Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jeanette And Yoshi.

Another day spent in the studio and quite productive, too.  I started the painting of our friend Jason's beloved dog, Yoshi.  The first session went very well and with any coaxing at all from Jason, I could be convinced to call it finished and let it go.  Shocking to hear, right.  Who can explain why one painting goes so well and another is a struggle?

Work-in-progress, Yoshi, oil on canvas, 14 x 11-inches (35.56 x 27.94-cm).

Here's the photo I'm working from.  It appears the photo was taken in warm, incandescent light or maybe the beige carpet did it, but I'm trying hard to ignore the color.  I really don't think Jason would appreciate seeing Yoshi with a yellow coat.

I've included Jeanette tonight, too.  I know everyone must be growing tired of seeing post after post, showing nearly imperceptible changes, but I hope that's what most of you come here for.  I was just telling Jeanette, that without digital cameras and computers she would have had her portrait long ago.  These technological double-edged swords capture and manipulate the image of a painting to a point where I see things beyond my capability.  By the time I take photos of a work, I'm usually quite pleased with the effort.  After the technology performs its wizardry, happy is replaced by "What was I thinking?!"  I also told Jeanette, I'm getting very tired of painting for the computer screen, instead of the human eye.

Jeanette, 14 x 11-inches, oil on canvas, endlessly in-progress! :)

But, enough about that.  For your amusement and critique, here are the two paintings.  I hope you all had a good day, with, or without, technological help! :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday In The Studio.

Today was mostly spent in the studio, working on Jeanette's portrait and beginning a new work for our friend Jason Matsumoto.  And what a great day to work!  The morning light is routinely clear and bright--so bright, that even though we face south, I have to halfway lower the blinds in the second bedroom studio.  The entire wall is floor-to-ceiling windows, so it can be overwhelming.  Almost sounds like I'm complaining, but truly I'm not!  We're really lucky to have this space for me to work.  Especially since we still haven't established a cost of living (in Hawaii) baseline sufficient to determine if a studio outside the home is feasible.

We've been busy exploring and trying restaurants in order to better learn our way around, so these last few months do not reflect what our "normal" monthly expenses will be once we've seen and done it all.  Anyway, it was a beautiful morning to paint! :)

A light came on a day ago.  It will seem so obvious for those of you who are properly schooled, but here it is...Looking at Jeanette's left cheek, I was struck by the lack of modeling.  It was as if she had no cheekbone, nor any skin over that bone.  The "light" was realizing that I had used photo software to tweak it.  Then the printer had its way with it and there I was, a slave to the manufactured image.

I blindly painted what I saw, failing to consider the reality of human bone structure and the effect of light upon it, probably the biggest error one can make painting from a photo.  Of course, if the photo is skillfully taken, it should provide this information.  I should have spent more time studying and thinking about the image before beginning.  That's another bad habit, but we can save that story for another post.   Acting on this revelation, her portrait immediately received color to indicate the shadow produced by the light hitting her cheekbone.  Duh!

Jeanette, Monday, 26 August 2013.  Getting there! :)

And speaking of challenges...I've also got this rather large canvas (30 x 40-inches, 76.2 x 101.6-cm) which has been a coral reef scene, among other failed compositions and is currently a "plein air" work-in-progress of one of the small tables on the lanai, covered with breakfast fare and a vase of flowers with the view of Chinatown, the harbor, Sand Island and the sea beyond.  Whew! 

Right about now, I'm between trying to channel Richard Diebenkorn and Henri Matisse to make it look like a decent painting.  Luckily, the length of the day and the light are nearly always the same,  so I am able to work on it at will.  It's a struggle trying to suggest buildings and all the other busyness out there with some semblance of perspective, but a joy as well.  Squinting has become the most important "tool" for this, as all the plein air painters out there know.  It's too...too...let's just say it isn't ready for prime time.  Believe me, if--and when--it ever is, you'll see it here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Visit To The Aloha Stadium Market.

