Thursday, June 30, 2016

U.S.S. John C. Stennis (CVN-74) Arrives For RIMPAC-2016

For over three years, I've hoped to be at the entry channel to Pearl Harbor to watch a Navy aircraft carrier pass by.  Yesterday, that dream came true.  It was late-morning when I decided it was time to take a short break from painting.  Hunger wasn't an issue, so I passed the kitchen and wandered over to the open lanai door for a look out to sea.  With RIMPAC-2016 underway, there is an excellent chance a carrier will be visiting Pearl Harbor, so I'm always on the lookout.  That routine look resulted in spotting the unmistakable profile of an aircraft carrier.

Electrified, I immediately told Michele that this might be our chance.  The ship was far enough from the entrance to Pearl Harbor and moving fairly slowly, so the odds were on our side if we acted fast.  We were out the door in less than three minutes.  The short trip to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam took only about another fifteen minutes and we were quickly through the main gate and on our way to the the channel side.

The parking lots in the area were mostly filled due to both lunch hour and the carrier's pending arrival.  Seems lots of active military personnel knew precisely when the ship would arrive and had beaten us to the spot.  I panicked at the thought of missing this because we were driving around in search of a parking place and asked Michele to take over as I bailed out and headed for the channel shoreline. 

As it turned out, she found a spot to park and arrived in plenty of time to watch the show.  I apologized for being so crazy to see this event, but not too much.  So, at long last, we were perfectly positioned as the U.S.S. John C. Stennis (CVN-74) sailed closer and closer.

One of the waiting tugboats put on a show for the large number of people lining the channel shoreline.  It did a series of 360-degree spins to the applause and cheers of the crowd.  The tug captain could certainly have heard the positive reaction since the channel is quite narrow.

Several military and civilian aircraft passed over the harbor entrance on their way to landing and the roar must've been deafening to the sailors manning the rail in their dress white uniforms.  It took me back to 1977, when several junior officers, including me, were ordered to represent our E-2 squadron, in our whites, on the flight deck as the ship rendered honors passing the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.  The Stennis crew yesterday was greeted with cheers of Aloha as their giant ship passed by on her way into the harbor and responded with their own waves.

And speaking of waves...I was surprised by the size of the waves hitting the seawall as the ship passed.  It didn't seem to be going fast enough to generate as much wake as it did.  The channel is between 350 and 400 yards wide, and that's not much room for the huge vessel.

What a great thrill to finally see this from shore.  I have no doubt the crew, especially the younger members, will never forget the experience.  I never have, and it's been almost forty years!  Here are some photos and a link to a short video:

There she is in the distance, and this great ship really did look about this small.  After all that hustle, we were there with plenty of time for a bit of sunburn.  There was no time to lather-up with sun block before we left home, but neither of us thought we'd be there long enough to need it.  Oops.

One of several tugs and security vessels waiting for the Stennis to get closer.  Here's a link to the tug which was doing "doughnuts".


I also had plenty of time to get some photos of several aircraft making their approach to the airport.  If you click on the image, you can practically see the C-17 pilot finishing a cup of coffee prior to touching down. :))

Man, is that impressive, or what!  1,092-feet long and 103,300-long tons (231,392,000-pounds) of ship heading for a very small channel.  I'm as peace loving as anyone, but if you must have a defensive capability, this will do nicely.  Here's a link to a short video of the arrival.

Who would've thought a new-ish navy Boeing C-40 Clipper would fly in just as the Stennis was entering the channel?  This is the aircraft which replaced the McDonnell-Douglas C-9B I flew for six of my twenty years in the navy.  We were treated to an air show and the carrier!

Back to the star of this post.  Click on this image for a closer look at the carrier and the well-armed fast boat zooming along providing security.

Zoomed into the bridge, also known as the island, tower or superstructure.  Click on this, or any of the images for a closer look.  You may know some of the crew!

