Painting Hawaii

Since moving to Hawaii from Oregon I’ve been going through an artistic identity crisis. For the last ten years I’ve been painting pictures of elk, loggers, mushroom hunters, and giants evergreen trees. Now that I live in a totally new ecosystem I have no idea what to paint. It’s not simply that I don’t know the icons, it’s more that I don’t have experience living in this new environment. For example I haven’t caught a single fish even though I try every week, I even broke down and bought a fish from a fisher woman, got it home and had no idea how to clean it or cook it. I treated it like the trout or salmon I know how to deal with and the poor fish ended up smelling and tasting like burnt hair.

So I’ve been trying to start from scratch. I say in my head “I don’t know anything” then try to paint. A lot of ugly work has happened and I’m sure not going to show anyone. However, I finally started down a path that feels right.

Every Sunday I go surf at a beach park with the family called Launiupoko. The waves are totally different from what I’m used to in Oregon. They move different, they feel different, and they ride different. The folks I’m in the water with aren’t they type I’m used to either. A typical surf session in Oregon is head to toe wet suit with a white wet bearded faces poking out. Here I surf practically naked with old buff Hawaiians, slick Japanese ladies, and kids starting as early as 6 years old. What stirs me up the most is how elegant these people surf. They are the most graceful surfers I’ve ever been in the water with.

So these new paintings I’m working on are totally inspired by the beauty of surfing here in Maui. They’re painted on paper stained by local coffee and cell vinyl paint. The ones that are for sale are at the Department of Awesome here >>>

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