Ready to be Judged ~ Trying to be Brave

5 paintings submitted for the judges
5 paintings submitted for the judges

Thank you to all the encouragers out there! Truly I wouldn’t be where I am today without you gently pushing me and helping me be brave. For a decade now I have loved to attend the Haleiwa Arts Festival held on the north shore here on Oahu. It is a chance to see some of Hawaii’s most talented painters, sculptors, photographers, print makers, jewelry artists, musicians and more. To me it is a little slice of heaven to walk in the grass next to the ocean surrounded by white tents overflowing with immense artistic talent and beautiful pieces of art. I usually leave with a new art piece I’ve collected, a full tummy from the ono( tasty) food booths, and brand new inspiration to get back to my easel. But I have never yet tried to get in to the festival myself as an artist.

Yesterday I felt very brave when I submitted my application for this July’s event along with 5 of my paintings that I hope represent my unique style. It is now in the hands of the judges. I should know by the end of March whether I get in or not. But finally I was courageous, took a risk, and feel “ready to be judged”.

I am very grateful for all of your support. Thank you to those who email me at asyouwisharts@gmail.com and ask about paintings or just say “hi”. Thank you to everyone who displays one of my works in their homes. Thank you to those that have hit the “like” button on my artist As You Wish Arts Facebook page ( I am at 250+ likes and counting!). Thank you for those that follow this blog and leave me comments below. I really appreciate each and every one of you for everything!

As You Wish~~~~ Andy

Why Do You Paint?

Someone asked me the other day the BIG question–

Why do You paint?

She was looking at my artist business card and said, “Come on… most artists only make money after they are dead anyway”. But my answer was, “Honestly, It’s not about the money.” Sure, I would like to have my passion make me money but that is not why I am compelled to paint.

card front turtle
Her next question, ” Do you wanna be famous or something?”

“No”, I replied, ” Of course that would be fun but NOPE, that’s not what it’s about.”
How do you explain something that just comes naturally, a part of you that wants to be creative, expressive, and, well, darn it it’s fun and it’s part of me. It’s like asking a monkey why they swing from trees by their tails when their arms work just fine. I have doodled since I could hold a crayon, and painted since I was a kid. Ask my 82 year old mom- she is still finding my “art” around her house.

made for my mommy age 8

My inquisitor’s final parting shot was, ” I could never SELL any of my creations, it would make me feel cheap.” Oh, the momentary deflation and sting I felt as she sauntered away from me…….thud and smack……

I’m afraid my questioner didn’t quite get the answers she expected out of me. I got the distinct feeling she thought I was weird and somehow beneath her. Well, guess what? I am happy to be that “Weird Artist”. I’d rather be weird and loving what I do, than normal and hating my job.

girls in the play house

When my kids were little, I painted murals on their play house walls, and bunk beds, and murals on their bedroom walls. I know some people thought I was weird…

joel by frog painting

mattie at 3 edited

Last year was a tough one on my family losing my brother-in-law unexpectedly and seeing my sister and her kids left with a giant hole. I also had a brother and another brother-in-law have heart attacks. They are happily on the mend and still with us. Reality hits you and you realize you want to spend your own time well because you don’t want to live life with regrets. When my son says mom, I want to paint with you, I hand over a canvas for him to try out. This little gecko turned out great for his first attempt.

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And a few months later when he wants you to custom paint his surfboard deck for him— well, I just went for it and ” fired it in” as old Bill Alexander used to say on his painting show on PBS.

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I want to look back one day with satisfaction that I stuck my neck out and was bold and shared my paintings with the world. It doesn’t matter what others say about my work, or my motivations. When I sell a painting or give a painting to someone its feels like I am parting with something precious and loved. If I don’t love a painting it doesn’t leave my hands. So in a sense, it is sending my love out to others and sharing part of me – that fulfills me and spurs me onward. That sounds like a better legacy than hiding away my works for someone to discover in a closet so many years after I am gone.

I once told a family friend that it feels like I’m giving up a little part of me, a child in a sense, when I give away a painting that I poured my heart and soul into. She got it…and she lovingly gave me a digital frame filled pre-loaded with photos of my sold paintings so I could always have them by me. I like inspiring others and encouraging them to follow their dreams. One of my best friends from school days has shared my work with her daughter and her little Anna shares her work with me. I see another artist budding don’t you? Stay with it Anna dear! By the way Miss Anna says these are for sale 🙂

www.face Anna and Patti

You can’t put a price on living your life freely and enjoying every act of creation on the canvas. Plus, I have seen the ripple effects. I recently painted a butterfly because I have seen so many over the past year since dear Tom died. It always felt like he was connecting with me somehow as they would suddenly appear or flutter by me. A women cried when she saw this painting of mine in person, she immediately connected to it and told me she had to have it. You see her husband had just died of cancer and her young daughter says that Daddy visits them now as a butterfly.

