Weaving a Journey

Every once in a while I’m gifted with a painting idea “from the gods”. These gifts are rare and unexpected. They keep me on my toes, my energy high in anticipation, and my love for painting deep.

That’s the way I feel about my current painting, “Weaving a Journey”.

This painting began about ten years ago with my idea to show two hands weaving Hala leaves.


Hala Trees are common in the Islands. The leaves are thin, long, and flowing. When the leaves are woven together, it’s called Lau Hala. Baskets, hats, mats, purses, and many other things are woven of Lau Hala.


One of my painting mantras is to only paint what I know to paint. When I don’t know what to paint, the painting is put away.

When the initial phase of this painting was finished I wasn’t sure how to complete the rest. I put it into my flat files waiting for inspiration to claim me again.

Many artists start with a plan and do sketches before they start to paint. I’ve tried that method only to find all my inspiration and energy goes into the sketch, leaving my painting feeling flat.

There are more ways to paint than there are people.

It’s important to find your own way to paint and follow the path that works best for you!

To keep my paintings fresh and alive, I jump into them as quickly as an idea hits me. By the time I felt ready to finish this painting, years had passed.

I’m honored to paint a version of the story of the journey of the first Polynesians to come to the Hawaiian Islands.

One theory is that the sails of the double-hulled canoes that brought the people here were woven of Lau Hala. These leaves are long with rough edges that will “eat your hands” until callouses form.

To weave a large sail, a line of women sat close together. It’s important that the weave remains tight and even. When one woman would tire, another would take her place so the weaving could continue.


I painted the double-hulled canoe. The people paddling it were next. I was very nervous about adding them, and until I did, the painting wouldn't be finished.

Until a painting is finished, it’s just a piece of paper!

Yesterday while painting at the kiosk at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, I asked one of the bellmen to help me understand the ergonomics of paddling a canoe.

He explained the last person in the canoe steers it, so his paddle is upright. Every paddler keeps his face forward so he can see where he's going.

Then, brush in hand, heart in my throat, I painted the paddlers, one at a time, taking breathing space between the first few until I felt comfortable to continue.

I'll let the painting rest for the weekend before deciding whether or not it's finished. See for yourself and let me know what you think.


All that angst for a few simple brushstrokes!

Spirit of the Land

Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii has been "actively-active" since 1983. It’s in the news today because it’s created a new path of eruption, disrupting lives and claiming homes.

I first experienced the majesty of Kilauea in January 2000, during my first trip to the islands.


I painted this oil of my friend Kit at the volcano after that first trip.

Watching lava move across the land is like watching an otherworldly life force. The energy is palpable, HOT, magical, and very, VERY alive.

Pele in "She Walks the Earth"

Five volcanoes make up the big island of Hawaii. Kilauea is the busiest of the three active volcanoes.

You might wonder why anyone lives on or near an active volcano. The answer is not as simple as you might think.

Pele as "Birth of an Island"

The islands have been inhabited for about 1,500 years. (Westerners first arrived about 240 years ago; we’re the “newbies”.)

Generations of families have grown up on all of the islands. This is HOME to them. This is not their first rodeo — or their first volcano-induced evacuation.

You might as well wonder why people live in northern climates of WI or Canada or the heat and bugs of the Deep South or even in North Korea.

We are people of the lands that call to us, that welcome us, the lands that we know and love; often the lands where we grow up.

The people living on Hawaii Island have a strong, sincere reverence for the land and the sea they call home.

Time and again I’ve heard those displaced by the volcano accept their fate with dignity, faith, and an understanding that most would find astonishing.


Most indigenous cultures understand that the land doesn’t really belong to us.

Madam Pele (the goddess of the volcano) shows her hand by continuing to create this land before our very eyes and in our midst. She has exclusive rights and we must accept her creative whims.

The Art of Aloha Creative Cruise this August will stop in Hilo for a day before sailing around the southern tip of Hawaii Island to dock in Kona the next day.

Pele claimed most of the southern tip of Hawaii Island awhile back. Those of us on the cruise were hoping to see her spill into the ocean there. None of us want to see homes ravaged by lava.

We have room for two more people on this very special island cruise. If the islands are calling to you, please act today! Click HERE

I promise a trip you’ll always remember.
The Spirit of the Land is tangible here.

If you want an infusion of creativity and trust that we will continue to survive and even thrive during any upheaval in life, this trip is for you!

Inner Wise Self, Part II

Inner Wise Self, Part II

Being a lifetime learner is a great thing. It means we continue to grow, and our brains remain active and alive. Neuroplasticity is the technical term. Yet we're not meant to get stuck in the Learning Mode. Instead, Learning is meant to fuel Doing which in turn fuels Learning. It's cyclical!

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Meet Stuart

Stuart is always ready to play — ball or just about anything else. His little body is filled with love and he was a joy to paint!

When entrusted to paint a member of anyone's fur family, I start with a good pencil drawing. I want to get him or her situated on the page just right.

First I paint the eyes. Next I paint the nose and add a little more love to the eyes.

The eyes, those windows to the soul, really need to shine forth.

You'll see me smile while I paint these loving pets. I feel their love and I express my love for them back into the painting.

When I'm pleased with the realistic features of the pet, I begin to play with color for the rest of the body. This is done in stages.

Sometimes I'm asked to paint a pet in realistic colors. These are just as much fun and as much of a challenge as the colorful portraits; I love painting them just as much as the colorful pets.

When painting in "Hawaiian-style" colors, I work to capture the nature of the pet with a joyful rainbow of colors.

Any white lines between the colors show where the pencil lines were. They help me to remember the different planes of the face and the shifting of the color value I want to paint. I carefully paint around the lines so they can be erased when the painting is dry.

The background comes last and is meant to highlight the portrait of the pet.

If you can feel the love of the pet, and the love I felt for and from the pet while I was painting it, the portrait is a success.

Stuart is one tiny, compact bundle of BIG loving energy!