We've heard about this market for years and finally decided to have a look.  Though we had no agenda or shopping lists, we did manage to do our part to boost Hawaii's economy! :)

Some of you--the football fans, for sure--know Aloha Stadium as the home of the NFL's season finale- The Pro Bowl.  The market and swap meet operates three days a week and here's a link to learn more in case you'd like to go next time you're in Hawaii:

Here are some photos from today's trip.

Welcome to Aloha Stadium, home of the NFL Pro-Bowl and a huge market and swap meet.

It wasn't lunch time when we arrived, but this sandwich vendor caught our eye and when we did hear the lunch bell ring, we'd be back! :)

This lady was running the sandwich tent and said she doesn't like her picture taken.  I flubbed the setting on the camera and showed her a very dark image in which she was merely a silhouette.  Little did she know the powers of computer photo software.  I wanted everyone to see her lovely smile.  And we did return for a "Pipeline" sandwich which consisted of a couple of kinds of meats and cheese.  It was delicious!  Thank-you, kind lady.

How 'bout a Big Aloha to wood carver extraordinaire, Mr. David Alone.  He was so nice and friendly, I really wish we had room for one of his masterpieces.  It was a pleasure to meet him.

He's proud of his work as he should be.  He makes these carvings from Monkey Pod wood.

Among the four-hundred vendors, which completely surrounded the stadium, many offered some of the most exotic and interesting delights we've ever seen.  Mochi isn't one of them, but it's a favorite of mine because of its texture and not-too-sweet taste.

Now...most of us have eaten calamari at one time or another, so this shouldn't seem all that exotic, but take a look at the next photo.

Not quite calamari is it.  We should have gotten a bag out of journalistic curiosity--but, didn't. :(

We've never tried pickled mango, either.  My camera battery was running low, so I had to be highly selective with respect to my photo choices or there would be many pictures of delights from the islands and China.

How 'bout another Big Aloha to Robert and Rose of Silver Lining Aloha.  They sell ukuleles and  guess what...Yup!  They helped me find the perfect first ukulele today.  It's a beauty and I can hardly wait to see if my old guitar musicianship will transpose to this delightful instrument.  If you click on the photo, you'll be able to better appreciate Robert's great Aloha shirt.  It features Mickey Mouse playing a ukulele and Minnie dancing in a grass skirt.  How perfect is that?!

Now, I'm really confused.  Do I paint or practice?  Jeanette Jobson is looking a little perplexed at this development, but I've already written her and promised the portrait will not be neglected! :)

Hope you all had a good day at whatever swap meet you visited!  And have a nice Sunday.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sunset, Tuesday, August 20th, 2013.

As you might expect, a little break seemed in order after visiting three historic sites in one day.  The day did end with a beautiful sunset and I want to share it with you tonight.

Sunset from our lanai, Tuesday, August 20th, 2013.  Click  to zoom in.

Enjoy your day, everybody!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Pacific Air Museum.

The final stop on our Tuesday at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites tour was the Pacific Air Museum, located on Ford Island.  Instead of taking the shuttle bus from the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center, we found out we could take our car since we have retired navy I.D. cards, required to get across the Admiral Clarey Bridge, which opened in 1998.

Once we crossed the bridge, it was as if the world had slowed down, with almost no cars or trucks and delightfully quiet.  We were surprised to see the "Golf Ball" (the huge, sea-based, X-band radar platform) moored nearby and decided to drive over for a closer look.  The massive structure is an engineering marvel and mighty impressive to see up-close.  No one seemed to be bothered by my taking photos and no signs were posted prohibiting it.  In person, the "Golf Ball" looks more like a soft-boiled egg in a cup.  It was an unexpected surprise to be sure.

After that, we drove around to see the USS Utah Memorial.  It was just as somber, but much less grand than the Arizona Memorial.  The most impressive thing to me was a monument with the words of a Utah senator inscribed.  In essence, he said he looked forward to the day when we no longer dedicate monuments to those killed in battle, but rather to those who lived in peace.

