Spring equinox 2019 update

20 03 2019

Greetings, studio fans ~

What’s happening? For me, Spring is better than welcoming a new calendar year. I like to survey the garden around the house as well as the garden in my mind. It’s a time for trimming, plucking, and weeding out the old; and for planting new, more desirable seeds.

This morning I tended the basil, pinching off the flowers from most of the sweet herb because I want to use it instead of letting it go to seed. I left some of the flowers on the plant for the bees. Everyday I check the side yard to see if any of the avocados from my neighbor’s tree have fallen, and to pick up and toss old breadfruit leaves from the ground. I strip off the bottom layer of all the ti leaf plants that I’ve cultivated mostly to make lei. The kou tree, planted for its shade and orange lei flowers, makes a lot of rubbish with its palm-size leaves and ball-bearing-like seeds, so there’s raking to do. Looking up, I see the avocado tree is finally flowering!

Actual Ma‘afala breadfruit tree

Then, I’m revisiting the studio’s purpose “Old-fashioned letters, painting & healing.”

Letters. I’m honored to be invited to coach the Ko‘olauloa Hawaiian Civic Club members tomorrow night in writing autobiography. I intend it to be a fun activity as we write individual anecdotes and craft pretty booklets. I have chosen as jumping off points these questions: “What was your best birthday?”  “Who is your strangest family member?” “What is your greatest fear about falling in love?” “What is the craziest thing you have ever done?” And then for the brave, “How?” and “Why?”

Painting. My collage group (painting with hand-dyed paper) is exhibiting its artworks the month of April starting April 3 in the main gallery at the visitor center of Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden, on Luluku Road in Kaneohe, Oahu. I’ve agreed to design the look of the “Collages & Clay” that also includes ceramics. I’ll draw on the memory of observing how Susan Rogers-Aregger and Noreen Naughton placed pieces for a show.

Hand-dyed paper collage of breadfruit leaves by Rebekah Luke

Healing. It has been exciting to teach, attune, and certify five new Reiki Masters and Reiki Master Teachers. The Reiki Intensive training spands eight days, with the current program ending next Sunday with “Journey into Mastery.” I am team teaching with Reiki Master Teacher Lori A. Wong. I am reminded that “Yes! I am a Reiki Master!”

 

Aloha,

Rebekah

 





Alani

17 08 2018

Peeling an orange on a warm summer day.

Do you remember when you first learned to peel an orange? I do. I was with my Aunty Lois, and we sat down together on the steps of her back porch. When we ate it, juice ran down my arm. Funny, the things I recall.





Mourning a piano

9 08 2018

Never did I think getting rid of an old piano, the thing, would evoke such emotional feelings in me. I put it outside today, to make room for another one, a better one that was newer, shinier, and in tune.

The old piano—I didn’t name it, but it had a name. Story & Clark, and on the back of the sound board was a plaque that said it came from Aloha Piano. I had it for 50 years until today, and it traveled with me from Manoa Valley to Waikiki to Lanikai to Kaaawa.

My father, who had not supported me for several years when I was a minor, ended his silence one day by giving me 800 dollars cash. I used the money to buy the piano. I learned to play on my mother’s parlor grand. I don’t know what happened to it. The three of us went our separate ways.

Ayla’s first piano lessons were on this piano. Now 9, she played the C scale she remembered from a few lessons I gave her and got out her music book just as the piano movers arrived. They took the old piano to the roadside, brought the newer, shinier one to its place in the living room. After the moving truck left, a man came knocking at the door. A stranger.

“Why?” he asked, arms in the air. “Aren’t the keys good?” I explained some were stuck, some strings were broken, all the strings were rusty, and there had been termites in the cabinet. And that the piano tuner could no longer tune it up to concert pitch. Could he ask his friend if she would want it for her kids to plunk on? Sure, I said. She didn’t come.

Anna asks via Facebook if there are any salvageable parts for abstract wall art. Sadly, I am not that ambitious.

All afternoon kids and other passers-by have been plunking on the piano. It will be there for four more days, in the heat and the rain, before it’s taken away. I may still hear it. I’m crying.

Like an old mistress or lover, the memory will take a long time to subside.

©2018 Rebekah Luke

 





Revisiting ʻIolekaʻa for an anniversary

2 07 2018

Iconic view of ʻIolekaʻa

Yesterday, after 20 years, I walked back in to ʻIolekaʻa valley in Windward Oahu for the 20th anniversary of the celebration of life of my late friend Anita. She, her faithful dog Ei Nei, and the ʻāina (land) are memorialized in 13 landscape oil paintings I made in 1994. It was an honor and a privilege to have been invited by Anita to see her home, then and now.