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Then there was the painting I made for my mom for her 80th birthday. I tried to capture the lake house she lived in as a newlywed- a place I had never seen. Her smile told me that I was able to paint it just right.
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 I am an artist and I live and breathe in my works – they will be the timeless part of me just as my children are my husband’s and my legacy into the future.  Mahalo for reading my thoughts!  ~Andy

“Rocky Honu” or “Honu on the Rocks”

When I turned the calendar to December yesterday it was with both excitement and a sense of bewilderment. You know the feeling, right? Where did fall go and how am I going to get everything done in 23 days that needs to get accomplished before Christmas? What resulted was a desperate determination to get some uncompleted paintings done! I put Pandora on but instead of my usual favorite stations…I chose Christmas music. My first painting to finish was a Honu on the Rocks.

This Honu painting was started back in September- yep over three months ago now. Here is a picture of the early stages:

Beginning stages of Honu on the Rocks
Beginning stages of Honu on the Rocks

The poor little guy sat there- just an idea scribbled onto the canvas for another month before I got back to him.

At least for most of October he got his shell colored in:

half way done with Honu on the Rocks
half way done with Honu on the Rocks

Funny how sometimes you just have to really let a painting sit for a while. I still haven’t figured out the perfect combination of musical inspiration, proper caffeine levels, and quiet in my house so I can replicate those times of feverish flow but I sure had it yesterday afternoon and evening. So on December 1st this painting was completed. It is a Honu, a green sea turle, sunning himself on the rocks on the North Shore of my island. It was a rocky road to the painting’s completion so in that vein I decided to title this work, “Honu on the Rocks”. I hope he makes you smile. 🙂 ~~ Andy

Honu on the Rocks
Honu on the Rocks

Stewie, Stewie Night

There is this incredibly cute puppy named Stewie. Here is a picture of him:

Stewie photo
            The World Famous Stewie

I ran into one of Stewie’s owners back in August. I told him I would love to make a painting of Stewie. I have done a few paintings of dogs in the past and found them really fun to work on and try to capture their personalities. He sent me some of his favorite photos of Stewie in various scenes. Then he told me to have fun with the background, just do something artsy.

I knew right away what I wanted to do:

Marker in Stewie
drawing in the puppy Stewie to start the       painting

Then I started roughing in the background- can you tell already what I had in mind?

Stewie Blocked in

                                                                                        Then I started working in the colors.

I was having a blast and sending my friend updates through Facebook messages.

We both were getting so excited about the painting!

Colored in Stewie
                      Colors all set. Now for the details like Stewie’s cute fur and eyes.

Here is the almost finished work….

almost done Stewie
                     Nearly finished- just need to work out his bowtie and more of the background

And here is the completed work!

Stewie Stewie Night best
                                                                            Stewie, Stewie Night!

I was so glad that they loved their painting. It was so much fun to work on!

Here are some pictures of Stewie with his painting.

Stewie and painting from Brent
                                                                Stewie poses by his painting

and a Stewie collage

Stewie collage

Mahalo to Stewie and Stewie’s cool humans for commissioning me to paint him as a masterpiece!

Once On This Island

As most of you know, I live on the island of Oahu which is part of the island chain that makes up the state of Hawaii. Island living is amazing and even after a decade of living here, paradise never gets old. Traffic gets old but talk to anyone who commutes to work in a city of close to a million people and they will tell you rush hour is tough everywhere. There are so many beautiful tropical beaches and favorite hikes we have explored that there is never enough time on the weekends to go everywhere we wish we could go, because like everyone else there is yard work to do, homework to help with, and kids activities that fill the time. But even a glimpse of the sparkling turquoise ocean on the horizon, or the silhouette of Diamond Head Crater at sunrise when I am out for a morning run, makes me realize every day how very lucky I am to live in Hawaii. I will never get complacent or take it for granted. The Mana- the soul if you wish- of these islands becomes like a beloved family member in your life that enriches and permeates your every day existence.

Many of my paintings reflect my love of Hawaii through colorful tropical sunrise scenes or moonlight ocean waves or precious green sea turtles sunning themselves on the sand. Someone once asked me if I was going to run out of ideas of things to paint. I’m guessing you know the answer to that. Just as I never tire of my island home, I also never tire of painting her amazing places and my list of things I hope to paint are as abundant as the stars in the sky. Recently, I was commissioned by a loving husband to paint a special piece for his wife for a gift. This couple had lived on the islands for many years but due to a job transfer, recently moved to California. His wife had been the theatre teacher and director of CTAA, Central Theatre Arts Academy on Oahu. Over the years of her tenure, she trained many young actors in theater arts and directed incredible plays and musical performances that will live on in memory for everyone. Her sweet husband wanted to capture one of those most special memories of a play she had directed titled, “Once On This Island”, onto canvas to decorate their new home and remind his wife of her accomplishments and her island home. Serendipity for this artist, as I personally admire both of them, have been awed (as a performer myself) in the audience when her productions would take me away to another time and place and we would get to work together to plan this painting of a memory. The picture we chose to paint, while different than many pieces I have created in the past, resonates with the vibrancy of not only the play scene but also the magic of the islands. Here is the creation of Once On This Island….