We continued around the island, finally coming to the Pacific Air Museum, located in two aircraft hangars which survived the December 7th, 1941 attack.  The museum opened it's doors in December, 2006 and has quite a variety of aircraft from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and beyond.  Let's take a look...

 Here's a beautifully restored Curtiss P-40E Warhawk, with the famous "Flying Tigers" paint scheme.

What a brilliant way to re-purpose this most famous of all World War II recruiting posters. :)

A very large mural giving a bird's eye view of Ford Island from the cockpit of an attacking Japanese aircraft.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.  "Battleship Row" is on the upper, extreme right in this photo.  Other capital ships can be seen moored on the left side of the island, including the USS Utah, whose memorial we visited today.  Two of the hangars in the lower right are now the home of the museum.

The museum isn't just about war birds.  Amelia Earhart actually ground-looped her plane during a takeoff from Ford Island, collapsing the right landing gear.  In the center photo, Amelia stands with Hawaiian surf legend, Olympic swimming champion and movie star, Duke Kahanamoku.

A decent amount of space was dedicated to the visionaries who made it possible to fly across the vast Pacific Ocean, especially Pan American.  This list of their "firsts" was most impressive.

It was nice to see that "Rosie the Riveter" has a place here.

This beautiful advertising poster art enticed 1930's travelers to visit Paradise via a Pan Am "Flying Clipper".  I'm guessing those great mountains in the background are supposed to be Tahiti, or came from the imagination of the artist.  They certainly aren't from Hawaii.

Walking to the museum's other hangar, we saw this soon-to-be-restored B-17E, nicknamed, "The Swamp Ghost".  It was lost until 1972, when Australian soldiers on a training exercise discovered it in a swamp on Papua, New Guinea, where it crash landed on February 23, 1942.  It was a long road back to Hawaii and here's a link if you'd like to read the entire remarkable story of this particular aircraft

Michele surveys an F-4 Phantom on the ramp between the two museum hangars.  She worked as a civilian for the Air Force at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, scheduling depot-level maintenance on F-4C Phantom jets.  You can see the airport tower in the background, which the museum is restoring.
Several of the other aircraft on the ramp.  You can also see the "Golf Ball" mobile radar platform berthed on the other side of the island.

A MiG-15 and F-86 grab your attention upon entering Hangar-79.

You don't see a MiG-21 very often, but they have one here.

A navy Douglas SBD-Dauntless dive bomber releases its bomb.

A number of technology companies support the museum and this display highlighted the many astronomical sensors and telescopes on Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island.

This accompanied the graphic above.  I had no idea there were this many observation facilities up there.  Learn something every day!  Click to enlarge the photo.

This was just a small sample of all there is to see here.  I hope if you're ever visiting Hawaii, you have an opportunity to see the historic aircraft on display here, as well as, the historic hangars they are displayed in.  Now, here are some photos of the Utah Memorial and the "Golf Ball".

Michele's walking to the USS Utah Memorial.  The rusting remains can be seen to the upper left in this photo.  The USS Utah (BB-31) was finished in 1911 and by December of 1941 had been demilitarized in accordance with the London Naval Treaty, signed in 1930.  She was designated a target ship and fitted-out with various types of anti-aircraft guns for training gunners for the fleet.  Here's a link to learn more about the ship:

The Medal of Honor was posthumously awarded to Chief Watertender, Peter Tomlich for remaining below deck to ensure the escape of as many men as possible and keep vital machinery running as long as possible. 

She was sunk by Japanese torpedoes just after 8 AM, Sunday, December 7th.  Most of the crew was able to escape, however an unknown number of men were trapped when the ship rolled on her side as it capsized.  Frantic efforts were made to free the trapped men and several were rescued.  Those who died remain in the ship to this day.  It is considered a war grave.  In 1972, the current memorial was erected.

A photo taken during rescue operations to attempt to free trapped crewmen aboard the USS Utah.

The remains of the USS Utah (BB-31).

