Friday, June 29, 2012


Rain A-Sea
8 x 6
June 2012,
It's Plein Air and More weekend at Cannon Beach.  I have committed to painting at Ecola Viewpoint.  It's raining, with some wind, and pretty cold for June.  I set up for painting small paintings in my car.  I have the sliding door open, and people wave at me as they walk by.  It's hard for anyone to watch me paint, but it's miserable out there.  One benefit of crummy weather is lovely clouds.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Low-Hanging Clouds
8 x 6
April, 2012

Sunriver is just as wet as western Oregon this weekend.  The amost-budding willows give a different palette to the landscape, though.  I am content to paint from inside the van; the glimpse of the river lifts my spirits.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Spring Willow
6 x 8
May, 2012
Karen Whitworth is visiting Portland and there is a break in the rain.  Coincidence?  Karen and I join several Portland area painters at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron garden, where we scatter around the ponds, painting water features, rhododendron, and even the ducks on the water.  It is an idyllic day, just the right temperature for prolonged standing outdoors.  A welcome bit of spring.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Molokai Hidden Cove
8 x 6
Molokai is a prime place for gorgeous, quiet beaches.  The sand is typical Hawaiian ground shell and coral of a pale mustard color.  Many beaches have a fringing shade.  There's a downside to taking shade under an acacia.  Thorny twigs fall all around them, hiding in the sand and volunteering to poke  through flip-flop treads.  The shade is thready, but many degrees cooler than the sun-heated sand or bare red dirt.  Red dirt is everywhere on the island.  The resort very cleverly gave us brown towels to take to the beach.
The water is amazing.  An intense ultramarine-turquoise blend through much of the day.  It is just cool enough to make you suck in your belly when you get in, but then refreshing, and warm enough to stay in.
We spend several hours alone on one of the beaches.  If you find the beach too crowded, easy to find another one not being used, at least on weekdays.  All of them have the same pale sand, red dirt, turquoise water... a color-fest.  Was that a cardinal I saw in that bush?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Molokai Beach at Sunrise
16 x 12
We head into town for the biggest excitement of the week: a sing-along at the hotel.  In the bar, a local professional musician is leading a group of local singers/ ukelele players in Hawaiian music.  We enjoy watching the sun go down as more and more people gather to play along.  They have huge tomes of lyric sheets.  As the evening wears on, I realize that they are playing nearly everything in the key of G.  I hear the same lead-in progression several times in a row.  Oh, now they play in F.  The pro musician reminds everyone what the chords are in F.  The whole thing reminds me a lot of when my parents played barber shop music in our living room.  (Same chord progressions too.)
Later on, Rick and I decide to have dinner.  But no, the kitchen won't be open until 6.  Since we got up at 5 AM, this is a no go for us.  We retreat to our condo and make our own dinner as the sun finishes setting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Palms and Headland
16 x 12
At dusk the feral cats and toads come out.  This is coincidental, as the cats have absolutely no interest in toads. They are interested in people as a source of food.  There are signs everywhere saying, Please don't feed the cats.  But many people have trouble seeing these creatures as wild animals when they are so soft and fuzzy and begging.
The toads have their own problems.  Along the road to the beach we found some 20 of them, squashed and desicated.  This is, after all, dry country, and what dies in the road dries in the road.  Sad for the toads, but the flattened toad mummies don't seem to indicate much decrease in population.  We see several live hoppers on the way to our room.
I read that these are the infamous cane toad.  Despite their rep for causing ecological havoc, as individuals they look innocuous.  I have a certain amount of sympathy, being a non-native creature myself.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Outside our Lanai is a dwarf banana "tree".  It has a nice bunch of bananas growing on it, and we are sorely tempted to pick them since there were no bananas at the grocery.  But these are still green.  I read up on bananas and find out that if they are immature, they won't ripen.  I cut a test banana from the top of the bunch and put it in a bag with an apple (puffing hard with ethylene gas.)  If this one ripens, the bunch is ready.  After all, what's the point of coming to Hawaii if you can't have your apple bananas?

Two days later, the apple has puffed itself into mush but the banana is barely more yellow than when I picked it.  I take a drive to a farm store (which is now open because the Memorial Day weekend is over) and buy lots of apple bananas.  We also decide to try another variety which should be ripe on our last day.

As we are getting ready to leave, all that remain are the unknown other variety of banana and the test banana I picked. We try the unknown variety and it is rather like bananas at home.   Not too exciting.  I open our yellow-green banana and we split it.  Yum!  Ripe just in time.  Someone else will have to enjoy the rest of them.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Sunrise and Trade Winds
8 x 6
Sunrise is my absolute favorite time of day to paint.  In Hawaii, the sunrises are magical, with different clouds every day.  I love getting back into the rhythm of daylight.

You try to paint the sunset, and once the big show happens, you are scrambling to finish the painting in the dark.  But at sunrise, you can paint quickly to catch the colors, then take your time finishing as the sky gets lighter and lighter.

Here on Molokai, wind is a problem.  I have travelled with my smallest pochade box (and still a suitcase that weighed 49.5 pounds) and it is barely stable, even without wind.  Every morning I try to sneak into some shelter where the gusts won't take my canvas and sail away with it.

