Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27th Travel-Jog

After working all day on Mike's portrait, it was time for a workout and jog.  We've been looking at a huge yacht, called, "A", for the past week or so and after reading that it cost $300-million dollars to construct and outfit, I thought it was time to take a look and snap a few photos.  C'mon along:

We've never seen anything designed like this.  For more details about "A", CLICK here.  If you click on this image, you can see a couple of crewmen dangling from rigging, most likely cleaning the massive windows.

This bad boy is nearly four hundred feet in length.  It reminds me (only a little) of the fantasy vessel in the movie, "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".  Of course, that creation was a submarine, but this...I wonder.

What a beautiful day to visit a mega-yacht.  You can see our building in the distance between the ship and the pier.  "A" is owned by Andrey Melnichenko, a young Russian billionaire.  To learn more about him, Click here. 

So, time to get back to the jog.

With "A" berthed next to Aloha Tower, I thought you might enjoy this incredible blue sky with a couple of palm trees to accentuate the tower.  The Trade Winds were doing their thing today, keeping the air freshened and the humidity low.  Oh...and keeping me comfortable. :)

The afternoon also featured a few fast-moving showers which benefited me greatly, with their wind-blown mistings and a wonderful rainbow.  The plumeria are in blossom as you can see on the left in this photo.

A little further down Ala Moana Boulevard, that great rainbow had doubled. 

This recently cut monkey pod tree stump near a state government building parking garage stopped me in my tracks.  It was there just a couple of days ago and there was no visible evidence that it needed to be removed.  I almost ran past, but then remembered I had the camera in my hand.  What amazing form and color! 

This rainbow, seen from our 18th-floor elevator lobby, put a nice exclamation point on the travel-jog.  Hope you had a great day, too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mike, Today

It's been a heck of a challenge getting Mike's very subtle grin on.  Getting his squinty eyes and barely upturned mouth looking correct has been a struggle.  No matter what I've done, he always looked like he was grimacing and his brow was deeply furrowed.  He looked like he was in great pain, too.   

Today, for unknown reasons, things went well.  For those interested in the colors:  yellow ochre, cad red light, alizarin crimson permanent, ivory black, ultramarine purple and titanium white.  There is a bit of cad yellow light on the palette, too.

Mike, work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 40 x 30-inches.  This is more like the Mike everyone loves.     

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pat And Mike

Boy!  Don't ya just hate what digital cameras, computers and printers can do to your art?!  Poor Pat.  When she took a look at the photos of her portrait, she noticed a moss green color in a couple areas of her hair and what appeared on her computer screen to be a blood spot in the corner of her eye. 

I told her I had laughed at her very kind suggestion that maybe, perhaps I could correct those two areas.  After all, I had urged her to give me an honest critique and let me know what I could do to make the painting better.  Of course, I didn't see those things on the in-person painting, but decided I'd do what I could to thwart those pesky electronic devices.  Which begs the question:  Are we painting for people, or computer screens?

So, the last few days I've been painting and re-painting Pat.  And when she was drying, I'd work on Mike.  Mike is a security guard at our building and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.  Once I got to know him, I thought he'd make a great subject for a portrait, even though he showed no interest in the project.  I realized I already had his photo, taken for a blog post about people who work on Thanksgiving.

I cropped the photo and have been working on his portrait on the Big Canvas I'd been using for my ill-conceived Diebenkorn knock-off work.  Mike is aware of what I'm doing, but hasn't seen the work-in-progress yet.  It's going well and reminds me of the fun I had working on the Harry Kent, Caio Fernandez and Charles Daniels portraits.

So, here are a few photographs of the current works-in-progress:

Mike, day-1.  Work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 40 x 30-inches.

Mike, yesterday, 22 May.  I asked him if he'd like me to change his uniform for some other type of attire.  After all, this painting may end-up in a museum! :)  Mike opted for an Aloha shirt in blue.  I put on one of mine which matched his requirements, took a photo and am working on it.  The white flowers will be added soon.  I also need to work on getting the kind, gentle giant, Mona Lisa smile he showed in the reference photo.

Say "Aloha" to Mike.  Just don't do anything to upset him!  He's gentle as they come, but I wouldn't want to test his patience.  He played Santa Claus at the building Christmas party if you needed any proof of his kind and gentle nature.

Here's Pat as of today, 23 May 2014.  I'm not about to stop yet, as there are a number of things and areas which need tweaking.  A couple of days ago, I switched to the Zorn Palette and have been pleased with how the portrait is coming along.

In ending this post, please allow me pay homage to the many men and women who the nation will be remembering this Memorial Day.  Thank you for your service and sacrifices.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kaiwo Maru Returns to Honolulu.

The Kaiwo Maru, a Japanese training tall ship, arrived in Honolulu this morning and she was berthed within view and access.  About six months ago, her sister ship, Nippon Maru, visited, but was berthed in a restricted access pier, so we only saw her from a distance.