Crewmembers on the bow of the ship.  That's an F/A-18 Hornet behind them.  It may be a "Super hornet, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it's one heck of a capable aircraft.

Sailors viewing their arrival from one of the ship's gigantic elevator openings.  You can get some sense of the enormity of the hangar bay in this photo.

I'd be remiss if a photo of this Northrup-Grumman E-2D wasn't included in the post.  Nostalgia demanded an homage to this massively improved version of the E-2C I flew off the U.S.S. Coral Sea and the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk during the Stone Age. :)

One last photo of the Stennis' superstructure and her gigantic "74".  It's always lit-up at night, helping crewmembers find their way home after a fun-filled liberty.  I am able to confirm it works! :)))

The Stennis stern as she passes by.  That yellow line is actually the drop lights which help pilots maintain their line-up during night, or low visibility landings aboard.  Here's a link to a short YouTube video of a night landing aboard a carrier in which you can see the drop lights hanging straight down the stern. 

What a magnificent sight as the great ship heads for the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and her berth.  It was a wonderful experience to finally see a carrier arrive at this historically important harbor, from so close up.

Hope you all have a wonderful tomorrow and a peaceful weekend.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Vist To The Zwick Academy Of Fine Art

Dear Rhonda and Jennifer:  I did make that appointment with Mr. William Zwick, and today was the day.  At 9:45 AM, I nervously navigated the two-and-a-half blocks through Chinatown to 1041 Maunakea Street and entered the front door.  There I met the founder, owner and director of the Zwick Academy of Fine Art, sweeping down the stairwell.  I introduced myself and he invited me up the three flights of stairs to his studio.

This first meeting was to be an opportunity to get to know each other a bit, and discuss the possibility of beginning a series of private lessons.  William is outgoing and friendly to my great relief, and his large academy studio is filled with everything I'd like in my "dream studio".  Lots of easels, a platform for models, damage-proof concrete floor, paintings by him, as well as, student's work, props, paints and brushes, charcoal, pencils and erasers, palettes, canvases, costumes, casts and curtains, directional lighting and still life shadow boxes.  The walls are painted a warm, very comfortable gray and the overall ambiance made me want to stay and never leave.

I blabbed about myself--too much, I'm sure--but did ask lots of questions, too.  Mr. Zwick has some mighty impressive credentials, including graduating from Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California, and the Florence Academy of Art, Firenze, Italy.  One could not hope for a better-trained professional artist to study with.  His work is breathtaking and most impressive.  We discussed many possible areas of study to narrow down my specific goals.  Next Saturday, from 1-3 PM, we begin!  Our first area of instruction will cover color mixing, working on a simple still life set-up.  I've always struggled with color and am eager to get to work.

Here are some photos from today's visit to the Zwick Academy of Art:

Mr. William Zwick.  In the background, you may recognize John Singer Sargent's famous portrait, "Madame X".  The Academy hosted a Master Copy class February-April of this year, using works by Sargent.

This shows about a third of the academy space.  The tape on the concrete floor ensures students return to their chosen places on Friday model sessions.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Two copies of works by John Singer Sargent, done by Mr. Zwick.  These are so impressive seen in person.

A plaster cast in a shadow box in the studio.  You can see a bit of the warm gray wall color.

A painting of a plaster cast.  It looks so real, you'd think it was the cast.

Quick change:  The photo of Dr. McKinlay's father, my current portrait project.

An 11 x 14-inch sketch of Mr. McKinlay.  The finished portrait will be on a 16 x 20-inch canvas.

I'm looking forward to working on this painting while attending lessons with Mr. Zwick.  My hope is the knowledge acquired will be reflected in the finished portrait.  It's about time I took the step of seeking "professional help" and who would've thought it was to be found practically next door!