1 .blocking in Once on this Island
Blocking in of the dancers and the set background. I tend to use just one base color to lay it all out. It was fun to share the progress photos with the future collector to make sure I was on track for his vision too.
2. Once on this Island
Defining the shapes and motion of the play scene. This was an actual scene in the play where the dancers in their colorful costumes leap onto the stage twirling ribbons. Toughest part as an artist is not jumping right to the fun details I wanted to play with and working to get the layout right before proceeding.
3. finished blocking once on this island
Adding in the color, shadows and highlights – at this point it was hard because I was not happy with the girl in the purple skirt but had to just keep going and know she would evolve as the rest of the painting continued to change
5. nearly finished once on this island
Now the girl in the purple skirt was looking more like I wanted her to look and the “sand” which was the theater floor, has come to life. I haven’t painted clothing and flowing fabric very often and found this a challenge but a lot of fun to do too!
4. in progress mid way once on this island
This was half way point. Nearly two months into work on this piece. Some days I would work for many hours straight forgetting to even make meals for myself until the keiki would remind me! Ha! Other times I would work on other paintings for several days and just let my mind wander with ideas for this one.
6. last steps once on this island
I finally got to work in the ribbons. This was fun! Instead of feeling pressure about getting them “just right” , I decided to just go for it and painted them in all at once. It felt great to see them flowing and tying the piece together in one coherent whole.
watermarked initials on painting
This photo was taken by my daughter ( hence her watermark in the bottom left corner and my watermark in the bottom right). She was able to capture all the details I put into the stage floor/beach area. The details on the clothing and the ribbons pop in this photo too. Once on the Island- complete!
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Side shot of the painting showing details and texture
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Other side photo that shows up close detail. Thank you to the Strouds for the honor of painting this for you. I hope it will make you smile every time you pass it and remember your time on this island, all your friends here and all the amazing times and memories from your time leading CTAA, Central Theatre Arts Academy.

Painting memories of a Lantern Ceremony

Painting memories of a Lantern Ceremony

One of my favorite summer traditions living here in Hawaii is attending an Obon Festival at least once during the season. The season traditionally starts towards the end of June and runs throughout mid August. There is an amazing ceremony every year on Memorial day at Magic Island in downtown Honolulu that really starts it all.

What is an Obon Festival? Well, it is one of Japan’s most well-known holidays and here in Hawaii they are a huge part of summer fun and tradition. The “Bon season” is an important part of the culture of the islands. Our newspaper publishes lists of the various locations of Bon Dances and Festival events all around Oahu …and on the neighbor islands too. My family and I circle the ones we want to attend most and try to add new ones each year.

There are two ways to translate Obon. One translation is the Lantern Festival or another is the Festival of the Dead. Obon is a day to honor those family and friends who have passed away. At most Bon Dances there will be a drum tower, Taiko drummers, and dancers dressed in traditional clothing dancing together to the music all around the tall drum tower that is ringed with colorful paper lanterns.

Some of the Obon festivals include the very special floating lantern ceremony. Paper lanterns are written on, then lit and released into the waves where they float out to sea, symbolically representing the ancestral spirits’ return to the other world. I find this part of the evening the most magical of all. I wanted to capture the feel of the lanterns in the waves, the dramatic bobbing up and down in the waves and the way the points of light disappear where the ocean meets the sky. If you never have felt this feeling, I hope you get to experience one of these festivals at least once. The memory of it will stay with you forever.

This original painting is for sale and displayed in the Fine Ass Chocolate and Coffee store in Ka’a’awa. If you are interested in purchasing the painting you can email me at: asyouwisharts@gmail.com or call the store at 808-237-1213 and let them know you are interested in “Obon Lantern Festival”. This is the original painting and no duplicates will be made.

My first painting that will be in an international collection!!!

My original painting “Kailua Morning Walk” has been sold and is on its way to Prague!! I’m pretty tickled I can say I have internationally sold works now. I am so very blessed to have my passion for painting my island home so well received. This painting was inspired by a photograph that Joe Lopez shared on his page ( and allowed me to use as a muse for this painting). It is a morning sunrise scene we here in the islands are blessed to experience while over on the windward side of Oahu. Thank you Joe for your support of my art!

