Hi From Kauai
By Jennifer Bentson
Tropical breezes hit your Los Angeles skin when you walk off the airplane. Hawaiian Reggae plays on 2 of the 4 radio stations. It is definitely time for relaxing and exploring an island bathed in sunsets, slow traffic, friendly people and lush growth.
My visit to Kauai was an introduction to a very active group of artists who live and work on the island. I was lucky to visit the Orchid Festival at Hanapepe in Kauai and meet some of the artists there. The town of Hanapepe is considered an artist’s home as there are 16 art galleries in the space of two and a half blocks. Most every Friday night there is an “art night” where artists take over the town with music and art, www.hanapepe.org. The town is rustic and most of the buildings were constructed before World War Two. Many businesses and people left Hanapepe’s tiny harbor town and moved to Lihue where the airport and harbor could handle more business.
Angela Headley and her husband bought an Old Japanese laundry building and turned it into a Gallery for Angela’s work and the work of many local artists, www.islandartkauai.com. I had to weave in between plein air artists and their canvases in front of the Gallery to meet with Angela during the Orchid Festival.
Island Art Gallery 3878 Hanapepe Road PH:808-335-0591
Several Artists of the Kauai Society of Artists including Katy Zeidner of www.kauaisocietyofartists.org, were painting the local street and orchid festival. Inside the gallery were the works of many local artists including Mary (Sanderson) Valeria featured with her opalescent art.
Mary (Sanderson) Valeria
Angela Headley, www.angelaheadley.com, said she is drawn to painting in Kauai as the color is like no where else. She said when she paints outdoors in Kauai she said it is her time to be with nature.
Angela Headley at Home
The weather in Kauai is perfect for a plein air painter. There are fantastic spots such as the Waimea Canyon which is flanked by highway 51 where lookouts are posed above a red rock valley reminding you of the Grand Canyon. Then if you go to the very end of highway 51 you are overlooking Kalalau Valley where your eye wanders to the Napali Coastline. On the North Side is the magical town of Hanalei which was once featured in a song about Puff the Magic Dragon. The views are magical even if there is no dragon.
Marionette Taboniar and Caylin Spear
As a treat, I took a class in painting orchids led by Marionette Taboniar of Painting Paradise, www.kauai-artist.net, who is a prolific teacher in Kauai and offers students the best watercolor paper and paints for her class. It was well worth the $40 to learn how to capture the delicate petals of an orchid. While painting with Marionette, I learned about the April Kauai Artists’ Open Studio Tour. The whole island of Kauai is united and features over 39 artists and their studios. The arts include glass, pastel., sea shells, silk painting textiles, wood cuts, weaving, photography, metal as well as the more familiar painting, with maps to the studios.
Orchid in Kauai watercolor by Jennifer Bentson
Several of the local artists dropped by the class Marionette lead at the old church in Hanapepe, one artist, Caylin Spear, loves the encaustic art and her studio was on the Open Studio Tour in April. The class was held outdoors and we listened to live Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar music while we created our orchid paintings. One of the students in the class comes to Kauai every year and takes a class from Marionette who has been an artist for over 20 years. She originally lived in Michigan and says she loves Kauai over Michigan. Marionette was also featured in the April Open Studio Tour for her fascinating watercolors and flowers.
Orchids, watercolor, by Rix Cerezo
I can’t wait to return to the red dirt, little town of Hanapepe, Kauai and paint with the friendly artists there.
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