I took my camera and stopped at the harbor early-on in my jog today.  It was great fun chatting with some of the cadets, smartly-dressed in their whites, heading out for a day of liberty in Honolulu.  Most spoke at least some English and though my Japanese is far from adequate, it didn't stop us from communicating.  I think most of the crew members were on their way to Ala Moana Center to do some serious shopping or just take a look.  They were all very respectful, even saluting as I walked by in my jogging attire.  What a most-impressive group of young people.

Another sailing ship is here just now and last year I did a post on it, too.  It's the Robert C. Seamans, a vessel also dedicated to education on, and about the sea.  It was berthed nearby the Kaiwo Maru, so I took some photos of her, too.  And if that wasn't enough...The Atlantis Navatek sailed by on the way to her berth.  We took a whale watching tour aboard her a few years ago.

Finally, the shower trees are in full-bloom again and I snapped some photos of them on the state capitol grounds.  Whew!

The Japanese Training Vessel, Kaiwo Maru, heading for Honolulu Harbor.  We're still hoping to someday see her under full-sail.  Click on the link to learn all about her.

A tug maneuvers her toward her berth.  Click on the photo to enlarge it for a better look at the yellow-helmeted crewmen on the bow.

The Rising Sun flag flies proudly from her stern.  She was being nudged into her berth stern-first today.

The ship's name adorns the brow.  By the time I arrived, many of the cadets had departed on liberty.

The vessel was taking on fuel for the voyage to her home port of Tokyo.  Two fuel trucks were there, each holding fifty-thousand pounds of diesel fuel.  Sadly, no tours of the ship today.

A partial view of the four-masted barque's rigging.  The main mast is just over 142-feet high or 43.5-meters.  It must be quite a thrill to be posted at the top of the mast on a blustery day!

The bowsprit was a golden lady.  The ship is 361.2-feet, 110.09-meters in length.

I know I said most of the cadets were headed for Ala Moana Shopping Center, but these two were the exception.  On my jog, the last portion takes me through the state capitol grounds and that's where I snapped this photo.  They must be contemplating careers in politics after their sea service.

Back at the harbor, this is the Robert C. Seamans, a floating classroom.  The crew does an excellent job of advertising this fact to all passersby with the huge banners seen here.  Click here to read all about it.

A floating advertisement for an exciting way to get a semester under your belt.

The Atlantis Navatek just happened to cruise by on the way to her berth. 

It's a uniquely-engineered vessel, designed for stability and passenger comfort.  We enjoyed our whale watching tour on this fine ship.  Their full list of activities can be seen here.

I'll end this day with a photo of a blooming "rainbow showers" tree.  I know "spring has sprung" and most of you are enjoying beautiful flowers and flowering trees, but this variety is something special.

Wherever you are, I hope the flowers are abundant and spectacular. :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hokule'a Begins Her 3-Year Voyage.

I got home yesterday, just in time to see Hokule'a sailing out of Honolulu Harbor, accompanied by many paddlers, private boats loaded with well-wishers, family members of the crew, news media and a helicopter.  Her sister vessel, Hikianalia followed behind.  You can read all about the voyaging canoe and her three-year, round-the-world cruise by clicking on the link above.

This voyaging canoe and her travels are a huge deal here and over the last year, we've been watching the story on the nightly news as the crew prepared for this long voyage.  The crew, which will be changed periodically during the three years, will navigate the "old fashioned" way, using the stars, ocean currents and even birds to guide them.  Her sister ship, the Hikianalia, will accompany Hokule'a, but she'll be loaded with the latest hi-tech navigation and communications equipment.  Here are some photos taken from our lanai:

Hokule'a sails along Sand Island, not far off shore, accompanied by many paddlers in their own canoes wishing her Aloha.  She's heading for the Big Island for her first stop, then she'll be on her way to Tahiti.  Click on the photos to enlarge.  Hokule'a departed late Saturday afternoon, not long before sunset and these photos were taken as six-thirty PM neared.

Hokule'a passing in front of a tanker at anchor, with a tug towing a barge loaded with containers in the distance.  The south shore of O'ahu was on the receiving end of a large ocean swell this weekend and in this photo the large waves are clearly visible.  I even went surfing off Waikiki Beach this day, but my lack of experience was evident in how many waves I didn't catch. :(

A final image of Hokule'a and her well-wishers.  Fair winds and following seas!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ms Patricia Demartini--Again.

While working on Diebenkorn knock-offs and various other new stuff, I've also been doing a second portrait of our dear friend, Ms Pat Demartini, of Portland, Oregon.  Don't you just love that name! :)

The painting is looser than most all of my previous portrait efforts, including the first one of her.  Today, I sent her some images and will be nervously waiting to learn what she thinks about it.

