Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Visit to Volcano Art Center

The Volcano Art Center is in an old historic building in the Volcano National Park here on the Big Island. It is a charming unfinished wood structure with a stone fireplace, and on a cold blustery day at that higher elevation, one can almost feel like it's Christmas-time, even in Hawaii. That is the feel of the place last Friday when I went up with some new paintings.

All the art up there is volcano related: ohi'a and other native plants, flowing lava, native birds are some of the themes of the art pieces. I had framed 4 pieces I felt confident the director there would want, based on other paintings of mine she has hung. The two large pieces are representational as is one of the smaller ones. One of the smaller is abstract.

Soaring14 x 20
Riding the Thermals

14 x 20


14 x 20

Seeing Red

10 x 14


10 x 14

Along with the framed pieces, I took several other paintings I thought might have the feel of the volcano, two of which were also abstract.

Orb Rising

14 x 20

Night Run
14 x20

Perhaps you've already guessed that I was wrong in trying to foresee which pictures would end up hanging at the Volcano Art Center. The director choose Night Run and Orb Rising because they are quite different than other art in the gallery. She also accepted the two small pieces.

So I ended my visit to the Volcano knowing I would return another day with two newly framed pieces. It's only an 1 1/2 hour round trip. All in a day's (or more) work as an artist seeking walls to hang ones art.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Before and After

Thanks to helpful comments from Ruth, I was able to make the necessary changes to improve this painting. After reading her critique, I was able to see that the cliffs in the background were competing with the birds for attention. By cooling the cliffs with a wash of cobalt blue, they moved into the distance thus pushing the birds forward. I did leave some white at the far right to bring the viewers eye up and back to the left returning to the picture. I worked on the lower wing of the bird on the left to make it understandable. Now the sky looks warmer and more inviting, I think. Scroll down to see the original post and painting.

As always, feel free to make comments. Do you think it is improved?

Riding the Thermals

14 x 22

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When is a Painting Done?

Riding the Thermals
This is a question I have a hard time answering. For the last couple of days I've been working on this painting that is a departure from my usual subject matter. I rarely paint animals, and if I do, it's usually as an addition to the landscape, rather than the subject matter.
I've become a bit obsessed with these tropicbirds. They are very common near the water, as they are marine birds that feed on fish and the like. So it's always surprising to find them flying around the volcanic caldera, yet there they are. I am not positive, but my reading leads me to believe that they may nest on the cliffs of the craters. They pair up and keep the same partners, so you often see two together.
In this painting, I painted the pair, then created 3 more birds patrolling in the distance to lead the eye back into the painting. If you read my blog, you know I'll prop this up and gaze at it for a few days before I call it done, but I'd love to get feedback on this. Do you think it looks complete?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wrapping up the Website content

At Play in Reeds Bay
10 x 14

I think I finally sent off the last of the content my web designer needs to finish my website. I'm surprised at how much work and how many decisions went into gathering up and writing material for it. To begin with, I chose to make this a pretty complex website, as it is representing not only my paintings, but also my work as a teacher and illustrator. The site will have a unique feature for demonstrations--a step by step image and explanation of the creation of a painting.

My hopes for the website are that it will establish my serious attitude toward my art and my instructional skills. I teach art classes because I am an educator at heart and as I teach, I grow as an artist. I want this website to be flexible enough to grow and expand as my art life does.

I'm excited to think that I can now send folks off to my website and they can see the majority of my work with the click of a button! Get ready for to come to life!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

After the Storm

After the Storm
11 x 22
transparent watercolor

This painting was started in August 2007, when I just wet the paper and put a wet into wet suggestion of the landscape at the top of the picture. We had a whole lot of rain just before I began the painting, which meant that Rainbow Falls was gushing. Granted the waters were pretty muddy at the time, but I felt there was a beautiful painting to come out of the gushing, misty, wet and dripping landscape.

**For those readers unfamiliar with Hilo's Rainbow Falls, it has a huge range of water from this bountiful amount to a tiny, almost invisible, dribble.

So last week I pulled the beginnings of this piece out of a pile and went to work building up the foliage in the foreground. This is a more pastel and gentle painting than I usually do, but I found it pleasing and evocative of the abundance of water. At some point it was just too ambiguous, but I found by implying a distinct horizon line up at the top of the falls, the painting felt substantial and more readable.

