In anticipation of taking a group of artists to Kauai in February for an Art Workshop / Retreat, I’m posting memories from about 10 years ago…

It turned out to be perfect timing for a winter getaway. One day I was shoveling a six-inch blanket of ice from my Portland driveway, the next day snorkeling with Nemo along the reefs of Moloaa Bay, on the island of Kauai. Multitudes of colorful fish fluttered by with each swell. Enchanting!

Kauai is a tropical retreat — endless walks along nearly deserted beaches; palm fronds gently playing the breeze; cerulean seas. 

And the food… 
Sharing a beach house with family and friends, we pampered ourselves with papaya every morning, spooning it right out of the shell. Colorful local merchants and fragrant fresh flowers make farmer’s markets worthwhile, even for those who don’t cook.

They’re in a different town each day. Customers often arrive early to survey the booty, but they can’t buy till the starting bell rings. We hit the markets regularly for tangy tropical fruit, football-sized avocados, locally grown organic veggies and colorful flowers such as these orchids.

Beyond pineapple, fresh fruit ranges from bizarre to exotic, including…

Passion fruit (nectar of the gods)
Soursop (imagine sucking tasty, refreshing juice from pulp the texture of cat hair)
Pomelo (a grapefruit on steroids, larger and firmer fleshed)
Rambutan (firm white flesh clothed in a husk of soft red spines) 
Guava (a seedy, sweet ball of nectar).

Tossing feathers of brilliantly iridescent phthalo blue and quinacridone rust, roosters strut literally everywhere. 
Chickens are protected on Kauai. They’re a blessing if you like rising early to hunt seashells — 
     take ear plugs to sleep in.

Did I mention the storm? Our electricity was out for two days. But on the plus side, gale winds knocked down coconuts for the gathering. To sample, choose green-husked orbs that are full of fluid when you shake them. Peel off the husk and puncture the holes so you can pour out the milk before breaking the shell to expose the meat. Fresh! We packed three coconuts in a carry-on box to bring home. You can also mail them to yourself in the husk, no box needed. Write your address in permanent marker and attach the appropriate postage. 

The days passed quickly, as good times often do. But I’ll still have shells to fondle, memories to savor and pictures to paint upon return.


Talk to me if you are interested in going, February 5 – 17, 2014.
You can download the brochure HERE for the specifics.

I can’t help but SHOUT about this (as I jump up and down)…
My painting, “Raven Dreams” was selected for the National Watercolor Association’s Open show!

(Thank you Liz Walker for being the first to let me know)

It took several days for my feet to drift back to the ground. By then it had sunk in that I was also invited to apply for NWS signature membership. Only I was scheduled to teach a three day workshop and my three matted pieces were due to be shipped a few precious days after that! And I needed to marble. Time to buckle down.

First I talked with Geoff McCormack who gave me valuable tips on packaging and shipping the art, and then sent the selected painting for the show. Linda Nye loaned me a packing box I could modify. What an incredible artist community we have!

Next I set up for marbling. That takes about a full day! Plus I made a tray to hold a full sheet of watercolor paper. Then marbling into the wee hours. Matting and packaging the next day.

First the spritzing of paint… notice the concentration.

Here I’m pulling one out of the bath.

Art drying on the line.

Some pieces, like the unicorn above, need additional painting but several are right on target.

Here are the three paintings I sent in.
You can see BEFORE and AFTER versions of the marbled pieces.

Before marbling, and this is a full sheet….

And after… Transformed! I love the way the marbled patterning ties the border and center together. It allows the viewer to focus more on the orca, and the iconographic orca is subdued a bit. Just what I wanted!

The Tulips before…

And Voila! From ordinary to pizazz.

I couldn’t resist sending the painting below, “Tranquility”, with patterning in the hair that’s a bit reminiscent of marbling… on a full sheet.

Fingers crossed!!!!