Enjoy your weekend everybody!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Paintings And Skies

We've had some great sky scenes lately and I plan on (finally) trying to do justice to them on canvas.   I've been working for some time on a large canvas featuring the view from the 39th-floor elevator lobby.  Often, during late afternoons, clouds cling to the upper ridges of the Ko'olau Range, partially obscuring them, along with part of the upper Nuuanu valley.  As the sun sinks lower, the higher clouds turn pink and orange and the shadowed mountains turn shades of bluish gray.  Frequent showers produce rainbows of intense color.  The word "paradise" often comes to mind looking at this natural beauty.

It's fun trying to imagine what magical paintings J.M.W. Turner might produce from this vista.  For some time now, I've been working on interpreting the view.  As usual, there have been many iterations on the canvas, from fairly dark blue-grays to now showing the last light illuminating various facets of the mountains.  Homes grace the gentler slopes, following the contours down into the valley.  The goal is to "interpret", rather than paint each house or building and create clouds that mimic the softness and color.  I'd like to create a beautiful painting, restrained by truth.  Stay tuned!

The sun has just dipped below the Waianae Range.
Clouds over the ocean to the south were just "thinking" about turning color at 7:06 PM.

About twenty minutes later.  Simply beautiful.

An on-going work featuring the Ko'olau Range, as seen from the 39th-floor elevator lobby.  Whenever there, I'm drawn to the large windows and this view, often spending a minute or two before pushing the "down" button.  The mountain tops are frequently obscured by low rain clouds and as the sun sinks in the west, rainbows are common.

Wednesday, this rainbow made an appearance while I was on the golf course at dusk.

Looking west at 7:04 PM.  I'd just made a par putt on the 18th-hole and grabbed my phone to get this glorious shot.

At 7:23 PM, the fading sun painted the wispy clouds pink for me.  How lucky can you get! 

Didn't think I'd given up on portraiture, did you?  This is a photo of my dermatologist's father and will be my next portrait.  I pushed pretty hard to paint the doctor, but we settled on this image of his dad.  It's just what I always hope for:  a great story within a great photo.  I've prepped a canvas and excited to get a drawing on it.  Sometimes the start is gung-ho and high energy, but this is different.  Thought and restraint are called for, so some sketches will be done and possibilities explored prior to touching that canvas.  What?  Did I really write that?!

This is one of a bunch of paintings displayed on the second floor lobby of the building in which Dr. McKinlay's office is located.  It's titled:  "Sophie", on the card, ("Sophi", on his website) is 44 x 30-inches, oil on linen and was painted by local Honolulu artist, William Zwick.  The price for this very nice portrait is $18,000.  Mr. Zwick heads the Zwick Academy of Fine Art, located across the street in Chinatown, only a block or two from our building.

I remember shortly after moving here, seeing an advertisement for his academy.  At that point, we had no real idea how much rent we'd be paying, or the true cost of living here, so I didn't take a serious look at taking any classes.  Looking at his website today, several classes are not only  affordable, but would provide, as least some of the practical drawing and painting education I've missed.  I just don't know if I have the courage to show-up! 

Have a nice Father's Day to all you Dads out there!   

Monday, June 13, 2016

Nature Puts On A Show And A Few Favorite Paintings

Just a few photos of Mother Nature's handiwork lately:

Sunset, 8 June 2016.  Not bad!

Moonset, 12 June 2016.

Zoomed, a lot.  This is a very close to what I saw.  Taken at 12:44 AM.

The south shore of O'ahu was on the receiving end of a large ocean swell this weekend, with waves between 6-8-feet high.  This shows the entrance to Kewalo Basin with big waves breaking not far away.

Cumulus clouds over the ocean, 6:03 PM, 12 June 2016.  We happened to catch the Honolulu forecast on "The Weather Channel", in which thunderstorms were predicted!  In over three years here, we've only heard thunder a couple of times.  Local forecasters didn't call for anything so ominous, but they, as you would expect, have a better feel for here...and they can always look outside! :)

A departing airliner looks insignificant compared to those clouds.