This painting is now framed and hanging at Chase and Hanes Fine Art Gallery in Hilo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Painting for Volcano Art Center

14 x 20

One of my paintings at Volcano Art Center recently sold, so I've been working on another piece to go up there. One of the beautiful birds on the Big Island is the Tropicbird. Often when I've been up on the volcano, I've seen this graceful creatures soaring above a crater. In this piece, I've tried to create a sense of distance and depth, while featuring the lyrical movement of the bird. There is such a starkness and lifeless feeling to the volcanic environment, I also included a hearty shrub to the scene--ohi'a. These tough trees bloom with a feathery red flower. They are one of the first plants to take hold in new lava.

I'd love to get some feedback on this painting. Post a comment by clicking on the "comment" at the end of the post. The comment comes to me and then I will post it. If there is a number other than 0 by the comment button, you can read comments by clicking on the "comment."

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Painting a Jungle

Wild Ginger

10 x 14

On the East Side (wet side) of Hawaii, wild flowers bloom year-round. On a drive the other day I stopped to take a photo of some wild white ginger beside the road, and this week I painted a version of what I saw. What I find most interesting is creating the green chaotic jungle feel around the flower. There is just so much foliage, that it is impossible to tell where one leaf stops and another begins. I love creating the intertwining almost sensuous lines and shapes in both the positive and negative forms. Here's another example...

Going Bananas

10 x 14

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Volcano Painting--Seeing Red

Seeing Red
10 x 14

The painting I just finished of the lava flow into the ocean here on the Big Island of Hawaii is no longer a current event. That lava flow stopped a few months ago. The lava pooled up for some time and is now flowing again through another lava tube, but not into the ocean at this time. Living on this island is a reminder of how our earth is in constant change.

Because the drama of the clouds seems surrealistic, I'm including a photo so you can see that the art is not so much off the mark.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Change of Galleries

Akaka Falls
22 x 18
If you have ever been to Hilo, Hawaii, you know this is a small town. There are quite a few galleries for the population, due to the amount of tourists who flock to the Hawaiian Islands. Most galleries have some sort of requirement to keep an artist's work exclusive to that gallery within a few surrounding miles. (Sorry if this tidbit of info about gallery business is getting to be too much.)

The long and short of this post is about changing galleries. I had been in one Hilo gallery (exclusive to this area), but nothing sold over a period of six months or so. It seemed obvious my work was not in the right spot, so I had to take on the dreaded task of finding a new home gallery. Dreaded?? Well, it's just not that easy to put myself and my artwork out there. The fear of rejection continues to run in my veins even though I certainly have had plenty of reinforcement that my work is acceptable. (I wonder if there will every be a point for me that I don't worry about rejection.)

The experience I had last week was very refreshing. The gallery owner was very enthusiastic about the pieces I took in and was very happy to take 5 paintings. They were hanging in a very nice arrangement by the end of the day. So my new Hilo gallery is Chase and Hanes Fine Art down on Hilo's Bayfront. Thank you Carolyn Chase for a nice experience.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One Rainy Hilo Day

10 x 14
Mixed Media

So what do you do when the rain won't stop, the humidity is high, and you are a watercolorist who feels the creative urge?

This is what happened yesterday. When the humidity is super high here, even 140 lb. paper is limp like a piece of fabric. If you paint, your painting stays damp for hours, or days. I can easily imagine mold growing on it. Wet into wet--forget about it!

So I spent a little time feeling super frustrated, then I went into my materials and grabbed some rice paper I'd painted for collage work, my pen and inks and gouache paints. Then I looked over my stack of failed paintings and chose one I felt I could only improve on and went to work.

I did like the horizontal lines of the painting, but the colors had gone all wrong. I started with my collage work, covering the foreground, creating texture. Then I took my pen and ink and responded to the horizon, more of the same with gouache. As the bottom part of the painting took shape, I realized I needed a dark sky, so painted that.

I felt so much better. Did I create great art? I don't know, but I did experience the joy the creative process brings.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Winning Entry

This painting of Rainbow Falls will be exhibited in the East Hawaii Cultural Center Fall Festival Show for the next month. For those of you readers in the Hilo area, make sure to get to the Center to view all the wonderful art there.