A dozen friends and relatives began arriving at 9 a.m. calling “Ūi!” (Halloo) and answered by “Eō!” (Iʻm here). Long pants, long sleeves, boots, rain gear, hat, gloves, and defenses from mosquitos made up our garb. The plan was to hike through the bamboo forest to clean the heiau (stone platform) area and to rebuild the ahu (altar) with pōhaku, and then farther to the foot of the mountain, that is the water source for ʻIolekaʻa stream, where Anita’s ashes had been spread from a helicopter.

Cultivated anthuriums

Ginger and tree ferns by the stream, just steps from the house

Tracey and Donna blow the conch to acknowledge visitors

Cut anthuriums for Mom

Daughter Donna began with a prayer, and when she mentioned Anita’s name, a soft sweet wind breezed by, acknowledgement enough! Mahalo e Anita! Mahalo e ke Akua!

Oh, the memories. Not much has changed, except that I saw less kalo (taro) growing in the gardens. In fact, everything looks a little tidier. The current generation has recently returned to the land, acknowledging and accepting it is their kuleana to care for it.

Clearing the trail

Along the stream

Ancient Hawaiian rock terraces overgrown with bamboo

Every now and then a waterfall

Looking up

The ahu — before

Before photo. Waiting for the others.

The dog Ei Nei’s marker. R.I.P.

Corner wall of the heiau

Donna and Wally carefully rearrange the rocks for the ahu, flat side out.

More waterfalls

The ahu — after

Anita’s family and friends. pc: Didi Akana

After we pau hana we sat down to talk story and shared a bottle of wine and rolls with butter and jelly (Anita’s favorite snack). Sort of like holy communion, I thought! To me, the anniversary celebration for Anita fulfilled its purpose when the younger ones, her now-adult grandchildren, stepped up and announced it was their turn to continue the work.

We emerged from the forest at 3:30, muddy, damp and happy, and glad a pot of corn chowder and other goodies were waiting for our potluck “lunch.” By the time I walked out to modern civilization it was 5 p.m. What a full and wonderful day! Aloha e!

White ginger

 

Tahitian gardenia

~ Rebekah Luke

 





The things I find

15 02 2018

Today I came down with a case of cleaning frenzy in the studio. Not just cleaning, but decluttering as well. You know what I mean! Artists have a reputation of being messy, but frankly, I prefer tidy and organized so I can think more clearly.

One of the happy finds was a haiku I wrote in December 1979. I am including it here with some photo images so it won’t be lost again.

HAIKU

Wake up in the morn

And see the pretty sunrise

From Kaaawa

Mountains by the sea

I see the lion crouching

My own waterfall

Five white horses graze

O’er fence where grass is greener

At Kualoa

Salt spray, ocean mist

Turn on the windshield wipers

It isn’t raining

Slick bay reflections

Morningside of Oahu

Oriental hills

 

Sunrise

Kualoa

 





Welcome 2018

1 01 2018

Welcome 2018, studio fans. Wishing you peace, a lot of hope, and more love this new year.

View from the studio near the end of 2017. The waterfall started from the mega rainfall we had on the island.

In midtown Manhattan, a couple takes a selfie. Remember to LOVE.





The Bathhouse (Kaʻaʻawa)

15 08 2017
“The Bathhouse (Kaʻaʻawa)” oil on canvas by Rebekah Luke. Private collection.

This photo arrived in the email today. What a surprise and a thrill! “How much is this painting? My mom wants to know. She got it in 1991,” the inquirer wrote.

There was a photo of the back of the painting on which I wrote “1991,” but on looking at my record book, I saw that the painting (no. 29) was purchased in 1993 by a nice couple of Kaʻaʻawa who collected memorabilia of our town.

Some years afterward I looked for the buyers to ask if I could make a digital photo of their painting and was told they had moved. But now, I have a photo!

I told Tj*, who emailed me, the amount I sold the painting for, and to whom, and the average price of my paintings today. (Watching “Antiques Roadshow” on TV, I really should raise my prices! 😉)

The painting was part of a series of images of all the manmade public structures in Kaʻaʻawa, including the two bridges. They were unveiled at Swanzy Beach Park where park director Patty Greene had the kids hand paint and put out a sandwich board sign that read simply “Everybody Come.” I still have that sign. Minnie Akiona from the Kaʻaʻawa Country Kitchen across the highway brought over a tray of Chinese noodles and other refreshments.

Then the pictures were shown at an exhibit entitled “Painting the Town” in conjunction with the play “Chicago” at Diamond Head Theatre. Some of the paintings were bought by neighbors, and at least two pieces of the collection (the 8 a.m. flag raising in the school yard and the bookmobile) are hanging in the Kaʻaʻawa school office because the principal bought them.

So much for no. 29. My most recent oil painting “Glass Full of Daisies” was no. 202. I sent it to Texas in June as our wedding gift to Aunt Ross. It’s good to keep records, and I am happy to provide the provenance of an art piece.

* Epilogue: Tj emailed back to say her mom is the daughter of the original purchasers of “The Bathhouse…” and that the painting is still hanging in the house.

~ Rebekah Luke








%d bloggers like this: