Artists “Collab”

Over the weekend, I embarked on my inaugural artists’ “collab,” an experience that completely took me by surprise. I hadn’t realized how much of a phenomenon collabs had become until then, and I must say, the two days spent collaborating with a diverse group of about 15 fellow artists left me feeling truly inspired.

Hosted by the Queer and Abled Hawaii Artists Art Collective, the event extended an invitation for me to represent our local non-profit, S.P.A.C.E. (Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education), where I’ve been leading painting classes over the past year.

Gathering in a spacious art studio, we were encouraged to either initiate a new art piece or contribute to ongoing works started by others. Tables adorned with a plethora of art supplies and boxes brimming with found objects—ranging from organic materials to driftwood, discarded toys, and various odds and ends—beckoned us to delve into our creative realms. With an emphasis on play rather than striving for “high” art, each day offered opportunities to exchange knowledge, experiment with novel techniques, and foster a spirit of camaraderie.

It proved to be an extraordinary avenue for connecting with fellow artists while relinquishing any sense of ego. This experience has ignited within me a fervor to pursue future collaborations and extend the joy of collective creation to others.

New Art Classes at S.P.A.C.E.

I’m delighted to share my experience as a teaching artist in the new community adult art classes available at our local community center, the Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education in our very own Seaview Estates neighborhood. Thanks to funding from the Vibrant Hawaii Arts Fellowship I received, I’ve had the opportunity to not only support my own artistic journey but also contribute to a diverse range of visual arts classes led by fellow artists in our vibrant community hub.

It’s been akin to planting seeds in a garden and watching what matures. This has only been a few months in, but the response has been so positive! My vision and personal goal is to create jobs for artists and offer creative experiences so that others in the community can benefit by making art. My hope is that this will be a way to build a stronger community by sharing ongoing creative connections.

abbie teaching at SPACE

Studio Tour Show

This past December I had the most wonderful experience sharing my artwork in the Hawaiian Paradise Studio Tour. It was my first time participating in the tour, and it was an honor to show my paintings at the home of my friend Henry Bianchini, one of Hawaii island’s most talented artists. He let me convert his large carport into a gallery space for the weekend. Hundreds of people stopped by and several of my paintings found new homes. Having the opportunity to share my paintings in person with so many friends and art fans was a thrill. 

HPP show panarama sm

Award Winning Painting!

I’m thrilled to share some exciting news – I’ve been awarded a Juror’s Award for my abstract painting The Garden at the Abstract Only show hosted by the Wailoa Art Center in Hilo, Hawaii. This recognition holds a special place in my heart, acknowledging my journey as an abstract painter and my dedication as a teacher.

Abstract art is a canvas for emotions and imagination, and receiving the Juror’s Award is an incredible honor that motivates me to continue pushing my creative boundaries. Beyond my personal achievement, this recognition has a wider significance. Four of my students also participated in the show, with two of them exhibiting for the very first time. Witnessing their growth and courage fills me with immense pride.

The art community in Hilo is a vibrant and supportive space, and this award reinforces the importance of creative connections. As an artist, I’m inspired to keep exploring and expressing myself, and as a teacher, I’m reminded of the transformative power of sharing inspiration with others.

This celebration of creativity reminds us that art is both an individual and collective journey. I’m deeply grateful to the Wailoa Art Center, the juror Ming Li Jiang, my students, and the arts community for their support. Here’s to the unlimited creativity in all of us!

Successful Abstract Painting Retreat 2023

Aloha Art Enthusiasts!
I just led my winter Abstract Painting Retreat and I’m still buzzing with excitement.

The retreat was held on the scenic Puna coast of the Big Island of Hawaii and the location was the perfect backdrop for a week of creativity and inspiration. Though the weather was wetter than usual, no one’s spirits were dampened. Our fabulous art studio proved to be an artistic haven, where my students had plenty of space to spread out and wasted no time getting to their easel each day.

We gathered each morning at the studio where I offered students a visual concept or lesson to help guide them forward with their abstractions. Not everyone followed the prompts, nor did it matter. With our magnificent light-filled studio surrounded by a mature tropical garden, there was no lack of visual stimuli to inspire some very exciting large abstract paintings.

Over the course of the week, I watched as my students became more and more confident in their abilities. Though each came from a different artistic background, everyone brought their unique perspective and style to their work.

One of the things I loved most about this retreat was the sense of community that developed among the students. They supported and encouraged each other, shared ideas and techniques, and celebrated each other’s successes. Gathering for delicious catered meals every day allowed us time to relax and deepen our connection.

On the final day, we held a critique that showcased each student’s work. It was incredible to see the variety of styles and techniques on display, and I was so proud of each and every one of my students. They had all grown artistically over the course of the week, and it was an honor to be a part of their journey.

As a teacher, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching your students discover their creative potential. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have taught this Abstract Painting Retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii, and I can’t wait to see where my students’ artistic journeys take them next. Mahalo!

Award-winning painting

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.

Selected Student Abstract Paintings: Spring 2022

Student paintings from five artists/students who participated in Part 1 of my Online Abstract Expressionism Painting course. Their work is based on the various visual parameters that I assigned each week over an 8-week period. I continue to receive deep satisfaction in facilitating a creative experience and witnessing each student develop a unique abstract voice.
If you are interested in participating in an art workshop or retreat, please join my email list so I can inform you of upcoming classes.


Abby Jane Wiltse

Steven Whaley

Miriam Dretler

Kathleen Dragoon

Successful Art & Nature Painting Retreat 2022

The 2022 Hawaii Painting Retreat was a huge success!!
A creative, FUN, inspiring time was had by all participants at this year’s 2022 Tropical Painting Retreat here on the Big Island of Hawaii.
We had sold-out retreat with 8 artists/students who traveled from across the US.
They came to Hawaii to join for this year’s winter getaway art retreat that included daily painting instruction, morning yoga classes, healthy catered meals, exotic excursions, and transformational healing.
Blessed with sunny, perfect Hawaiian weather, students painted pleinair landscapes outdoors, observing the lush, tropical landscape and black lava coasts to inspire their paintings.
Several students who had previously studied abstract painting with me chose to continue with their abstract expressions, inspired by the energy of the island.
Next year in 2023 I plan to offer two separate painting retreats in Hawaii, a pleinair painting retreat and an abstract, intuition-based painting retreat. 
The Big Island is literally a hot-bed of inspiration with exotic tropical vegetation, seascapes, lavascapes, and an active volcano.
Please sign up on my email list to get updates on the dates for my upcoming transformational art retreats.

Painting in a Series: Student work

Just weeks ago my students and I completed Part 3: Painting in a Series. This was the third module, a series of 8-week online courses in Abstract Expressionism. The focus of this class was on creating paintings in a series. Throughout the workshop, students created paintings that were based on the painting exercises I provided each week. The exercises were developed to provide a platform for self-inquiry. The students had completed the two previous courses with me, so it was extremely rewarding to see them further extend their vision and develop their artistic voices.

AbEx Student Gallery #2

The following student painting gallery represents the artwork from five artists/students who participated in my Online Abstract Expressionism Painting course. Their work is shown chronologically and is based on the various visual parameters that I assigned each week over a 16-week period. It’s been my joy to facilitate a creative experience and witness each student develop their unique abstract voice during this time period.
If you are interested in participating in an art workshop or retreat, please join my email list so I can inform you of upcoming classes.

Amy Zone

Inika Spence

Steven Whaley

Miriam Dretler

Kathleen Dragoon