Friday, November 29, 2013

First Thanksgiving In Hawaii.

It's hard to grasp the fact that we've lived here over eight months already and are spending our first traditional, cold weather holiday in sunshine with 83-degrees. :)  Mind you, we are not even close to complaining about how strange it seems.  Instead, Michele is in the pool and I'm taking a break from the easel, typing this post while looking at our tomato plants full of blossoms and Honolulu Harbor with the bright blue Pacific Ocean beyond.  Today, we are incredibly thankful and continuing to count our innumerable blessings.

I'll go for a run shortly, taking the camera to capture what's happening on this, our very first Thanksgiving Day in Hawaii.  I thought I'd try to capture images of those folks who are working on this holiday, keeping us fed, protecting us and helping us enjoy this Paradise.  Here we go...

Say "Happy Thanksgiving" to Mike, one of the nicest security guards who keep the residents of Honolulu Park Place safe and secure.  I saw him on my way out this afternoon and again, upon my return.  Thanks, Mike, for all you do.

Just a block away, I jogged by Lita's lei and flower shop.
They were taking a break and allowed me to take this photo.

One of the beautiful leis available at Lita's shop.

I turned left onto Maunakea Street and found Jai Cheung working today, too.  He operates the Bread House Bakery in Chinatown and told me I need to come back in the morning.  Still, I saw a delightful selection of pastries and breads available.  I'll have to go back!

This photo is for all of you who don't think we have autumn in Hawaii.  As you look at this fallen palm frond, I'd like you to hum, "September Song".  For those of you who aren't familiar with this classic song, allow me to quote the opening:  "The falling leaves...drift by my window..." :)

Okay, okay, I know this is an exception to the theme today, but I couldn't resist sharing this odd offering I found in Chinatown!  I mean, who doesn't love a Chicago-style hot dog, but seeing it advertised here seemed a little strange.

Many of the grocery stores in Chinatown were open today, as usual, but as expected, not many shoppers were about.  Most of the neighborhood residents shop early and it was a little after three PM when I took this photo.

I wanted to share some photos of the wonderful markets of Chinatown and couldn't resist this box of mangoes.  Where's Paul Gauguin when you need him?

And who doesn't love durian?  I'm sure many of you have heard of this interesting fruit, but if you haven't and want to learn about it and its infamous odor, click on this link:

These wonderful little cactus plants were available outside a market, also in Chinatown.

Another bakery was open today, also (obviously) in Chinatown.

No rest today for the crew of the Star of Honolulu.  It had just returned from a lunch/brunch cruise and would soon be back at sea, off Waikiki Beach, for a sunset cruise.

A few passengers from the Star of Honolulu gaze into the harbor.  Many had just boarded a large tourist bus, just out of the photo.  It, along with many more, were busy just like any other day, taking visitors to the many wonderful places around O'ahu.  The spectacular Bougainvillea hedges in the background adorn the walkway to the ship.

This condo building, across Nimitz Highway from Aloha Tower, reminds me of something from the Wizard of Oz and Emerald City, despite the beautiful sapphire color, but I digress...again.  I apologize for wandering from the theme of this post, but I'm a sucker for beauty.  :)

Back on point.  Aloha Sushi is located just a few yards from Aloha Tower and the two ladies working this Thanksgiving were taking a break.  Neither wanted to be photographed, but I did manage to catch one of them, along with their "open" sign.  I showed her the image and she said it was okay.

Aloha Tower.  Notice the security guard.  We had a nice chat since no one was around, but he, too, preferred not to be included in this post.  Lots of shy people here. :(

I'm now at Kewalo Basin and this is the Musashi, owned by Larry Ellison.  The large box-like structure is a rented power plant for the yacht.  On the way back to Ala Moana Boulevard, I noticed a young crew member adjusting, or maybe cleaning, the drapes.  No Thanksgiving for her today.

Also at Kewalo Basin...Who knew pirates enjoyed Thanksgiving?  I thought, for sure, they'd be working today, taking children and their parents to sea for the adventure of a lifetime.  As you can see, however, the ticket window is closed and nary a scalawag was to be found aboard. "Ay Mates, a turkey dinner and double-ration of grog for all hands!

