Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tour Of The B.E. Esmeralda

I made it back to Pier-9 at Aloha Tower this morning, where the Chilean tall ship, B.E. Esmeralda was welcoming visitors.  I enjoyed a delightful and very informative tour, guided by Ensign Raul Villegas.  Come on along for a look at this magnificent ship.

This photo, taken yesterday, gives a sense of the size of the vessel and height of the masts.  I was most eager to go aboard this morning.

Say hello to my tour guide this morning, Ensign Raul Villegas.  Guides were available at the quarterdeck as visitors were welcomed aboard.  This image is cropped from a photo you'll see later, but I told him I'd crop it so his parents could have a good look at their son.  I'm sure they're very proud of him.  His language skills are impressive as he was able to converse with me in perfect English.  On the other hand, it was all I could do to utter a few words in Spanish, usually mixed with Italian.  Pazzo, eh!

Had to get a shot of the ship's wheel and bell, along with Ensign Villegas.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look. 

Ensign Villegas took all my posing requests with a smile.  For those among you who are not sailors, this beautiful brass device is a manual capstan, used for hoisting sails.

This was a very interesting display on deck today.  It tells the story of Chilean Navy Captain Luis Pardo and his ship, Yelcho.  Captain Pardo was responsible for the rescue of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and members of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17 after their ship, the Endurance, was trapped in the ice (January, 1915) and sank.  Shackleton and his men survived unbelievable hardships and were ultimately picked up by the Yelcho on Elephant Island August 30th, 1916.

Once again, I asked Ensign Villegas to squeeze into this photo to help provide a sense of the size of each of the anchor chain links.

The Coat of Arms of Chile.  The huemul on the left and the condor on the right, each wear golden naval crowns symbolizing the heroic deeds of the Chilean Navy in the Pacific.  The motto beneath says:  "By Reason Or Force".

The tour ended back on the quarterdeck, where a display of mementos of the ship were available for sale.  Posters of the ship under full sail, cuff links, and Bosun's whistles were some of the items.  My favorite among the offerings is pictured here. :)  Fine Chilean wines, bearing the ship's name.  Unfortunately, they did not take credit cards, so I was out of luck today.  Before departing, however,  I was offered an aparativo called Pisco.  It was served with ice and tasted much like lemonade.  What a delightfully refreshing drink!  Ensign Villegas told me it is served on board.  What a wonderful change of pace from the old fashioned navy grog.  My plan is to visit the ship again Saturday, with cash in-hand to purchase a bottle or two of this superb Chilean elixir.

My thanks to the captain and crew of B.E. Esmeralda for extending such warm hospitality to visitors and sharing the story of this grand ship.  A special thanks to Ensign Raul Villegas for having to pose for so many photos and answer my many questions.  Of all my travels with the navy, I never visited Chile and now have an idea of what I've missed.  The young crewmembers of this wonderful ship are shinning representatives of their nation, and the people of Chile should be very proud of them.  To the B.E. Esmeralda...May you have "Fair Winds and Following Seas" as you soon depart for your next adventure. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Travel Jog Featuring The Chilean Tall Ship, B.E. Esmeralda

Thursday morning I noticed a four-masted tall ship which appeared to have just exited the channel out of Pearl Harbor.  A few mouse clicks later, told us it was the Chilean training vessel, B.E. Esmeralda, and that she would be arriving at Berth-9 by 9 AM.  For those of you a bit challenged by the Spanish language, "B.E." stands for Buque Escuela or "School Ship", and "Esmeralda" is emerald in English.  In Chile, she is affectionately known as "Dama Blanca", as "Her white sails convey a warm message of peace and friendship from the people of Chile on her arrival at each port".  I like that.

Note:   A mis visitantes de habla hispana, los invito a probar la herramienta de traducción en el margen superior derecho. Muchas gracias por visitar mi blog.

By clicking on the website, we were able to learn the ship was heading for Berth-9, located at the foot of iconic Aloha Tower, seen in this photo.  It's been awhile since going on a "travel jog", so at 5:30 PM, with camera in-hand, I headed toward the harbor.   

Allow me to start at the beginning.  This was my first view of this magnificent ship.  The B.E. Esmeralda started her life as a four-masted topsail schooner, but following a rigging change in the 1970s, she is now considered a four-masted barquentine vessel.  The difference is way too subtle for me, but I hope sailing aficionados will appreciate the depth of my research. :)

Here she is approaching Berth-9.  Click on the photo for a closer view of the crew on deck, dressed in their whites.

Her tall masts, proudly flying the flag of Chile was the first thing I saw as I approached Aloha Tower.

The B.E. Esmeralda's shield mounted on the quarterdeck.  She will be welcoming visitors for the next two days.

The Star of Honolulu departs Berth-8, adjacent to the B.E. Esmeralda on a sunset dinner cruise.

