Magoon Beach, February 2015
But I am back again and renewed. The Big Island of Hawaii has become my February retreat and it suits me better and better every year. I always find something unique there, but the familiar dance I do with the island and the people I visit is both predictable and unique. This time I was exhausted, pleasantly so, when I got home but the reason for that is for another time. Let me just say that there is a kind of exhaustion that is so satisfying that it reminds you that you are indeed still very much alive and kickin’. We got a lot done, a lot accomplished this time, and the rewards of our efforts were abundant. Not trying to be mysterious here, just honoring the privacy of the people I visit.
My Friday mornings were spent with a group of people who all paint plein air. Look that up if you need to, but we visited a different beach every week and we painted our butts off for over 3 hours and then there was a formal critique of everyone’s work. Painting outside is not something I am used to, being a painter of abstract art and working on fairly large canvases with acrylic using a mixed media technique. Mine is a technique best done in studio where abundant space is available, in comfortable surroundings with running water and consistently good light, perhaps some music and being able to stop for lunch. Plein air is done outdoors – bringing constantly changing light and weather conditions. We painted one morning in a gale coming in from the western Pacific and it was a comedic struggle to hold everything down. On most Friday mornings we painted for 3.5 hours and dealt with ants, curious birds, sand in our paint, salt spray, flying debris and the ever present tourists who always sneak up on you so as not to disturb you and then proceed to disturb you with the most outrageous explanations of why they are not an artist themselves.
The water changes color depending on the clouds, the weather and even the wind, so just as you begin to capture the intense bottle green in the under belly of a gigantic wave, everything changes and you can no longer see that color because perhaps the sun has been hidden by clouds. My favorite beach to paint, by far, was a sweet sweep of a beach called Magoon by the older locals where the water was so gorgeously marbled with bottle green and cerulean blue that you could not miss doing something wonderful with it. The water was clear as a bell, gently washing waves fringed with white foam across sand that sometimes turned lavender in the morning light. There were palm trees on shore, permanently curved against the breezes and many shady places to sit while painting – you cannot bare to sit in the sun for over 3 hours and paint. They would soon carry you off on a stretcher.
Using watercolors which I have not used in decades I sometimes painted a realistic scene and also painted the same scene in an abstract style of flowing shades of blue and green feathering across the paper. It was lots of fun, but to tell you the truth it is difficult to paint with all that luscious water around, and so I would quit a bit early and play in the surf collecting interesting shells and sea glass while most everyone else stuck to the task at hand.
For your viewing pleasure I am including pictures of Magoon Beach and then later in another post, 2 of the abstract paintings that I did in studio while there in Hawaii. The plein air paintings I did in watercolor will also come in a different post where I can expound upon them and compare the realistic with the abstract.
Glad to be back in the swing of things here but missing the island already – so much to show and tell you about it all, but for now I will just say…
Aloha – be kind to each other, relax and feel the love!
Sounds like a very exhilerating exercise… especially for an abstract painter.
Thanks Shimon – read my answer to the comment by Jane and you will find it amusing….
I will never understand why people feel so compelled to tell artists why they themselves are not….it would be so much more interesting to watch the magic happening between the artist and their brush!!!! When is the last time a chef came to your table and you told them why you can’t cook! This seems to be something very special reserved for artists.
You are so right – the on-looker comments could fill a book – people say the darndest things ( I think that book title has already been taken!) and so then you, the artist , have to stay silent which equals RUDENESS or you have to stop concentrating and talk to them, which is just so aggravating because you miss valuable, critical time in the changing light.