16x20 oil on stretched canvas
With the help of friends/fellow artists on the About.com/Painting 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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