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This painting will be available in museum quality giclee limited edition, hand signed and numbered copies. The first three of the run have already been pre-sold before printing began so 1/25, 2/25 and 3/25 are sold!!!. If you are interested in a copy please message me soon. I plan on only hand signing and numbering 25 total in the run!!! Who will be the person who gets number 4/25?? The original painting was 16×20 but the copies can be made in smaller dimensions if requested. Please email me at asyouwisharts@gmail.com right away if you would like one before I close out the edition.

 

Mahalo nui loa ( thank you very much) for all of your support!!!Image

Saying goodbye to my painting before it left to fly over the ocean and halfway around the world to its new home!!!

Flowing with the Waves and Floating in the Clouds

 

 

an inside peek in the creation of a recent painting titled, “Kailua Morning”

 

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Sometimes its all about flowing with the waves and floating in the clouds and seeing where a painting takes you.

Above is Step 1 of a recent painting. This is the rough painting all “blocked in” in a few hours one bright afternoon.

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Step 2 took place a few weeks later when I finally had time to go back to this painting. Life takes over a bit and I try to just roll with it and not stress if I can’t get back to a painting right away. This was a few days of adjusting the colors, filling in the water and sand and highlighting the clouds. While I was floating in the clouds literally in this painting, I really felt like I was much closer in that area but now much farther away than I wanted to be with the water. Fast forward a few more weeks…..

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Step 3 – I was totally happy with the clouds and adding final touches to the water. The sand was starting to really look nice and wet and the water reflections were really making me happy. I worked on this for another few hours and then had to step away one more time.

 

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Step 4 is the completed piece – “Kailua Morning”. The painting is now signed, my brushes are clean, the supplies are re-organized and I am already blocking in another piece on another canvas ( actually 2 pieces at once) , which is totally normal for me. I hope you enjoyed seeing this progression… I reserve the right to tweak the painting a little more before I apply a UV coating and get it totally ready for its new owner!

Mahalo nui loa for floating along with me while my paintbrush was flowing on the canvas!

“Andy”

 

 

 

 

 

Paintings displayed in the shop in Ka’a’awa

Paintings displayed in the shop in Ka'a'awa

I have been very fortunate the last few years to have many paintings displayed in a shop in Ka’a’awa, Hawaii called Fine Ass Chocolate and Coffee. At this fun and wonderful store, they sell two of my favorite things to consume…chocolate and coffee. 🙂 They also have a lot of amazing gift items and an incredible selection of Hawaiiana items you just can’t find anywhere in the crazy bustle of downtown Waikiki. And the views on the drive there ( from either side of the island) are absolutely breathtaking. I like to go on the weekends just to unwind and then of course, get my chocolate fix. The Crouching Lion restaurant is on the upper part of the hill and the shop is in the lower part of the building with carved wooden lion statue by the front of the store. I owe a huge MAHALO to these guys and especially to my friend Zondre. They have been promoting and actively selling my paintings and craft signs all this time. If you can’t make it to my island of Oahu, then check out their website here http://www.fineasschocolate.com/ to see what I am talking about. Also, if you look them up on Google maps, you can see a 360 degree view of the store too. If you are on island, make a stop for sure and tell them “Andy” the artist sent you their way. Mahalo nui loa (thank you so very much ) to everyone at the Fine Ass Chocolate and Coffee store!

Early Painting Years

Early Painting Years

My wonderful 81 years young mother recently sent me a few photos of a much younger me painting in the backyard of my old childhood home. Based on the short Princess Di inspired haircut and skinny runner legs, I believe this was about 10th grade. I painted mountains a lot back then, even though my childhood home was located pretty far from the beginnings of the Grand Tetons seen emerging on the canvas in this photo.

I was forever dreaming of far away places while painting a snow capped Matterhorn or a tropical ocean lagoon silhouetted with palm trees. I think its important to remind myself of those early years when I would watch William “Bill” Alexander on PBS and then grab my paints and canvas and just “fire it in”. I had no fear and it was all about playing with the paint and dreaming.

Now all these years later, in fact hundreds of paintings later, I often find myself having to stop negative talk in my head about how long a painting is taking me or how accurate it might be. I need to remember that child-like courage and creativity and just let myself have fun. Those are the paintings I absolutely end up loving the most, the times where I get in the flow and just play!! Those are the times when hours can pass in the blink of an eye and suddenly my keiki are clamoring for mom to step away from the canvas and feed them some dinner. So my new mantra for the next few months is actually a saying of Bill’s, the fiesty old German artist who sparked my first flame as an artist —— “FIRE it in!!!” …………..And now back to my canvas.

Mahalo nui loa ( Thank you very much) for your time.