Close to home now, I spotted one of the many tourist trolleys which include Chinatown on their itinerary.  Not many folks aboard this one, but as I snapped the photo, the lady flashed the "hang loose" sign--at least that's what it looked like!  Just kidding.  She smiled at me and I smiled back.  Enjoy your tour!

Only a block east of our home is the Honolulu Fire Department, Central Station.  We all know how important it is that these brave men and women willingly give up their Thanksgiving--and all holidays--to keep us safe.  It's appropriate today, that we honor and thank them for their constant vigilance and service.

Back home.  Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving, no matter when you celebrate it. :) 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lost In The Sands Of Time (And Found).

I worked in the studio all day, so the only offering tonight comes from, as the post title says...the sands of time. :)

Tonight's trip down memory lane, is a 5x7-inch portrait of Ms Heather St. Clair.  Heather was a rental agent for the management company which owned the building we first lived in after moving to Portland, Oregon, early in 2003.  By some strange coincidence, that apartment building was called, "735 St. Clair", the building's address.  I never found out-- or have forgotten--whether or not Heather had anything in common with the place.

Here's the photo I worked from.  Heather loved the camera and it loved her.  I still have the photos taken for this portrait.  Each is, if I may be so bold to say so...beautiful.

Here's another favorite of mine.  It's nice having the photos, because I may have a go at one of them someday.

Ms Heather St. Clair, 2008, 5x7-inches, oil on canvas.  Click to enlarge.  Still new to painting portraits, I was very pleased with this one.  It's in Heather's collection.

Finally, I found a photo of the CD recorded by Lori Presthus.

She was kind enough to add a credit for me on the other side.  I have the CD, too.

Have a great day tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life's A Day At The Beach.

Monday's have turned out to be our favorite day to go to the beach.  Not that there's a bad day to go, it's just that one of our favorite beaches, Fort DeRussy, is particularly nice on Mondays.  Hardly any crowd, easy to do whatever we want and very relaxing.  Today was so relaxed, I jogged home to get more of a workout!  For more info about Fort DeRussy, click on this link:

Here are a few photos from our "Day at the Beach".

The temperature today was a very comfortable 83-degrees, (about 28-degrees C.) with the Northeast Trade Winds providing a beautiful breeze and keeping the humidity down to the upper-40s.  We arrived at the beach just a little past one PM and immediately got in the water.  We left the snorkels at home, but each of us had goggles to search for fish among the coral.  We saw sea urchins, a variety of small fish and sea cucumbers in the clear water about 70-meters from shore.  After swimming for about an hour, we headed for shore and the pool.  In the photo above, I'm trying hard to muster the energy for the run home. 

 Fort DeRussy, being a military reservation and home to the Hale Koa Hotel, we retirees are allowed to utilize all of the superb facilities, including a very nice pool.  This photo shows a portion of the pool area and one of several large trees which provide shade and beauty.  An outdoor bar and snack bar are located just steps from this area.

This palm tree is loaded with coconuts, but located such that if any drop they won't hit any pool visitors.  Click on any of the photos for a closer view.

The beach and ocean can be seen from the pool, but most of the other three sides are beautifully landscaped with flowering plants and trees.  These pink hibiscus have been trained to form a fairly high hedge.

Pigeons are around, but most visitors refrain from feeding them, so they're not a bother.  As we "dined" on a plate of nachos, this one was wishing one would hit the deck.

This orchid blossom must have fallen from someone's Mai Tai. :))

Another bird paying us a visit.

I wondered about this, too.  As we were departing, I stole a look behind the curtain and was disappointed to have missed the Wizard, however I did find a massage table, sans  occupant.  Whew!

On our way out, Michele just had to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas.  Who knew Santa vacations in Hawaii?!  Must be warm in that suit, but maybe he's on his way to a personal appearance scheduled at an air-conditioned shopping center.

A large, beautifully decorated tree, along with a snowman brings holiday cheer to Fort DeRussy.

Michele all aglow with holiday spirit, combined with Aloha Spirit.