The bowsprit of this great ship.  The bird's white collar made it fairly easy to recognize this was an  Andean Condor.

These two crew members greeted me when I inquired if I might come aboard.  Their English was flawless and they could not have been friendlier.  I told them they would be on this blog and that I hope to return for a tour tomorrow.  What wonderful ambassadors for the Chilean nation.  Their parents must be very proud of them.

This is why it's called a "tall ship".  I truly love seeing these beautiful vessels when they visit the islands.  Seeing them in this setting fires the imagination for the days when ships like this traveled the south seas with passengers and cargo, visiting exotic ports throughout the island chains and Asia.

The travel jog continues.  I'm running along Ala Moana Boulevard and here we have one of several new condo towers being built.

One of many plumeria trees along my route.  Their perfume is exquisite and vastly superior to exhaust fumes. :)

Did you really think I'd fail to include a close-up of the magnificent blossoms?!

Across Piikoi Street, we have a group of junior Marine ROTC members jogging, too.

They kept jogging in-place while waiting for the "walk" sign to illuminate.

Just across from the Capitol building, the Capitol Place condo tower looked particularly nice with its blue-tinted windows.  Home is only about a half-mile away and that was a good thing!

Hope you enjoyed the tour today.  Enjoy your tomorrow!   

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lesson 4, The Maestro Makes A House Call

Today (Saturday, July 23rd) was my fourth lesson with young Maestro William Zwick.  I called him a couple hours prior to ask if he'd be okay coming to my studio for a consultation on three paintings in work.

He was amenable to that, and luckily, my call caught him before he'd laid-out the colors for the still life he'd planned for today.  The subject was to be a mango to continue working on improving color temperature and value identification and organization.  We'll save that for next week. 

He could find his way to our building without a problem, but I love seeing the work in his studio, so I went over there.  Soon, we were back here and he was answering my many questions and making suggestions about how to make those three paintings better.

The time flew by, especially when he agreed to my invitation to correct the Kaneohe golf course painting on the canvas.  I was seated nearby, intensely watching him mix colors and make corrections.  As he worked, he kept a running explanation of exactly what he was doing and why.  As always, everything he said made perfect sense and seeing him put the words into corrections was a fantastic experience.  I know this will sound a little dramatic, but it was like watching a miracle happen.  Here's a link to a YouTube video capturing nearly three minutes of our session today.  I would've gotten more, but I was too busy concentrating on watching and learning.

My palette after William did his magic on the Kaneohe golf course painting today.  You can see I've taken his advice about using a wood palette in order to make it easier to mix colors correctly.  I've been using white disposable palettes for the past three years and never realized how dark most every mixture looks on the stark white surface.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

This is the painting as of yesterday.  I must admit I thought it was coming along quite nicely, but still bothered that it lacked something.  It just didn't give me the same feeling inspired by the photo. 

This shows the painting AFTER William's corrections.  Above the canvas is a print of the original photo.  The print is 5 x 10-inches and the canvas is 10 x 20-inches.  He left the broad fairway and the strip of ocean to the left for me to correct, but I wouldn't let him escape without leaving me with some words, or should I say, color and value suggestions.  His main focus today was the mountain, sky and the dark green strip.  His eye is so well-trained, he immediately mixed a color in a value to significantly improve the atmospheric perspective.  When he put the first brushstroke on the mountain, the change was so obvious, yet had completely eluded me, I simply broke into a broad smile and thought, why didn't I see that!?

You may recall an earlier post in which I said I was looking for a sunset to try.  This is an early stage of my first attempt at this subject.  We discussed it and I now feel confident of how to proceed on this.

Here's the photo which inspired the attempt.  It's obvious there remains a long way to go before the canvas resembles this.  My goal is that the painting will eventually look better and more powerful.  Today, William reminded me that it's the painter's prerogative to change things sometimes.  I often forget that, instead, becoming a slave to the photograph.

No photos, but we also discussed the Doc's Dad's portrait.  I've had some doubts about it for the past week or two and asked William for his opinion of what was bothering me about it, and also my plan to fix it.  His advice will enable me to proceed with a bit of confidence.

This, and the next photo were taken from the 23 July late news on local TV channel KHNL, Hawaii News Now.  Tropical Storm "Darby" is passing the islands even as I type this.  It's the first tropical storm to hit the islands in two years, losing much of its strength passing over the Big Island and Maui.  This photo is from Maui earlier today.  On O'ahu, we've been spared the worst of the storm, but I did get rain-soaked on my jog today.  Sustained winds are down to 40-mph. 

Another VERY dramatic image from Maui.  No deaths reported, along with some downed power lines and, of course, some flooding, mostly on the Big Island and Maui.  All-in-all, not too bad.  Hope we continue to get lucky!