Friday, October 26, 2007

East Hawaii Cultural Center Fall Arts Festival

Tomorrow I'll be taking 3 paintings to the East Hawaii Cultural Center for their juried Fall Festival. Each artist can take 3 pieces in, but since it is a juried show, I don't know what pieces will be accepted. All three paintings are based on Hawaiian themes. The first, Rainbow Falls, is a waterfall very near downtown Hilo. The second, Hawaii Charm, is an imagined setting with a version of a real house placed in it. The chickens in the yard add a bit of humor and authenticity. The last painting, Waipio Valley, was inspired by a daytrip we took down there when the mist almost covered the view of Hi'ilawe Falls and the tulip trees were in full bloom.
Last year they accepted 2 of my 3 entries.

Let me know via comments, which entries you are betting on.

Rainbow Falls
20" x 17"
Transparent Watercolor

Hawaii Charm

Transparent Watercolor

Waipio Valley
17" x 20"
Transparent Watercolor

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thanks for the comments!

This is a reply to a comment regarding Textures of Assisi, the painting posted 2 days ago.

You can read the comments others have left by clicking on comments at the bottom of a post. Of course, if it reads "0 comments" there have not been any left on that post. You can be the first! A comment has to be okayed by me to be posted. I'm only filtering out computer generated stuff or inappropriate comments. I welcome helpful feedback.


Your comment is very valid. I see your point, however, the vibrancy of the watercolors really pulls at me. So I have two options here. One is risk losing the original painting, because putting washes over this piece could really make it muddy or lessen its appeal. This is a constant question--when is a painting done? On the other hand, working on it further, darkening the walls and "aging" the surroundings could create a more powerful painting.

The other option is start from scratch and go for a different painting on the same theme.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Look to the Blog

My wonderful web designer, Judy, has just come to my rescue with a new look to my blog. This is one that ties in nicely with the website that she's building for me.

Please give me some feedback on the before and after.

I'm very happy with the new look!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On to Italy

I was lucky enough to take a trip to Italy this summer, where I found one interesting/lovely image after another. I came home with 1000+ photos to work from in paints. In searching for a subject matter, I was looking for something that would work as a vertical painting to put in the rotation of images that will eventually rotate through my Home Page once my website is up and running.

The photo I chose to work from was one of those unexpected moments you can capture because you just happen to be there at the right time.

What I saw in this photo was an opportunity to have a lot of fun with creating texture, the texture of a medieval city, along with this small window of modern, yet foreign to me, life--the group of nuns.

I have opened this blog to comments, so if you tried before, you should now be able to post a comment by simple clicking on "comment" and typing in the letters you see at that point.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fussin' Around

So, this is how it goes for me. Since yesterday's post, I've been thinking about the splattering I did to the path. It didn't work in my opinion, so I lifted it out last night. Today I added a little color, put a bit more detail to the edges of the path and I'm ready to frame it, or put it in a stack of paintings I consider "done."

I apologize for the poor color of this image, but you can see the path changes. Better management of my photo colors is yet another thing to work on!

Friday, October 19, 2007

You be the Judge

I have 2 different things you can weigh in on if you choose.One is somewhat silly. My neice responded to my new blog and after seeing my self portrait, she stated that I was much prettier in person. So here you go, you be the judge.

The second issue is to view two paintings. For me this is, of course, more serious. Often what I do is look at a painting over days or weeks before declaring it finished. The painting I posted yesterday had two small things that bothered me--the path was too white, and the bike in the grass was too isolated. So this afternoon I splattered the path to create a bit of color and texture. I'm not so happy with that, so I may go back and lift those splatters off and try a new approach.

To address the bike in the grass, I simply added some more texture to the foreground, creating more grasslike areas. I think this was a successful solution.

Let me know if you want to weigh in on either issue.

by MargArt
6:05:00 PM
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Thursday, October 18, 2007


For years I journaled every day, finding it a great way to stay centered, clear my head, get rid of distracting thoughts and focus on my art life. Now I am going to use this blog to do much the same.

I welcome old friends and new friends, family, people interested in art, people interested in struggles and successes, readers of all sorts to view my posts.

In the next few days, I hope to learn a lot more about posting photos, arranging the space, and making this a more interesting and inviting blog. I have a web designer working on a Web Site for me and she is going to help me make this a beautiful spot to post my thoughts, paintings and photos

Keep coming back.