Part of my absence from the blog over the last month or so has been due to creating a new body of small works for this show. All watercolor.
Here are some of my favorites-
Remnant, Nu’uanu was painted directly in one go, and in that respect I think it’s the most successful painting. This grand old house is empty of occupants and so far I have been unsuccessful in learning much about it. I love painting white objects struck by sunlight, and that was probably the original motivation to stop and look the place over. I think the strength of the painting is the full value range, bright light to strong darks, and that horizontal of red surrounded by greens of all sorts, making a compelling motif.
I was standing in the driveway and peering through an iron gate while painting this, with a couple lanes of busy highway traffic (The Pali Highway) only a matter of yards behind me. I often work this way it seems! If you live on Oahu and travel the Pali, you’ve undoubtedly passed this old classic and probably not realized what was behind the hedge. If anyone has any information on the house, I’d appreciate knowing about it.
Kamaina is actually the name of this very busy beach in Waikiki. I’ve spent a lot of time around here and have painted several variations of this theme. The light and shadow are very stimulating, there is a lot going on and painting that requires a very quick approach that seems almost reckless at times. The figures were never really there for more than a few minutes and so were devised from some very rapid sketches done while I was visiting the area. I have a post -in-waiting on how I was able to do that.
Natatorium-Late Afternoon was painted from location originally but didn’t turn out, and this is probably the third version I attempted, mostly a studio piece from the original sketches and imagination. The architecture was drawn at the location, something I enjoy attempting simply because of the sheer difficulty (and my obstinance) and color added from a small color sketch. It’s only a stone’s throw from the location of Kaimana. There’s serious talk of demolition of this old monument, but a lot of the attraction for me is the elegant architectural style and quality of light here at day’s end.
Plumeria and Palms has the full-on vibrancy of color and impact of light which is it’s sole reason for being. Painted up at Chaminade University, I also attempted a larger version that is unresolved at this point.
Waikiki-Promenade is another of the small study-paintings, about 7 x 10″, that like Plumeria and Palms I find fully satisfying as-is. This was painted entirely on sight, but over two evenings due to the fickleness of the light effect. It’s a delightful place to be at the close of the day, a lot of happy people simply enjoying their lives in this beautiful place. I personally think a small painting of joyful elements is a very fine thing to have in a corner of a home…we need reminding of how good life sometimes can be, do we not?
Evening- Windward Oahu is a labor of love for me….this place is very close to home, and I have continual access to it for painting purposes. I have rarely, if ever, have done it perfect justice. It’s simplicity is deceiving…this sort of painting seems to work best when pulled together in an unstudied and direct manner, and that doesn’t always work. Watercolor paint doesn’t dry quickly in the evening, and so timing is everything.
It’s the same ingredients, tree shapes, colors, figures, but never the same combination twice. So, I keep painting here, trying to change the emphasis or get closer with the color of the light, knowing that like everything in life, one day will be the last time. That reality gives me a bit of urgency, not to take the opportunity for granted.