters and dancers …SPECTACULAR. These three dancers symbolize those 30 dancers. The pose is in praise of the Almighty, their features are of myself and my sisters. In searching photos for features for the dancers, I thought why not use our features…we were, after all, hula dancers from the time we were kids into adulthood. Using our features, I thought, would make it extra special…a family heirloom…maybe!!

A little story behind that… growing up, it was expected that young Hawaiian girls learn to dance the hula. My Auntie Hilda was recruited for that job and was a tough taskmaster. There were five of us…four girls and one boy. The boy was the youngest (poor kid) and I was the youngest of the four girls. My older sisters were ruthless and harassed me constantly about my dancing ability. So much so that I grew to hate the hula, and vowed to develop into a better dancer than any of them were. Whether I was able to accomplish that would be a matter of opinion among the four of us.

I don't want to bore you with the progress, so I will post this painting again when totally completed, unless I hear from someone to the contrary.

Aloha until next time.