Na Pali

Na Pali, meaning “The Cliffs” in Hawaiian, is a 17-mile stretch of rugged coastline located on the northwest side of Kauai. It is this beautiful stretch of earth that my dear husband I went backpacking on. Here the dramatic colors are muted by clouds, the whole scene was greyed down.

Sunset on Niihau

Niihau Island is located 18 miles from the island of Kauai across the often-times rough Kaulakahi Channel. The oldest of the inhabited Hawaiian islands, Niihau is also the least changed by modern progress. The Niihauans fish and hunt for their main staples of food, with their diet supplemented by supplies brought in by air and sea by the owners of the island. The residents of Niihau still hunt with ropes and knives and fish with spears and nets. Niihau is called the forbidden Island, and the place where time stands still. Niihau was clearly visible along the horizon as I painted this sunset.

Banyan Town

This is the perfect town for those who are willing to imagine it. There are many paths into the interior, and plenty of nooks and crannies to assign purposes to. It is the kind of place gnome and fairy legends are made from.



I managed to paint only one of the many cairns on this beach. This is the first beach on the Kalalau trail, it is very rocky and the surf is rough…so the rocks are wonderfully smooth. Previous hikers have stacked many, many rock cairns on this beach. If you are a hiker you know that a stack of rocks on a trail is called a cairn, and it symbolizes that you are to head that direction on a trail. To find many of them together, is not only impressive, given a tremendous surf, but inspiring and encouraging.

Black Sand Sunset

There are many different kinds of beaches…they all have their perks. The gulf coast of Texas might not win a beauty contest, but the sand builds the best castles. The beaches of Cuba have meters and meters of shallow water after the waves break, which make them perfect for kiddie swimming. Rocky beaches can have the most wonderful water because the sand doesn’t mix in the tide and muddy the colors. In my opinion, black sand beaches have the most wonderful sunsets. The water rests on the beach after the tide comes in like a mirror, reflecting whatever is happening in the sky. You reach this particular beach by walking through an Ironwood Pine forest. The Ironwood pine is unique in my experience, it’s needles droop downward in the most beautiful, dream like way, and its cones are teeny tiny, about the size of a marble rolled into more of a pine cone shape.

As an artist, the forest and the black sand make for an easy dark to make an interesting composition this time of day. I love sunsets, you have to work fast or light changes, so it allows for a quick, energetic study. I almost missed this sunset, the more dramatic colors were before I set up.

Wake up! Wake up!


The roosters remind me of children on Christmas morning, they are so excited it is ALMOST day that they want to share it with everyone. Note I said ALMOST day. I did some research as to why there are so many roosters in Kauai. Here is what I learned: 1. the chickens have no predators except the occasional feral cat or house dog, all the other islands have a mongoose that keeps their populations in check, 2. Hurricane Iniki (1992) destroyed some chicken farms blowing the chickens out onto the island, and 3. they were fighting cocks (1800s) that were released into the wild because they were female, or injured. The last reason may explain why they are perhaps the most handsome of all the chickens I have seen in my life.

Cock a doodle doo! Get up and hit the trails, it is time…or it least it might be by the time you have made coffee and put on sunscreen, so why not get up anyway?

Middle Tide


I photographed this painting in its micro plein air setting. I lift out the tin of paints and use the empty box bottom as a palette, and water cup. The bottom corner holding my water, and then then I use the upper part to mix my colors. The tiny system works great, I encourage any artist out there to make there own, mine is made of mint tins and half pallets of water colors.

I painted this on a break from snorkeling. The ocean was composed of many blues and greens which made it fun to paint. The multicolored fish under the water, the seal napping to my left, and the turtles popping up their heads you will just have to imagine.

Campsite in Paradise

That little tiny yellow green triangle is a tent. The thin white lines are a waterfall. It is facing one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – but you have to earn the view…getting there requires crossing several mountains and valleys on foot. This is perhaps the tiniest painting I have ever done, it is 3″x 2″ and the paint set is about the size of a pink pearl eraser (we were backpacking).