May 14th of this year, the setting sun did a very nice job of adding a splash of color to these clouds.

Thought I'd wrap-up this post with a bit of art.  Like most of you, I have a few files filled with  favorite paintings by other artists.  This example is by Julian Merrow-Smith.

This beautifully done vase of flowers was painted by Jeremy Lipking.

Jeremy Mann did this wonderful still life.

PS:  Thanks to Dr. Joe McKinlay, a dermatology specialist and former Navy Flight Surgeon, I have a new painting project!  He just sent me an email with the most touching photo of his father.  Since my first visit, I've offered to do a painting for him, and today, he accepted.  I can hardly wait to get started!
                                                                           
Have a great week at your easel!

Friday, June 10, 2016

King Kamehameha Day, 100th Annivesary

It's King Kamehameha Day here in Hawaii, and tomorrow is the 100th King Kamehameha Day Grand Floral Parade.  Here's a link with some great photos of some of the parade entrants.  The annual lei draping on King Kamehameha's large statue was held this afternoon.  I've attended before and posted if you're interested in seeing those photos.  Just enter 'lei draping' in the search window and you'll also have access to previous year's parade photos.

I was "tweaked" a day ago, by fellow blogger, Jennifer Rose Phillip, concerning the self-portrait at 65.  I have no idea why, since it's only been about six months since work began.  I'm just getting warmed-up :)  I explained to her (in response to a comment she made yesterday) why it's taking so long.  And it's not just because of too much golf, as if that was even possible.

The original reference photo was taken with a single light source located above and slightly behind and to the right.  It threw a shadow across most of my neck and it's been a problem for most of those six months.  A few days ago, I assumed the original pose while looking at one of the mirrored closet doors in my studio/second bedroom.  Natural light was to my left, which illuminated most of the neck physiology.  I made the decision to alter the light in the painting and immediately began the rework.  Before I turn 67, it's my goal to have this finished.  Okay, okay...you can stop laughing now!

The annual ceremony of draping leis on the statue of King Kamehameha was held today.  Photos courtesy of KGMB Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Fire Department provides a "cherry picker" truck to make it easier to drape the leis.  In olden times, they likely used a long, thin tree branch with a "Y" at the business end to raise the (up to) thirty-foot long flower wreaths to the statue.

Another view of the ceremony.  Thanks, again, to KGMB Hawaii News Now.  I was too lazy to go  this year.

Now...About that self-portrait:

The cropped original reference photo, January, 2015.  Despite being taken relatively early in my 65th-year, it became the last-minute choice the day before birthday 66 happened December, 2015.   No matter what I did to the shadow beneath the neck, it didn't seem to work.  In fact, all the very dark shadows didn't work.

By the 4th of January, 2016, it looked like this.

This was the February, 2016 look.

Early March, 2016.  I was sort of okay with the way this was going, but the neck still bugged me.  Too many lines and none of the tendons, ligaments or that elusive sinew seen in life, in the mirror.

In April of this year.

At the end of May, 2016.  You can see the experiment with the neck physiology.  At this point, I wasn't committed to the changes, but soon would be.

A new reference photo taken in the natural light.  I used a website called lunapic and the "adjust" tab to instantly reverse the uploaded original photo.  The shadows are too dark here, but I'll bring in some light during the on-going rework.  So, what else is new?!

Ta-Da-a!  This was taken today and obviously needs lots of work.  Working from life now, I only have about an hour or so each morning before the light changes.  Like most painters, overcoming the tendency to "chase the light" is a daily challenge.  On the other hand, it leaves plenty of time to work on the old golf game! :)  Assuming the pose isn't too difficult, but it makes measuring and alignment of features using a brush handle nearly impossible.  Observe closely as possible and make a mark is the "new" working method.  One other thing:  My shoulders look a bit different than the photo, but we all know the camera lies.

Okay.  That's it for today.  Enjoy your weekend and stay tuned for progress updates.