This went fairly quickly compared to my normal angst-ridden marathons.  It was started on May 12th, and only requires Pat's approval to be called finished.  It may just be a world record for me.  Here are a few photos from start to today:

Let's work backward today.  This is how it looks just now, May 16th, 2014.  It's oil on canvas, 18 x 14-inches.  Normally, smiling portraits aren't my favorite and I usually try to talk subjects out of such poses.  That being said, looking back on the first portrait, it seemed her smile really needed to be there and this painting corrects my error.

Here's the reference photo, taken in Portland, September 23, 2012.  Time really does fly!

This was taken on the first day of work, 12 May 2014.

On 14 May, a nature-themed background was considered.  Pat's an avid gardener and it seemed like a possibility worth exploring.

Bye-bye to the green.  I much prefer a simple background which helps viewers stay focused on the subject.  This was done this morning, 16 May.

Later this morning, I began incorporating the background colors into her hair, as well as, correcting some drafting errors with her neckline.

Lastly, or until Pat gives me additional marching orders, I added the shadow to the left.  Her neck does need work, but basically, ta-DA-a. :)

A possible candidate for a portrait to be painted on the Big Canvas has been selected and I'm standing-by for him to let me know if he'll pose or not.  Hope you all had an excellent day. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Back At It.

The big canvas continues to morph--have a look:

I woke up early this morning with a boat-load of ideas.  Here is the first.

As the morning progressed, lots of paper towels were used to wipe-out what looked like a cross or a tree.  Then I saw an uplifted, out-stretched arm.  From Diebenkorn's angular shapes, to a tree with a cross, to this figure-like shape.  Busy day! :)

Here it is on the wall to dry and allow us to "live with it" for awhile.  You and I both know this cannot be the end, but I admit I'm liking the figure idea.  Stand-by for whatever comes next. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Here are a few images of the on-going struggle to paint a new way.  And, I'd like to salute all the Mothers out there for all your hard work and wish you a very Happy Mother's Day.

The "Big Canvas" earlier today.  Not certain where it's headed, but change is inevitable.

A few hours later today.

This is the current state of the landscape seen on the previous post.  It will likely change, too.

This was formerly a hugely unexciting Hawaiian beach scene.  It's in the process of becoming a "highly expressive" autumn view of downtown Portland from our last home.

Here it is again a few hours later.  Is this fun, or what?!

Stick around.  Who knows what will happen next!  And have an enjoyable Sunday. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A New Start.

That heavy, over-worked canvas, with layer-upon-layer of nothing worth saving got a fresh start today.  Yesterday, I scoured our photo files for at least three hours, searching for something which might trigger an idea for a painting.

The difference was looking with Diebenkorn eyes.  I squinted and rotated countless images around, trying to imagine what he might do with a particular photo.  Over the hours, I found six or seven images with possibilities and printed them.

The realization finally hit me, that no matter how desperately I wanted to make a successful imitation of a Diebenkorn, it wasn't going to happen.  So, with one of the selected photos, I'm trying to breathe new life into that poor canvas.  Whatever happens, it will be mine--certainly influenced by him--but mine.

It's a start.  Eventually, if I'm able to turn this into something, you will all be greatly surprised to see the photo which sparked the attempt. :)  I must beg your indulgence and your patience.  What you're looking at is only the preliminary effort.  I had a lot of stuff to cover over and my enthusiasm to begin resulted in this sort of base coat.

Nothing Diebenkorn-esq about this 20 x 16-inch depiction of a Northwest Portland neighborhood.  I work on this while the big canvas is drying.

Here's the photo, taken in August of 2006, on NW 22nd Avenue.  For some reason, I cropped it and held it up to a mirror to reverse the image. 

I plan to begin work on several new canvasses soon, using the previously mentioned reference photos, along with a healthy dose of "essence of Diebenkorn". :)  Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Very Heavy Canvas.

It's true.  This 40 x 30-inch canvas has so many paint layers it likely could set some kind of Guinness world record.  It's so heavy, I expect that any day now, the hollow wall anchor it hangs from will finally give way and the painting will crash to the floor.

How Richard Diebenkorn got everything in his paintings to work together is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.  Though Winston Churchill used these words when speaking about Russia, being a painter I feel he would understand their applicability.

Here are some images of the continuing quest to understand Diebenkorn's genius:

This is it on May 1st, hanging precariously in-place while it dries.  Click to enlarge.

 Same canvas, May 4th.  Visually chaotic, but colorful. :)

Still May 4th, but two hours later.

An additional two hours.  I've been trying to let each version lead me to something which actually works, but surrounded by lostness.  Trying too hard and maybe too many of Diebenkorn's paintings in my head.

This is it today, hanging on the wall drying.  I can hardly wait to hit it again tomorrow!  I'll need to visit the art supply shop first.  Lots and lots of paint being used here, but, nowhere to go but onward. :)

Have a good day!