Sunny rain

14 03 2015

This is the oil I’m working on now. A tiny diptych. Two times out on location en plein air. Somewhat of a limited palette. I like the looseness of a sketch. It’s not finished. Being careful to not overwork it. Not too likely since my painting hand has limited mobility from overuse. Sunny :-). Rain :-(.


“Sunny Rain” © 2015 Rebekah Luke


Sweet memory—“Blue Koolau Mountains”

25 05 2014
Blue Koolau Mountains by Rebekah Luke

“Blue Koolau Mountains” by Rebekah Luke. The study of shapes and values and their relationship is what makes this oil sketch abstract.

The afternoon of day 2 of the Native Hawaiian Arts Market in Honolulu. Many visitors to the Bishop Museum have stopped by the display of my landscape paintings and admired them, but no sales. The sky is threatening thunder showers, and DH who is my “easel” is hinting to pack up.

My things are high-priced items for the average craft fair, so I don’t expect any volume. If I make one sale, it is a good day. I make up my mind that the next person who stops will go away with a new piece of art. It’s a young couple.

“You know,” I say, “I haven’t sold anything all weekend. If you are art collectors and you see something you like, I’ll work with you on the price.”

They discuss something and then show me an image on her iPhone.

“Do you have this one?” she asks. It’s my “Blue Koolau Mountains” from my website. A tiny 5″ x 7″ oil sketch made in 2008!

“I do! But it’s not here. It’s a small one. If you’d like it I can deliver it tomorrow. Where do you live?”

They explain that they live in Minnesota and are leaving Honolulu tomorrow, Memorial Day. They saw my paintings at the Native Hawaiian Arts Market last year when they lived in Hawaii; then they moved to Minnesota. They explain they were looking for something with the colors of “Blue Koolau Mountains,” found me online (obviously), read that I would be at the Bishop Museum today, and came looking!

Oh, for goodness’ sake! “If you want it, I’ll ship it to Minnesota for you at no extra charge,” I say. I close the sale, and everyone goes home happy in the rain. Some things take a long time, but I’m willing to wait. I hope they like the wide gold frame I chose.

Thank you, Lovey! Mahalo e ke Akua!

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke



My paintings at the Punahou Carnival

2 02 2014

“Kaaawa Beach Park”


20140202-083720.jpg“Red Trunks”

Good morning, art lovers! I am offering these three recent oil painting originals of mine to the Punahou Carnival for sale in the Art Gallery booth this weekend! Feb. 7 and 8.

The deal is 50-50. Half of the money is donated to the student financial aid program (that’s how my parents could afford to enroll me at Punahou) and half is paid to the artist.

Art is just one of the scores and scores of attractions at this annual Honolulu event. Good eats, music, rides, games, crafts, plants, white elephant, variety show, midway, and more.

The main walk-in entrance is at Punahou and Wilder streets. But here’s a great tip: Park your ride at Central Union Church (Punahou and Beretania) and walk.

Bring moola to spend. It’s for a good cause. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

More paintings installed

22 07 2013

The virtual gallery has new pieces! I’ve installed some new recent works to the Paintings page. I worked hard today to add final strokes so I could photograph them for viewing.

Now the paintings will have enough time to dry before the varnish coat that I will brush on for my show in November at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden on Oahu. If someone wishes to buy one of these, it will be with the understanding that I will borrow them back.

These new works are inspired by landscapes I painted about 20 years ago. My concept is to compare my work as a painter then to the work I am doing now. Over the past months I’ve returned to these Hawaiian places to paint the scene again. I’ll exhibit the former and the current works side by side. The project is going well.

Thanks to everyone who came to visit my booth at the Prince Lot Hula Festival on Saturday and for supporting my work as a painter.

The feeling of a red-letter day

4 02 2013

When I have a red-letter day, like Saturday was, I try to try to savor and remember the feeling. It’s sweet incentive for living and loving life to the fullest. Then I may be open to welcome the next time. Because the feeling is amazing.

To that end, I’ve decided to turn over another leaf by resisting the urge first thing in the morning to reach for an electronic device to see what happened overnight while I was sleeping. I will wait until after I practice tai chi—currently the saber set, breakfast without the TV news or the sound of a ball game, and a walk with the dogs on the beach. I will eat healthy foods, exercise, and meditate.

Saturday began with three neighborhood girls and one boy arriving at the studio at 8 a.m. for their first art class with Aunty Rebekah. I am offering the same basics to youth as to my adult Bucket List painting students: ball, cube, cylinder, and cone. The kids were great and kept me on my toes. It was nice to have 10-year-old-boy energy in the studio.

His mother wondered if perhaps he wouldn’t like the class if he was the only boy. For the exercise of drawing a ball, Jefferson filled a balloon with water and inflated it. Of course, the balloon eventually popped, but we agreed beforehand he would have to clean it up. I think he likes the girls.

A couple of the kids hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I’m glad I had two oranges in the set. When I cut them into slices to show ellipses, their eyes grew wide with appetite, and we all had a refreshing snack. The dogs Alice Brown and Pua were in heaven during recess with all the attention. Later, to get the kids to finish their drawings, I brought out some cones—sugar cones that DH thoughtfully bought when he saw me searching for a cone shape for the lesson—and a carton of ice cream.

“What is this?” I asked. They shouted, “Cone!” “And what is this?” I followed, scooping out vanilla. “Ball!”  Mission accomplished. 😉

Then I went to play at the annual Punahou Carnival. It’s the famous fund-raising event of my alma mater where I perform with the Punahou Alumni Glee Club, sometimes provide paintings for the Art Gallery, and work in a booth with my classmates. Punahou School is super organized and makes money for the student financial aid program—how my parents could afford Punahou for me—by getting the junior class, their parents, and the alumni to donate goods and volunteer their labor.