Have a nice Sunday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Something You Don't See Every Day

Indeed!  Local TV station, KITV channel 4 news Monday evening featured video of a live fire exercise with the target being a decommissioned U.S. Navy ship.  The "SINKEX" was part of the in-progress RIMPAC 2016 International Naval Exercises.  Here are some photos taken from the broadcast.  Thanks, as always to the staff of KITV-4.

We froze the picture to get this great image of an anti-ship missile about to impact the bridge of the  decommissioned navy guided-missile frigate, U.S.S. Thach.  She was sunk in 15,000-feet of water by fire from several navies here for RIMPAC 2016.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

KA-BOOM!  On the telly, the colors were more "explosive" yellow and orange.

Game over.   

Another thing you don't see every day:  The Doc's Dad's portrait is coming along.  I've been diligently applying the teachings of young Maestro William Zwick in an attempt to take less than my normal year or so to finish a painting.  I'm now using my wood palette to mix colors, instead of a bright white disposable palette, or on the canvas.  Four or five brushes now come into play, too!  Not only is it much easier to judge mixtures for correctness, it's also so-o much more efficient, in both time and materials.  Still, quite a way to go.

And finally, something new.  I immediately loved this photo taken two weeks ago at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii golf course, Kaneohe Klipper.  This is the original photo cropped to 10 x 20-inches.  The big shapes and great colors (better in person) should make an interesting painting, in my humble opinion.  I'd love to see what Richard Diebenkorn might've done with this scene.  Hope there's a canvas this size at one of the local art supply stores. 

That's all for today.  Have a great tomorrow. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lesson 3

A day or two prior to Saturday's third lesson with young Maestro William Zwick, I decided I was quite tired of painting the canary.  I called William to see if he was amenable to a change.  Returning my call at lunchtime Saturday, he said he liked my idea and would see me at the appointed time.

The idea was to bring him home to see my studio, make suggestions that might improve it and evaluate and offer a critique and advice on two paintings currently in-work.  We were back in a mere ten minutes, and after a short tour of the amenities, in my studio.

William is a great teacher, and after a look around, he discussed the studio lighting and my improvised sight size rig.  He approved of the wooden palette I'd dug out of my painters box and recommended some tips to bring it back to life.  I showed him a container of Turpenoid Natural, my brush cleaner alternative to turpentine or odorless mineral spirits, and the variety of mediums on hand.  It was nice to know nothing I've been using raised any concerns. 

Next I fired a barrage of questions about every aspect of the painting process.  He confirmed much of what my old Maestro, William Matheny, told me over the years, which was most gratifying.  Then came the best part of the lesson, as we discussed specific paintings, the problem areas and ways to resolve them.  I can hardly express how wonderful it was to have such a talented and well-trained professional make a "house call".  Listening to his own problem solving methods was like receiving the keys to the kingdom.  I should have been recording everything he said! 

I feel like I've stumbled upon much more than a teacher.  He's a mentor, guide, guru, consultant and counselor, a friend and very giving person.  When it's all said and done, William is a very nice human being--a credit to your species.  Just kidding...mine, too. :)  If I should ever be fortunate enough to be introduced to his parents, they would receive my most hearty congratulations for raising such a fine son.  It's my fondest hope that each of you--artist or not--might someday find your own William Zwick.

No paintings to show today, but I will share some photos taken recently, of ships participating in the RIMPAC exercises and, of course, a sunset.

HMAS Canberra (L02).  She is the largest ship ever operated by the Australian Navy, commissioned in 2014.  She's on her way to Pearl Harbor in this image.  Click on the photo for a closer view.

Here's the U.S. Navy "Wasp"-class amphibious assault ship, U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) .

Not sure which nation owns this vessel, but it may be one of the Chinese ships taking part in the exercises.

A submarine heading for Pearl Harbor passes by the reef runway.  Couldn't see a number to get the name.

An airliner departs Honolulu International at sunset. 

And here's that sunset I promised. 

Have a good day tomorrow!   

Monday, July 11, 2016

Textbook Definition Of A Wild Ride

This link to an amazing video on YouTube a few days ago will give you a front row seat to the thrills of aircraft carrier aviation.  It might also serve to explain the theory that Naval Aviators are adrenaline junkies.  And sadly, eight sailors were injured when the arresting cable snapped. 

Notes:  In case you're wondering how the video was taken...There are two television cameras, one positioned on the island and another mounted in the landing area of the flight deck of every U.S. aircraft carrier for the sole purpose of recording every launch and landing.  During flight operations, all concerned departments, including every squadron ready room, has a live feed available.  The system is called the Pilot Landing Aid Television, or Plat.  Replays are used to help pilots improve their skills and as a record of all mishaps. 

Carrier pilots are trained to apply full-power at touchdown, for just such an occurrence.             
And, speaking of Naval Aviation...

