Thursday, June 26, 2014

The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan Arrives For RIMPAC-2014.

What a thrill to see the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) arrive today!  She is here to participate in the largest naval exercise in the world, RIMPAC-2014.  This will mark the 24th-year of the multi-national naval exercise which enables the navies of the nations along the Rim of the Pacific to enhance cooperation in any and all eventualities.

This year, 22-nations are participating, with 49-surface ships, 6-submarines, over 200-aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel.  Wow!  Honolulu should be jumping when the sailors go on liberty!

Having served as a pilot aboard the U.S.S. Coral Sea  (CV-43) and the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (CV-63), I admit to feeling a sense of pride when seeing an aircraft carrier come into Pearl Harbor.  I still vividly remember being a young Ensign, assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron-114  (VAW-114) aboard the U.S.S. Coral Sea, as we steamed into Pearl Harbor.  I was ordered to join the ship's crew manning the rail as we rendered honors passing the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.  The ship's company, along with Air Wing-15 personnel were wearing our dress white uniforms and saluted smartly as we passed the Memorial.  What a memorable way to begin your first WestPac cruise! 

Imagine...a kid from the small city of Battle Creek, Michigan, and a history major in college, no less,  passing along side one of our nation's most sacred monuments.  As I stood there, taking it all in, I was simply overwhelmed.  So, seeing the carrier arrive this afternoon was very special, putting it mildly.

Here's the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) about to enter Pearl Harbor.  I was taking a break from working on a painting when I just happened to look seaward.  Instantly, I recognized that familiar profile and grabbed the camera.  How lucky can you get?!

A Boeing-747 taking off from the reef runway as the carrier gets closer to the entrance to Pearl Harbor.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

Must've been rush hour at Honolulu International Airport, and what a thrill it must have been for those passengers seated on the starboard side of the aircraft!  The pilots, too!  Of course, it's difficult to tell from this distance, but the ship is actually behind them.

I cranked-up the zoom as the sun was illuminating the big number "76" and the aircraft on the flight deck.

This final shot shows the ship passing behind the airport control tower.  It gives some sense of just how big the carrier is.

And just to prove I'm a kind and gentle man of peace today...

While the portraits of Mike and Mohammed are drying, yesterday, I began work on a self-portrait at 64.  No, it's not going to be an imaginary fantasy, rather I'm using a "pre-disastered" canvas and have yet to finish the contour.  And comments on how this is the best I've ever looked!

Have a great day tomorrow everybody! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mike Today

The portrait of Mr. Mike Fua is getting really close to signature time.  The photos of the painting today were taken with both the old and new cameras.

This image was taken with the old camera.  Some adjustments to the shirt values on the right remain and maybe I'll brighten the highlights on his nose and cheek. 

Here he is snapped with the new camera.  I don't see too much difference between the photos, though they were taken at different times of day, as well as, locations within our home.  In addition, the new camera shot was taken on automatic, while the old model was set to manual.  Go figure!

Have a nice evening!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pat's New Portrait Arrived.

It's taken awhile, but I finally finished and signed Pat's new portrait and a week ago, sent it to her.  From the post title, you know the rest.  Her first response was very positive and I couldn't be more pleased.

On purpose, I've kept the final version off the blog, so Pat's expectations wouldn't be influenced by any pesky camera, computer or printer gremlins.  So, here she is:

Ms Patricia Demartini, 2014, oil on canvas, 18 x 14-inches (45 x 35-cm).  Click to enlarge.

This is the reference photo of Pat.

Pat was kind enough to wear the same top and earrings for this photo she sent this morning.  Thanks, again, Pat! :)   

Hope everyone out there is having a great weekend.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Few Parade Photos.

The King Kamehameha Floral Parade was held on Saturday, so I jogged over to the same shady spot on the Iolani Palace grounds we watched from last year, to have a look.  As usual, a few incidental sights happened to make their way onto the camera's memory card, too.  And since I did such a massive post about the parade last year, this one will be brief.

The Pa'u Riders , representing the main islands, were staged on the Iolani Palace grounds and on the way to my viewing spot, I took a few photos as they waited to start.  If memory serves, red is the color of Hawaii Island, also known as, the Big Island.  King Kamehameha was born there.  The link is to a local news station video which shows exactly how all that cloth and six kukui nuts are turned into a garment both functional and beautiful.