I adore the camaraderie of the glee club, not to mention the chance to sing and dance. We rehearse weekly, and our director is skillful at getting our choir to peak for our performances. We sounded good and had an enjoyable time with the music.

The Class of ’67 . . . what can I say, except that we are tight. For example, Christine flew in from Arizona just to help serve laulaus for 3 hours. Every year we rendezvous at the Carnival to see each other briefly, hear our classmate Henry Kapono Kaaihue entertain in the cafeteria, and then go our separate ways again. It’s so nice to see everyone.

That would have been plenty, but the surprising joy of the day was the sale of my paintings by the Art Gallery! It was exciting! I painted the scene of the Ko‘olau Mountains from the spot where I go often with my painting group. It began on a spectacular clear day with hardly any clouds to hide the top ridge. The panorama was breathtaking, and I decided to turn it into a diptych of two horizontal paintings side by side.

“Lanihuli Diptych” is my most recent art work. I didn’t plan on taking anything to the Carnival because I’d not been successful in sales any previous years there. But my glee sister Tamson Fox, a full-time fine artist, reminded me in January the event was coming up. I’m so grateful to her for changing my mind.

Still giddy with delight and with my new earnings burning a hole in my pocket, I headed to the Diamond Head end of the midway and bought myself a present—a bling-y Pāʻani top with a night-blooming cereus flower.

DH and I hung out to catch my cousin Sunway’s performance with her band before it was time to go home. We negotiated with the “O” men in the produce tent over the script price for the avocados. They let us keep enough to buy one malasada doughnut each for the ride home. Yummy sugary goodness. Never mind the resolution to eat healthy. I’m celebrating!

It was the perfect ending to my amazing red-letter day.

Me and my glee sisters perform at the Carnival. (Photo by Joyce Pavlis)

Me and my glee sisters perform at the Carnival. (Photo by Joyce Pavlis)

Members of the Class of 1967 in a publicity shot with classmate and music recording artist Henry Kapono Kaaihue.

Members of the Class of 1967 in a publicity shot with classmate and music recording artist Henry Kapono Kaaihue. Which one looks like the star? (Photo courtesy of Carlyn Tani, Punahou Bulletin)

Lanihuli Diptypch, left panel

Lanihuli Diptych, left panel, sold!

Lanihuli Diptych, right panel

Lanihuli Diptych, right panel, sold!

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

Mountain panorama commands a diptych

5 01 2013

There’s something about the Ko‘olau mountains that draws painters to this landscape again and again. Besides their obvious lush and weathered volcanic beauty, they challenge us plein air painters to capture their form in the ever-changing daylight. I spent a lot of time studying the ridges and valleys in my most recent diptych of Lanihuli as viewed from Luluku. Together, the panels measure 60 inches by 22 inches, unframed. Oil on canvas board.

Lanihuli Diptypch, left panel

Lanihuli Diptych, left panel

Lanihuli Diptych, right panel

Lanihuli Diptych, right panel

Diptych by Rebekah Luke

Update 2/2/13: I am please to report that “Lanihuli Diptych” was sold to a buyer at the Punahou Carnival this past weekend. Half of all sales are donated to the student financial aid program at my alma mater. ~RL

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

Color and paint from still life

12 04 2012

I can teach you how to paint!

While my art students are on a little break from class—they’re vacationing in Turkey!—I’ve decided to show you what we’ve done so far in Painting I. Each week I welcome students with a studio tabletop set-up, explain the lesson, and do the lesson with them. We paint these assignments after practicing basic drawing and perspective, and learning about the values of light.

I urge students to not paint from a photograph, preferring that they draw and paint from life and the “local color” cues they should put down in the beginning. However, the now-ubiquitous digital camera phone and that the set is not available for viewing once the class is over for the day make it difficult to not refer to a photo.

The problem is, for beginners especially, if you paint from a photograph, the painting will look like a photograph. I think a painting is more interesting when it shows the artist’s individual line, imperfections included. Looseness will develop with time.

Below you can see how I treated the assignments myself. The medium is oil paint on canvas paper. Here’s evidence that limited palette paintings are generally stronger than images created with a full palette. Still to come, after students come back from break: the red-green painting and complementary color lesson and “the world in full color.”

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

The painting. Monochromatic color lesson: adding one hue only, veridian, to black and white, still mindful of the range of values, that is, the various tints and shades of gray. Lesson includes painting glass.

The set. Analogous color painting lesson with black, white, and three yellows. Black mixed with yellow makes green.

The painting. Using cadium yellow pale (cool yellow), cadmium yellow light (warm yellow), yellow ochre, black, and white.

The painting. The combinations of mixing cadmium red light (red-orange) and veridian (blue-green) represent the first of four lessons about complementary colors, that is, colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Combining complementary colors produces neutrals that are stronger than tube paints named for earth tones.

The set. Complementary colors blue and orange with shiny metal, glass, reflective surfaces, highlights (the incandescent spot) and low lights (from the window light).

The painting. Though challenging, it is much fun to paint reflected light.

The set. The complements yellow and violet mix to make warm tans and browns. Of light rays passing through a prism, yellow is the lightest value, and violet is the darkest. This still life set introduces drapery.

The painting. Painting drapes in the studio now is good practice for painting the Ko‘olau Mountains in the landscape later!

To learn more about painting lessons by Rebekah, please see the related post: Is painting on your bucket list?

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