Odd Christmastime

21 12 2020

Christmastime 2020 seems odd to me. I can’t articulate my feelings well, except to note that Kilauea volcano started to erupt at Halemaumau last night. The video footage I saw was beautiful.

The conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, the “Christmas star” seen over the manger 2020 years ago, is happening again.

We’re exchanging gifts of home-baked cookies with neighbors and friends, but with face masks on and from a distance because of the pandemic; no hugging.

I am making a pecan pie for my two painting students who are bringing lunch on the 23rd. It’s the final class of Painting I, and coincidentally the studio setup is comprised of the complements red and green Christmas colors.

Chef Logan, who usually delivers our mid-day meal, is taking a break, only to make it up by providing an intimate Dinner for Two for my darling husband and me on Christmas Day. We don’t have to cook!

All this seems odd to me because all I really planned to share was the reindeer Rudolf that my father-in-law—whose father’s name also was Rudolph—made to wish us a Merry Christmas.

“Crater View,” 40” x 30” hand-dyed tissue-paper collage by Rebekah Luke
Holiday cookies

Chef’s creation

Christmas colors


~ Rebekah


Crater view

3 09 2019

Pleased to show you my most recently completed paper collage of Kilauea. It’s big! I chose a warm color palette. It’s hot!

“Crater View” by Rebekah Luke. 40” x 30” hand-dyed paper on canvas. All rights reserved for the author.

Crater view

9 07 2019

    Today’s palette of colored tissue paper

Just one more image. There’s a happy dent in my collection of “Fiery Volcano Collages” since three of the panels found their way to art patrons. But, a reputable gallery in downtown Honolulu has scheduled an exhibit of the collages for mid-August through September. Lucky me!

On looking at the complement, I feel the group of collages is not cohesive as is. To tie them all together I am making a picture of the “new” collapsed Kilauea crater in subdued mauve-to-neutral tones.

It looks simple, but it is not. I still will need to be mindful of turning the form, meaning, where will I put the lights, middle tones, darks? It depends on where the sun is shining from, in relation to the angle of the ground. Lava, in general, is one color.


Billowy textures of paper

My workshop cohort at Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden

Volcano series

19 06 2018

‘ŌHIʻA LEHUA diptych
24″ x 12″ Hand-dyed Tissue Paper Collage
Volcano Series NFS

Fascinated, rather, mesmerized by the Kilauea volcano eruption at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on Hawai‘i island, during the past month, I have embarked on a fine art project goal to collage a series of diptychs for exhibition in January 2019. I started at the end — the ‘Ōhiʻa Lehua flower that is one of the first plants to naturally emerge and grow out of a fresh lava field.

I am reserving all the collages for the exhibit, and, therefore, they are not for purchase until that time.  Please click on the PAINTINGS menu tab to see more!

~ Rebekah

Mesmerizing volcanic eruption

27 05 2018

The volcano on the island of Hawaii continues to erupt. I found this aerial footage “May 27, 2018 HUGE Lava Fountain” from Mick Kalber aboard Paradise Helicopters. The reporting credits go to them. Please click to view it.

Mālama pono. Take care and do the right thing. — Rebekah


18 05 2018

Aloha Studio Fans and Lava Junkies!

You all are following the current volcanic event at Kilauea on the island of Hawaii, right? Right?! It is the longest eruption there since 1924! Here is my recommended link to an awesome 24-minute video by the USGS geologists at Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory. “Kilauea Summit Eruption: Lava Returns to Halema‘uma‘u” is a calm and scientific explanation of the eruption. Let me know how you like it.


I, for one, am so very inspired by our Earth’s creation of new land. Gonna make art now!

— Rebekah

Vog: an art lesson

29 10 2009

It’s voggy in the landscape today. I saw it when I drove from Kaaawa to Kaneohe.

Koolaus in vog © Rebekah Luke

The Koolau Mountains in vog, about 10:15 a.m. today. Notice the ridges appear in three tints of gray.

What’s vog? Vog is the less-than-clear air that we have when the kona winds from the southeast blow the emissions from the volcano up the island chain toward the northwest. It’s like the words fog and smog. It hangs around until the regular trade winds return.

Vog is worst on Hawaii island, a.k.a the Big Island, home of the eruption. The falling ash deteriorates homes and crops, and the smokey air makes it hard to breathe. It reminds me of when I arrived at art school in Pasadena (Los Angeles) one August and was told as I gazed out the floor-to-ceiling windows, “The mountains are right there in our backyard, and they’re beautiful, but it’s so smoggy, we can’t see them.”

One good thing about the atmosphere as today’s vog, though, is that it serves to explain how to paint distance. Generally, objects in the foreground have the darkest value, and as objects recede into the middle-ground and background, they become lighter in value. As one’s eye moves back into space, the values become lighter.

On an ordinary sunny day, the kind that prompts us to say, “It’s just another beautiful day in Hawaii!” the Koolau Mountains are clear and colorful enough to see the individual trees on them. To represent such a scene with paint and for it to “read” properly, we consider the logic of light and either lighten and/or mute the colors in the background, even though we don’t see them that way with our eyes. But on a day like today, you absolutely can see it.

If you have ever seen the Blue Ridge Mountains in Appalachia, or photos of them, it’s the same thing.

Nuuanu Pali pass © Rebekah Luke

Nuuanu Pali Lookout (center of photo) viewed from Luluku, about 10:30 a.m. today

This morning my destination was Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden at Luluku at the foot of the mountains where I go to paint.  Here is a photo of the Nuuanu Pali  pass viewed from Luluku. Ordinarily the cars on the highway and the people at the lookout are visible.

Notice that both photos appear blue, or blue-gray. My own eyes did not see the scene this way because I am used to seeing the scene in full color (the whole spectrum), and my brain translated it into full color. But, as the saying goes, the camera doesn’t lie. Blue is the color of atmosphere.

Now, knowing about values (shades of gray) as they relate to distance, and knowing about the color of atmosphere, you can represent distance in a painting by muting and lightening the colors of objects as they recede.

If you forget to do this initially in an oil painting, there is a glazing technique you can use, but only after the paint is dry. Take a dollop of painting medium with your palette knife and mix it with a tint of blue pigment (e.g., white + ultramarine + cobalt). Have a clean, soft cloth handy. Brush the glaze over the part of the painting that you want to lighten. Then, working quickly (because glaze dries fast), wipe off with the cloth little by little, if you wish, to get the effect you want. Ta-dah!

The values underneath that you painted originally will stay the same, that is, the relationships among the values will remain. You are simply putting in the atmosphere with your tinted glaze.

Don’t worry if the glaze gets beyond the area you want. Just go back and paint over it. (We call that “destroy and recover.”)

Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke

Thanks to Gloria Foss who taught me how to do this. To see my oils, click on PAINTINGS in the menu bar.

%d bloggers like this: