I was pleased to have all five of my paintings accepted to this year’s juried en pleinair show at the Wailoa Art Center in Hilo. It was also an honor to receive my third-place award for my painting Red Road at Makakau!
In addition, my painting Mango Canopy was placed on its own pedestal at the front entrance, where visitors see it first thing when they enter the show. Mahalo to the juror and Wailoa Center staff for presenting my work with so much respect.
It’s a wonderful thing to receive an acknowledgement for the work it takes to be an artist, especially the time spent practicing my art. As an artist, the magic for me is in the actual creation of a piece, especially en pleinair painting where I am outdoors and completely immersed in the breeze, colors, light, and sounds of nature. Receiving an award or selling a piece of art is the icing on the cake. Yes, it’s sweet, but the making of the art is the cherished experience itself.
Beyond My Wisdom
Prompt from my weekly writing group.
Dusk along the Puna coast. Watercolor, 2017
What is beyond my wisdom?
If something is beyond our wisdom, can we actually comprehend it? Certainly beyond my knowledge I can understand. But wisdom?
What is wisdom after all?
Does wisdom equal the sum of our knowledge? No, not really but I think wisdom encompasses that.
Wisdom is one’s intuition, at least in part. We intuit things often, yet we don’t always act on our intuition.
Wisdom is more like… knowing when a painting is done.
Knowing when a painting is done is a learned skill based on ample experience, plus a big dose of inner knowing.
Kids know when their paintings are done. They finish and shout out in glee, “Look at what I did!”
Adults artists rarely know when to stop. How often do we ask another’s advice “Do you think it’s finished yet?”
How can we, the creator not know?
We paint and the love of painting exceeds the time when the painting is actually complete. When we overwork a painting we lose the initial freshness. We arrive at the point of “Ugh!”, long after the initial “Ahh!”
Sadly it is only in hindsight when we know the artwork has been pushed too far. Though with insight, this experience adds to the sum of our wisdom.
My wish is to conjure the state of Beyond my Wisdom. Go one step further than knowledge and three steps back into childhood innocence.
Abbie Rabinowitz ~ May, 2021.
Ohia and Lehua, acrylic on canvas, 8”x10”
Ohia and Lehua
This week my Plein air painting group and I tromped over an old, crumbly lava field to our destination along the Red Road… a small ohia tree in full bloom with lehua blossoms. These ohia trees are the first trees that grow in the cooled lava fields. The ohia trees are native to the Hawaiian islands, and because they grow directly from the lava rocks and cracks, they have a strong association with the volcano goddess herself, Pele.
I decided to study this beloved island tree up close, and really examine how this gnarly, twisted tree grows, how the leaves are formed, and where the fire red blossoms perch on the limbs.
There is also a magnificent Hawaiian legend of how Ohia and Lehua first came to be:
“The legend says that one day Pele met a handsome warrior named Ohia and she asked him to marry her. Ohia, however, had already pledged his love to Lehua. Pele was furious when Ohia turned down her marriage proposal, so she turned Ohia into a twisted tree.
Lehua was heartbroken, of course. The gods took pity on Lehua and decided it was an injustice to have Ohia and Lehua separated. They thus turned Lehua into a flower on the Ohia tree so that the two lovers would be forever joined together.
Hawaiian folklore says that if you pluck this flower you are separating the lovers, and that day it will rain.”
Richard, Lynn, and myself painting around the Ohia tree.
Live painting at a wedding in Kona
Over a year ago, a bride-to-be asked if I did “live painitng” at weddings. I was familiar with live painting, which is basically another term for painting in person on location at an event. She had searched the internet and found me, and enjoyed the loose painterly style of my landscape paintings. Naturally, I said yes! After all, I’ve been painting people and places ‘live’ my whole life. However, painting as large a painting as the bride requested would be more of a challenge to paint on location. I decided to use acrylics since they dry fast and I would be able to ship the painting sooner after it was completed.
Then the pandemic happened. I thought I would get a call telling me the wedding was canceled, However, since the wedding was being held outdoors and guests would be wearing masks, the event remained scheduled as planned. The weekend finally arrived and so did I, with my easel, paints, brushes, and large prepared canvas.
It was a glorious location for a wedding at a private estate on the Kona side of the island. I arrived early to set up and paint the setting from a distance. I wanted to include the tall palms, the coastline, and the distant Kohala hills. Working quickly to capture the whole scene, I painted during the ceremony and reception, and finally packed up and left when it began to get dark. Later in my studio, I added details as well as the bride and groom in the foreground.
Fortunately, the bride and the groom LOVED the painting. It captured the location and setting and most importantly, memories of the day.