Kawa Gold

Date: 6/30/2012

Location: Kawa Bay

Size: 48" x 48"

Medium: Oil on stretched canvas

Artist's Comments: Living on the West side of the island, I am blessed to enjoy wonderful sunsets each evening but there will be times where it seems I haven't seen the sunrise in years. Granted, I'm likely fast asleep anyway and would sleep through it but, on a camping trip to Kawa Bay, we were lucky to be on the South East side of the island which meant the sun was traveling in a different perspective than we were used to. At first, we were completely thrown off with the path of the sun - it was well a little backwards!  The sun set in the mountains and rose from the sea!  The following morning, we woke up early and went for a walk along the shoreline. The sunrise was so fantastic that it easily rivaled its sunset sister.  As the sun rose over Pu'uo Point, it cast a wonderful golden shimmer onto the planet.  The clouds were drenched in this wonderful glow and slowly chased away the night sky. There was a swell hitting Kawa Bay which was one of the primary reasons we picked this spot - we were in the presence of some surf-addicted teenagers!  Although I didn't surf, what I did enjoy were the rough seas whose waves crashed up against the lava shore. The overspray from these crashing waves settled in the lava rocks and created mirror-like tide pools that reflected the stunning light show above. Although is it rare that I am up early enough to enjoy the sunrise, this one in particular was well worth my sacrifice of sleep!

To view other paintings in my collection, click on the section labeled "View all SitaScapes" located at the top right of my blog. I have categorized my paintings by the month as I complete them.

Water Therapy at Wailua Falls

Date: 05/26/2011

Location: Wailua Falls, Hana, Maui

Size: 12" x 36"

Medium: Oil on stretched canvas

Artist's Comments: At the end of my John Cosby workshop in Maui, I budgeted a few extra days to relax and spent 2 of those days in Hana enjoying the lush tropical jungle, seemingly private beaches and my personal favorite - dipping into the abundant roadside pools.  When you live in the desert known as Waikoloa - rivers become a real awe and to be able to easily access and swim in them is so joyous! One pool in particular, Wailua Falls, really inspired me. Maybe because it is the namesake of the Kona Brewing Company's Wailua Wheat beer or perhaps it was due to its grand yet gentle falls that cascade into a deep pool and allowed me to swim beneath the natural water jets for an awesome neck massage (without worrying about a rogue rock hitting my head!).  I decided after returning from a second dip that this waterfall warranted an attempt for me to capture it on canvas. Prior to my John Cosby workshop, this scene would be overwhelmingly daunting - so much so that I have never attempted to paint a waterfall portraitl.  But with new techniques in hand, I boldly mixed colors and applied paint with John Cosby's voice ringing in my head... "Push the light!", "Maintain your lightest and darkest values!", "Maintain color harmony and create planal truth!"... and so many more. I have to admit through the process, I was stumped 2 or 3 times and I called on these lessons to help pull me through to a finished painting.  I was impressed with the success I achieved by following what I learned. Finally!  After 1.5 weeks of diligent study, my paint brush was getting the gist of the lessons and doing what it was instructed to do!

To view other paintings in my collection, click on the section labeled "View all SitaScapes" located at the top right of my blog. I have categorized my paintings by the month as I complete them.

Lessons from John Cosby's Workshop

A small group of about 15 artists gathered on Maui to learn from master plein air artist John Cosby.  Here are some notes and "aaaha!" moments that I hope to incorporate into my future work.

Simplify the Scene

  • The simpler and larger the shapes are in your composition; the stronger your painting will be.    
  •  If an artist can’t break a scene down into 4 or 5 major planes, then they can’t be a successful painter.

Pre-Mix the Value Planes on your Pallet

  • If there is truth in value in the painting, it is easier to embellish and perfect the scene with details to create a successful painting.
  • Only if you have your values correct for the 4 or 5 “plane piles” of color, will you be able to colorize them accurately.

Place the Value Piles onto your Canvas to Create "Planeal Truth"

  • If you are able to paint all four planes of a scene spatially correct; then your painting will be successful. 
    • Vertical Plane – Trees/buildings; usually the darkest color. They do not reflect the sky but do have refracted light from objects that are adjacent to them. Vertical shadows are a lack of light and are darker than cast shadows which reflect the sky back into them.Vertical shadows need to be different and usually are darker than horizontal shadows. 
    •  Diagonal Plane – Hills, reflective sky; usually the 2nd darkest and richest colors. 
    • Flat Plane – Water, tops of things; reflective of sky color.

Colorize the Large Value Shapes to Create Detail


  • Subtle changes to your value piles will create a sophisticated painting.
  • We must decide early on what areas will be warm and which areas will be cool. If we don’t decide this and maintain it thru the process, we will end up with a mushy painting. 
  • Push and Pull color to create perspective.
  • When colorizing your major planes, be sure to keep the value the same so that you maintain the same flat plane. 
  • Keep colors true as you place them on the canvas. Clean brushes often and use different brushes.

Maintain Your Focal Point

    • Determine what your focal point of the painting will be. This will be where the lightest lights and the darkest shadows will be in the closest proximity.
    •  All other elements of the painting should “point” to this focal area.
    • Continue to articulate your focal point thru the entire painting process softening lines and contrasting values to continue to draw energy to your focal point.
    • Be careful not to give color energy in areas that are outside your focal point.
    • Modulate your paint so areas outside your focal point are subdued so that your eye goes along to where you want it to look.
     Beautiful Vistas from the Island of Maui (paintings by John Cosby)

    Day 1: Secret Beach, Kehei

    Day 2: Haleakala Ranch, Makowao
    Day 3: Grandma's Coffee House, Kula

    Day 4: Private Residence, Lahaina

    Day 5: Makena Beach, Kehei

    Beach Tree Twinkle Lights

    Date: 5/05/2012

    Location: Beach Tree Restaurant, Hualalai Resort

    Size: 24" x 18"

    Medium: Oil on stretched canvas

    Artist's Comments: This painting accompanies another scene to capture two of a collector's favorite places; The Beach House and The Beach Tree restaurants at Hualalai Resort.  The accompanying painting is a daylight scene so I thought a nice compliment would be an evening scene.  I chose this composition so that the beautiful beach heliotrope was center stage surrounded by the shoreline, beach chairs and our dear Kona Village Resort in the distance.  To prevent the tree from feeling too heavy, I scrubbed a dark orange undertone and laid green foliage highlights on top with my pallet knife.  The waves took on a heavier yet cooler tone as they lap up along the warm sun-kissed beach.  The sky is full of color and life as the last moments of another day in paradise come to a close.  Tiki torches are lit - twinkling from the distant restaurant; a small bonfire is aglow waiting for a family to sit and enjoy beach-side 'smores. Throughout the process, I had to make a concerted effort to keep the tone of the painting on the darker side knowing that it would allow the feeling of warmth/glow from the lights and setting sun.

    To view other paintings in my collection, click on the section labeled "View all SitaScapes" located at the top right of my blog. I have categorized my paintings by the month as I complete them.
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