Hawaii. Oh, How I Love you.
When I was in my early 20's, I lived in Hawaii for 3 years, from 2004-2007. I was a newly married Army wife, just out of college, and thousands of miles from anyone I knew. Shortly after we moved to Hawaii, my husband deployed to Afghanistan leaving me there stranded in paradise. Of course, it wasn't too bad staying in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but I was alone. Not to mention the fact too that I was constantly worried about my husband and his safety. I adapted though. I met some of the most wonderful women there, fellow Army spouses, and we had formed a great support group for each other, while our husband's were deployed.
I was so overwhelmed with the beauty of Hawaii, the richness of the culture, the natural wonders, and the wildlife. As a way to cope with my loneliness I would paint my influences. On the North Shore, in Oahu, there was a beach where sea turtles would go and rest. They say that is one of the only beaches where you will see these massive sea turtles just hanging out on the beach taking a nap. You could go to that beach any day, and see at least 10 turtles there. Of course people would stop and take pictures, but I would sit there and draw them for hours. It was such a peaceful and beautiful time, just sitting there listening to the waves crashing, watching these massive turtles sleep. Some of my other inspirations there were the flowers, and the iconic Hawaiian designs or "Aloha Wear." I started creating these watercolors that emulated the graphic prints, and the exotic flowers. I referenced board shorts, and surf graphics as well as trying to capture the essence of the waves. I'm not a landscape artist, and I wanted to create pieces that were different than what you would see depicted by other artists in the area. I tried experimenting with different methods and stretch my limits by challenging myself to try and capture the waves. How do you paint water? How to show the fluidity of water, or waves crashing in a painting? It was a fun experience and I enjoyed composing such paintings with a mix of really loose areas and tightly rendered graphic areas.
I sold a few here and there, but for the most part I've been holding on to these paintings for years, moving them from one house to another, across oceans. They've been tucked away for so long, I almost forgot about them. Recently, after ruffling through boxes in the attic, I came across these paintings. I had matted and wrapped them in acetate for protection and with the intentions to sell. I had tried selling them in the past, but not much luck. Most people don't want to buy a big sea turtle watercolor in the middle of Kansas. So, as I started pulling out these 17 year old artistic time capsules, I began thinking to myself........ Should I go back in and repaint or fix a few errors? Now that I'm older, more mature, and my artistic perspective has changed, I can't help but look at each one and critique them. They wouldn't be major alterations, but a few modifications. I wouldn't mess with the integrity of each painting, but I can't help but think of how I can make them a little better. Adversely, I also start to argue to myself too that these paintings represent a distinct time in my life, and I shouldn't mess with them. The process of creating these paintings was so therapeutic, they are remnants of me, evidence of who I was at that time in my life when I had to learn adaptation, resiliency, and strength.
Maybe I'll leave them alone or possibly take them out of hiding.......
I will always love you.