These riders are attendants to the princess and ride behind her.

A view of the Iolani Palace.  Nice day for a parade!

The Kamehameha Schools Marching Band.

Another lovely Pa'u Rider.  Can you imagine riding the four-mile long parade route dressed like this?

Members of the cast from the Polynesian Cultural Center put on a wonderful sample of their shows.  The music and their enthusiasm really were fun to see.

Mrs. Hawaii America, 2014, Jessica Dentel.  She was one of several beauty queens gracing the parade.

 The Princess of Maui and one of her attendants.

The very sharp Marine Band entertained the crowd.

A view of the Iolani Palace grounds.  The area mid-photo left, is a royal burial mound.  Just inside the small wall Ti trees are planted.   In ancient Hawaii, the plant was thought to have great spiritual power; only kahuna (high priests) and ali'i (chiefs) were able to wear leaves around their necks during certain ritual activities. leaves were also used to make lei, and to outline borders between properties.  It was also planted at the corners of the home to keep ghosts from entering the home or property. To this day some Hawaiians plant near their houses to bring good luck.  Ancient Hawaiians also believed that the leaves had a medicinal use as antiseptic and diuretic.

The huge shade tree was really why I took this photo.  Simply magnificent.

A view looking west, including the state capitol building and some downtown buildings.

This shot doesn't do justice to the flowering trees, but what the heck.  You can see the trade winds are keeping Honolulu cool, simply by looking at those palm trees.

I continued on the jog, paralleling the parade route on the way to Waikiki.  This is the Ala Wai Canal, with a bunch of canoeists enjoying their Saturday.

A pirate ship entering Kewalo Basin!  Sound the alarm!  To arms!  Actually, I took this photo during my jog to see the Lei Draping last Wednesday.  I was running along Ala Moana Boulevard and spotted the "Treasure Seeker" on it's way home.  If you have young children and are planning a vacation in Honolulu, click on the link to learn all about the cruises offered.

Hope you had an exciting weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

King Kamehameha I Lei Draping.

Today, Wednesday, June 11th, 2014, is an official holiday in Hawaii.  It's the day King Kamehameha I is honored and celebrated throughout the islands.  Included among the many activities  commemorating the leader who united the islands into a single kingdom, is the draping of his statue outside the Ali'ionlani Hale building.  It's a beautiful ceremony, in which all the royal societies, along with government officials and a variety of organizations come forward in-turn to place their lei offering on the statue.  Blessing of the offering and chants in the Hawaiian language accompany the draping.

I timed my jog today, to arrive at the ceremony after most of the groups had placed their offerings.  Click on the photos for a closer view.

Anyone who has seen the television program, "Hawaii 5-0", will recognize this building:  It's the Ali'iolani Hale.  To learn all about this historic building, click here.

As I wandered about the grounds, these lovely ladies agreed to pose for a photo.  I'm not sure what their connection was to the ceremony, but they certainly deserved to be photographed.

This group of performers also let me snap a photo.  The ukulele is a tenor model, with eight strings instead of the usual four.

The king in all his glory.

A closer view.  The flowers are simply spectacular.

This lady is chanting before a group's offering is placed on the statue.

Our Mayor, Mr. Kirk Caldwell does the honors for the City of Honolulu.

A final view. 

Hope you all had a celebration today, too! :)  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Progress On Mike.

Here's the latest look to the Mike Fua portrait.  The new Pat is drying and will be sent to Portland in a few days.  She won't get a look at it until the package arrives, as I don't want to poison her impression by seeing it on a computer screen.  After she receives it, I'll post an image of the final version.

Today, lots of drawing adjustments were made, but more work remains.  His neck, visible now, minus his tee-shirt, is one experiment after another.  I've been working with some violets to create the look of reflected light on the right underside of his jaw, but nothing is set in concrete yet.  The drawing corrections really helped get his subtle smile.  In fact, it looks a lot less subtle now, but I'm okay with that.  Mike is one of those rare individuals who seems to glow with an inner light of kindness and strength.  Whenever I see these qualities in a person, I feel compelled to try to capture them on canvas.

Have a good day tomorrow!