A wedding party was having photos taken beneath this magnificent Bougainvillea canopy.  Lots of weddings take place in Hawaii, though I can't imagine why. :))

Just across the street from Fort DeRussy is Trump International Hotel and Tower Waikiki.  "Henry's Place" is on the other side of this building.  It's nice that "The Donald" wasn't able to takeover Fort DeRussy or Henry's Place.  Chalk up one for the little guy and the soldiers, sailors and airmen who protect his domain!  If you'd like to see just what his building is all about, click here:

It was a good day.  This is how I've always dreamed of spending winters--even as a kid.  We've been counting our blessings, but need higher numbers not yet invented. :)))  I sincerely hope your day was as special to you as this day was to me (us).

Finally...I thought I'd post an old painting every now-and-then, until newer works are available.  There are so many "older posts", few of you probably have the time to go that far back into the archives.  My hope is that sharing these ancient works might save you time and give you an idea of what my stuff looked like years ago.  Here's the first:

This portrait became the cover for Ms Lori Presthus' CD of J.S. Bach's Cello Suites 4-6.  We became friends after I heard her first CD of J.S. Bach's Cello Suites 1-3, played on Portland's All-Classical radio station.  I took a chance and called her phone number to inquire where I might purchase the CD.  I was amazed that she answered the phone and actually took the time to chat with me!  Over the course of the next year, we heard her perform as a member of Portland Baroque Orchestra and she visited my studio a number to times to discuss art.  She has become an accomplished painter in addition to a recording artist.  When she asked if I would paint her portrait for the CD cover, I was understandably nervous, but told her I'd give it a try.  I took nearly a hundred photos and her favorite is portrayed here.  To learn more, click here:
If memory serves, it was painted in 2003 or 2004 and is 24 x 20-inches, oil on canvas.  I should document these things better!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Morning, 24 November 2013.

I awoke this morning to the familiar sound of a small helicopter hovering amidst the downtown skyscrapers, lifting materials from street level to the roof of a building.  It was familiar, because last Sunday, this highly-skilled pilot (or another), perhaps with the same helicopter, was doing similar work.  I decided it might be interesting to get some photos of this fairly dangerous event.

While that was going on, a crew of workers on the roof of a nearby building were erecting a huge holiday star.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to catch this, too.

And then, while taking photos of the star and the helicopter, a Matson container ship pulled into the harbor and performed the delicate maneuver of swinging completely around in order to dock stern first.  Between this and the helicopter, it wasn't your normal, quiet Sunday morning.

Just when I thought the excitement was over, I noticed a window washer toiling away on yet another tall building.  The person was working on the windows along the very edge of the building which made the work seem that much more dangerous.  Photos to follow. :)

The helicopter and the holiday star.  Click for a close-up view.

If you click on this image twice, you'll be able to see the lime-green vested workers waiting for the load to reach them.

This shows the helicopter descending toward the street.  I wondered how many people were on the street to take in the show.

Click on the photo for a closer look at the rigging used to stand the star upright.

Here comes the 860-foot long Matson container ship Manoa, arriving from Oakland, California.  It would shortly begin its maneuver, turning completely around, to ease into the berth stern-first.

From our lanai, it looked like it was going into Berth-10, normally used for cruise ships, not freighters.  It soon became clear that it was simply maneuvering to turn and would be berthed in the regular spot.

She's backing now, with a tug guiding her.  Lots of goodies for the islands on board!

Continuing to her berth.

A little more than halfway up the building in the center of this photo, on the left edge, you can see the window washer.  This would be the time to click on the photo to zoom-in.  The camera makes it appear farther away than it is, but I wanted to give you a sense of the size of the buildings.

This is a zoomed view, though I recommend clicking on the photo to see it better.  Many workers here do not have traditional weekends, especially with the amount of visitors needing meals and wanting to take part is the many land and ocean activities.  Commerce never stops in Honolulu, so I'll say a well-earned "Thanks" to all the people who work so hard to keep the economic wheels turning. :)

Lastly today, I have to show you just how big those tiny tomato plants are getting:

They went into the soil on November 4th.  I do believe there will be tomatoes arriving, on schedule, in mid-January!! :)))

Have a nice evening and a great week, everybody!