The "Golf Ball", floating X-band radar platform, moored at Ford Island.  Here's a link:

A closer view.  Click on the photo to enlarge, as if it's not enormous enough already! :)

So, ladies and gentlemen, this concludes our very full Tuesday tour of three of the major historic sights at Pearl Harbor.  Time for a little painting for the next few days! :)  Have a good day tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The U.S.S. Missouri Memorial.

The second stop on our Tuesday tour of the historic sites at Pearl Harbor was the USS Missouri Memorial.  The last battleship built by the United States, the USS Missouri was commissioned in June, 1944.  She was christened at her launching by Mary Margret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a senator from Missouri.  To read the ship's full story, click on the link:

In May of 1998, Secretary of the Navy, John H. Dalton, signed the donation contract transferring the ship to the non-profit USS Missouri Memorial Association of Honolulu, Hawaii.  The USS Missouri was towed across the Pacific and in June of 1998, permanently berthed at Ford Island, just 500-yards from the USS Arizona Memorial.  On January 29, 1999, she was opened as a museum.

The history of this great ship, the last of her kind, is too lengthy to post here, but I strongly suggest further reading of her great story.  Okay, let's take a look at "Mighty Mo".

Michele, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer with twenty-three years service, stands in awe as we approach this great ship.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

Countless thousands of people have seen the iconic photograph of the sailor and nurse celebrating the end of World War II, but wasn't it taken in New York City?

Click to enlarge this photo.

The Missouri, an Iowa-Class ship, had nine of these huge guns, capable of hurling a 2,700-pound (1,200 kg) shell 20-miles.  The decks were cleared when she fired her guns.

Michele takes a look at the massive anchor chains.  Everything about the ship is massive!

A look inside the Captain's cabin.  The USS Missouri Memorial Association has done a wonderful job of restoring many of the ship's spaces to their original condition. 

This photo, looking toward the bow, gives a sense of the "uphill" sweep of the teak wood main deck.  Michele is looking at the Quarterdeck, where visitors board the ship with the permission of the Officer of the Deck.

View from the bow looking at two of the three huge gun turrets.  Lot's of visitors about the ship today.  Click on the photo to get a closer view of the "business end" of the guns.

An even closer view.

This is the spot on the main deck where officials from the Empire of Japan signed the surrender documents, officially ending World War II.  I left the visitor's feet and legs in the photo to provide a sense of scale.

Click to read the words of the plaque.  Of everything the Missouri did, she's best remembered as she stood at anchor in Tokyo Bay on the morning of September 2nd, 1945, to host the surrender proceedings ending the war.

This photo shows a copy of the surrender document.  We were told that a leather-bound copy was sent to Washington D.C. and a canvas-bound copy went with the Japanese officials.  The pen is a replica of the one used by Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur.  Fleet Admiral, Chester W. Nimitz signed the surrender document as the United States Representative.

A closer view of General MacArthur's signature and a partial view of Admiral Nimitz's signature.

This 31-star flag, taken ashore by Commodore Matthew Perry after his ships entered Tokyo Bay in 1853, thus opening Japan to the world, was displayed during the surrender proceedings.  The flag was so fragile, conservators at the Naval Academy Museum had to sew a linen backing to one side to prevent further deterioration.  This meant the flag could only be displayed "backwards".  It's still mounted to a bulkhead where it was clearly visible during the ceremony.

A photo of the representatives of the Allied Powers and General MacArthur as he closes the surrender proceedings.  Click on the photo to read his words of hope for a better future.

The ship looks great and still holds ceremonial functions.  During our visit, an officer from one of the area naval commands was saying farewell to his shipmates and friends following a traditional retirement ceremony beneath an expansive canopy near the stern.    The ship is so large, the event caused no interruption to visitors and actually enhanced our visit.  We've experienced our share of retirement ceremonies and could only imagine how memorable it would be, held on such a famous vessel.   It was a privilege to walk the decks of this great ship.  Being berthed close to the USS Arizona seems an appropriate place for this symbol of the ultimate triumph.