I am not painting the actual sunrise, which is happening at my back, but the effects of the sun to the west on sky and ocean.  I grab bits of color from my right and bits from my left and pull them together.  Sometimes this creates a problem, like reversing the light direction in the foreground, and I struggle getting the painting make sense.

At sunrise, the birds are at their birdiest.  A gang of turkeys crosses the road on our way down to the beach.  Other than birds, the beach is quiet, almost deserted.  A time for solitude, for open noticing of everything around me.  I am awake and present.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Molokai Dawn Cliffs
16 x 12
I think I put shoes on once since we arrived on Molokai, and that was a mistake.  We leave our flip-flops at the  door and go barefoot indoors.  Not so unusual for me, as I  go barefoot or sockfoot at home.  Now all the paths and beaches meet our feet in flip-flops.  The soft soles pick up rocks and thorns in their tread.  They have a ring of red dirt stain around the edge.  My feet feel not so much dirty as dry.  I would like to be greeted at our condo door with a warm bowl of water and soothing cream.  Still, my toes are happy and awake.

In this warm weather and varied activities, the flip-flops feel right.  Easy to slip them off, and put on fins.  Easy to slip them off and dig toes into the sand.  Slip them on and stroll along the street... they exempt us from  "no shoes, no shirt, no service."  They go equally well with shorts and sundresses.

They will be worn out when I get home.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Molokai Dawn Light
8 x 6
Snorkelling on Molokai is more difficult and less rewarding than on Maui.  Beaches are less protected and even the best snorkel sites have notable currents.  Rick and I learn to read them from shore first, then from careful attention to drift against the bottom.

The red dirt runs into the water and coats everything  along the near-shore bottom.  We find a few special sights, though-- some turtles and some nudibranchs. One is orange and spotted in Nemo colors.  It lets go its rock and drifts with the current looking very Nemo-like.  Then drops down and grabs a new rock.  Sometimes it resembls a drifting leaf, but in ridiculously bright colors: anti-camouflage.

On the south side of the island I enjoy seeing plump healthy corals up close, and many juvenile fish.  A rock mover spies me looking at him and scoots under the sand in a twinkling.  Was there really a fish there?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Sunrise Colors
8 x 6
Taking a moment to notice.  I am thankful for this chance to visit two Hawaiian islands.  I am thankful for my husband, who travels with me and makes it all possible.  For a level of health that enables me to enjoy many activities.  For the gift of time to savor all these moments.  For beautiful and varied weather and a comfortable place to stay.

And I am thankful for the advice to go to the grocery as soon as we arrive on Molokai.  On this island there are no stop lights.  The one full-service grocery is closing in an hour, and will not reopen until Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend.  And there are no restaurants at the West end of the island where we are staying.  So, to Tina who emphasized that we MUST go to the grocery AT ONCE, Thanks!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Kauai Farm View
8 x 6
We visit some land that has multiple dwellings and shared garden space.  There are two permaculture gardens, fruit trees, a decorative pond with Hawaiian moorhens, and some banana patches.  In the yard are white ducks.  They are fenced out of the garden, all except for one, who for some reason is fenced in.  Periodically, the resident family hunts down the hidden duck nests and gathers eggs.  We buy some for our breakfast.  The duck eggs are large and rich, with very tough shells.  I have to whack them to crack them.

I once lived in a house by a stream, where a lady kept ducks.  She had two dogs, and because the dogs would eat the eggs, the ducks hid them...  sadly for the ducks, by laying them in mid-stream.  This was excellent refrigeration, and the lady would wade out and gather eggs from the stream.  She actually didn't have any while I was there.  Here on Kauai is my first taste of duck eggs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Up the Coast to Kilauea Light
6 x 8
Kauai is green, rich and varied.  The distant mountains are violet.  The water is ultramarine, azure, turquoise, rose.  The sands are golden (not Caribbean white)  Everything is subject to change with sunrise, sunset, cloud cover, sunshine.  The dirt is intense iron oxide red.  My husband's white socks are subject to change with red dirt.  Will they ever change back?

Monday, June 4, 2012


Kauai Sunrise
8 x 6
The next several blog entries will be about my recent trip to Kauai and Molokai.  The text is generally excerpts from my journal: it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the painting.

The first thing we notice on Kauai is chickens at the airport.  I'm thinking, someone's free-range chickens are ranging pretty far.  As we drive toward our condo we see more chickens.  A lot more.  And there are an awful lot of roosters--maybe twice as many as hens.  Later I learn that these are feral chickens (if a chicken can be anything  so savage as feral), descendants of the birds the ancient Hawaiians brought to the islands in their canoes, interbred with farm chickens gone AWOL.  People try to catch them and domesticate them (which usually doesn't work--who wants to be cooped up and have her eggs taken when she's seen the open range?) or eat them (think: boil for two days.)  At any rate, the roosters are showy and cocky, herding their single hens, and it's something to watch while you wait for your husband to get his latte.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  Because both sides belong to the chickens.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Hawaii Paintings
Got back from Hawaii last night and we are unpacking.  My paintings made it through the trip, with only one smear.  Pretty good!  Here's the gang laid out on the kitchen table, minus the painting that I sold.  Individual blog entries to come.