The U.S.S. John C. Stennis (CVN-74) headed out today at about noon, for the RIMPAC international naval exercises.  I was content to view her departure from the lanai, instead of rushing over to see the enormous ship in the Pearl Harbor channel.  Busy painting, don't cha know. :)

The "big picture" looking west toward Pearl Harbor.  It was a glorious day to head to sea.  I'm guessing most of the crew had just about spent all their liberty funds, too.  It was always good to get back to work after visiting a great liberty port--we needed the rest!

That's the ship in the upper right quarter of this zoomed image.  Click for a bit closer view of the aircraft crowding the flight deck and the towering superstructure.  The buildings in the photo are part of Honolulu International Airport, mostly for parking cars.

At sea!  She doesn't seem all that far off the beach, but I'd hate to have to swim the deceiving distance.

It always seems a little strange to see clear through such a massive vessel, and I'm sure the crew on the hangar deck are enjoying the view and breezes.  I've no idea where she's heading for the RIMPAC exercises, but if she maintains this course a little longer, the crowds along Waikiki Beach will be in for a thrill.

A final photo with a helicopter from Paradise Helicopter Tours sneaking into the frame.  They have done a great job of recreating the famously colorful helo from the 1980's TV series, "Magnum P.I.".  For you older visitors, and those who enjoy "vintage" television, remember, "Magnum P.I."?  Most episodes featured a scene or two of a bright orange, yellow and brown "chopper" zooming around O'ahu.  I'll refresh your memory with the next photo:

 A "two-fer".  Magnum's Ferrari and the famous helicopter.  This photo is courtesy of

And finally...A photo of some very colorful clouds at sunset back on July 5th:

Time for me to get back to the studio.  Have a nice tomorrow everybody!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Practice, And Lesson 2

Since my first lesson last Saturday with young Maestro William Zwick, I've been busy working on the classic method he so successfully employs in his painting.  I prepped nine canvas boards and started out with a simple apple on a box.  It doesn't matter how these practice paintings turn out, since the goals are improving color and value identification, correct mixing those colors and using as many brushes as it takes to paint the set-up.  Not trying for any masterpieces.  In fact, my plan is to devote a maximum of two sessions (or less) to them.

This was the apple set-up photo.  I decided to ignore the color variances of the box, and paint only three values of the top color.  That's the trouble with working from photos!  Not sure if it's the camera or the printer.  I may have to add some sort of table to the studio for "live" set-ups and skip the photos. 

This is the peach set-up photo.  There is no way to achieve the darks required for such a set-up in the studio, so the master bath vanity was again, the site.  To block the light, I draped a cardboard box with a black apron (borrowed from Michele), while I held a black tee-shirt to eliminate glare from the mirror.  The camera was set to a ten-second delay, with a darker-than-true setting.  For the sight-size painting, I used a 5 x 7-inch print, placed next to the same size canvas board on my easel.  Whew!  I REALLY need a bigger studio!  

Here are the two practice paintings--each is 5 x 7-inches, oil on canvas board.  The apple was a Honeycrisp, with, in my opinion, garish colors which I didn't do much of a job color matching.    The peach may be a bit truer to the real thing, but, again, that's only part of the goal.  I took these to William's studio today, for his evaluation and suggested improvements.  Lesson 2 was postponed until today, Sunday.

As I entered William's studio, this magnificent cast painting was the first thing I saw.  In real life, the 3-D effect is remarkable.  Also, the colors are warmer and the wood plank background looks stunningly real.  Sorry my camera didn't do a better job.

William's palette today:  Manganese blue, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, ivory black, vermilion, yellow ochre, Naples yellow and titanium white.  He had already mixed the darks we'd use, leaving me to mix the lighter colors--under his gentle guidance.  Today, we would continue refining the canary from Lesson 1.  After the color mixtures were completed, we "oiled-in" our respective canaries and got busy.

Two hours later, this was William's canary.  Actually, the colors and shapes are a virtual match to the set-up on his right.  Again, the camera is the culprit.

This is where I normally start making excuses, but not anymore.  The difference between our birds is striking.  His confidence with color, value and mark making is immediately apparent.  William offered one more session with this subject and I was all for it.  You can see I've failed to keep my colors clean, need more work on proper ID of values and obviously, the box.  It was way off from last session and I didn't spend enough time making corrections today.  The bird held my attention almost the entire session.  Next Saturday I'll have one more try.

Lesson 2 was a little less nerve-wracking, since I'm already very comfortable with William, even though it's hard to tell by looking at my effort.  My hope is that one day before the lessons are over, I completely impress him with my progress.  I'll continue practicing the method in the coming week, working hard to see, and mix the subject's colors in the correct values.  Looking forward to next Saturday!

Hope you all have an excellent week.