Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fairy Art

Happy funny fairy...

copyright©2007 by tuko
(as usual, all images here are the property of the artist)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Swimming with a turtle

The weather finally cleared for about 30 minutes yesterday and maybe a couple of hours today so it was a dash down to the beach for a long overdue swim... Over to what we call 'Bali', the second set of rock 'islands' that jut out beyond the beach (first set we call 'Tahiti' as an endearing inside joke because it's closer). I saw a small green sea turtle on our way to 'Bali'. Though this image doesn't show it, truth be told I was wearing a wetsuit to keep from getting too cold.
Image copyright 2007 by Tuko

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cold & Rainy Hawaii

Mauna Kea has snow. It's been raining for weeks and enoughs enough. But here I am sitting in our little jungle abode in the tropics in polar fleece. Having finished my assigned projects for the day I decided to do a little sketching with my handy dandy wacom pad. A little one I bought years ago (like 3 computers ago). I hardly use it but I think I'm going to use it more. I finally updated the software from their website, the thing that stopped me. So here's what I'm looking at out my window.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kalani Art & Fashion Event

Paris? London? Milan? No, it's Puna!!!

Okay, so let's not forget all the art...

and there was Arthur, and Richard and my art too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Show at Maui Hands

Arthur Johnsen, Gerald Murai, and I will be representing the Big Island (as well as our gallery) in this juried show opening next Saturday, in Paia. Wish I could be there in person to attend, I love Maui and especially the cute town of Paia.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hula Girls

Last night Richard (owner of Kalani resort) came over with a couple of volunteers and a movie. We frequently have movie night at someone's home because the nearest movie theater is 45 minutes away in Hilo. Last night's movie was Hula Girls, a Japanese movie by a Korean director (Korean but Japanese born). The movie is about a coal mining town named Iwaki which is located in Fukushima which is north of Tokyo and even though they made it out to be a teeny village it's really a big city if you Google it. But still, it ain't Tokyo. It's supposed to be the 60s and based on a true story. Iwaki was a coal mining town for generations, but now with demand being lower the mining company has to slow down it's operation and lay off it's workers. The town also has natural hot springs so someone gets the brilliant idea to build a huge Hawaiian Village with swimming pools and palm trees, all indoors. They hire a sophisticated dancer from Tokyo to teach the local daughters of coal miners how to dance. Trouble ensues because most of the miners are upset about the change in the town. Good movie with lots of drama and good character development. The teacher (Madoka Hirayama) reminded me a lot of our friend, Yumiko san who also teaches hula in Japan, in Yokohama (not that I picture Yumiko san yelling at her students or slapping them and others around-- I think it was just the hair, the "do"). Of course Richard here who teaches hula at Kalani let us know that in some scenes they were dancing Tahitian style, not Hawaiian. The dancing and costumes in the movie was very reminiscent of watching the Japanese dancers that come to the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo (in the spring).

what could've been...

Here's one of my ideas of an ornament I was going to make with my sculpey clay... Oh well, maybe next year...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Update - Swimming with dolphins

Before going in for my day at Arthur's gallery (every Saturday I sit in) we went down to Kehena Beach. Arthur called up at 8 AM, I still had sleep in my eyes but went down anyway and to my surprise and delight there were pods of spinnaker dolphins. They were so lively, jumping and showing off. It was a fun way to wake up! The water was pretty calm though it was a little murky, probably from all that dolphin spinning.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dolphins at the beach

At Kehena Beach there were dolphins supposedly, but all I could see were big giant waves and with my back feeling like I'd been lifting 50 lb weights I didn't venture in. I don't like to go in alone anyway and my buddy Arthur is lately busy making beautiful pareos for our gallery...

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I was on my way to the Arthur Johnsen gallery when what do I run into again but another parade. Two weeks ago it was the Veteran's Day Parade which made it so I couldn't go down the routes I usually take, they being the parade routes. Today I thought I'll go the bay front way, but of course they had the streets going into Hilo blocked off so I had to go up Hamakua way and make a U-turn back towards town. By the time I got back I saw Santa on the Big Yellow Hilo Fire truck so I knew the parade was over....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Creative Black Hole

Sometimes I go through a period of letting anything else distract me from what I should be doing, like making Christmas ornaments or finishing any number of paintings sitting in my newly cleaned studio space (thereby reducing that excuse)... So yesterday I baked cookies and then went swimming in my wetsuit because the weather is cooling down and it was a very rainy day...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Portrait sitting

I was the subject of an Arthur Johnsen portrait today. Sitting for a painting wasn't easy and I felt a bit like Mona Lisa. Well, I thought this week was better than next week, I wasn't getting any younger...

I got this frame image from They sell frames, you can upload a picture and then see what it looks like with either their ready made or custom frames before you buy... way cool. Of course they think this is a 3 inch by 4 inch painting, I didn't give them the dimensions ( I think it might be 16 by 20) and they framed it with a 3 inch thick frame.

Banana Farmer

We have a lot of banana trees thanks to Craig and his green thumb. We usually give away most of the harvest. Last week I was on a banana bread making marathon...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Update to my listening habits.

Okay, I'm getting a little tired of RadioioAcoustic now. They keep repeating their sets and then those darn viagra ads. So I'm back to Radio Paradise until I find something else.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Radio Acoustic

Currently my favorite radio station is RadioioAcoustic on ITunes. The bad thing is after every 5 songs they have a viagra commercial (an indication of their demographics?? I hope not). Good news is when I hear a commercial coming on I can mute it and ITunes will tell me when the next song comes back on (I guess RadioioAcoustic is really doing the notifying) and I can punch the sound key and all is well... Also, since they tell you what the song is and who the arist is you can easily look them up to buy if you want.

I don't know if it's from my years in New Mexico but I have to admit I like some country music. They usually tell stories and are a little sad and a little soothing. I know in New York I listened to more hip hop and dance music but I was also into rollerblading and loved to skate to music. An Ipod would've been great then in the era of sony walkmen.

IMac takes a vacation.

It's been super rainy here, I guess it's monsoon season, November is often more rainy than other months. Some days it must rain 5 inches. Regardless of that, my little computer had a little vacation to Kona (the dry side). Her power supply was not working, she would quit intemittently, in the middle of work or whatever. Fortunately, there's an authorized Apple repair shop on the island and so I messengered my little IMac over (Errand Boy which is really a girl named Leanna) and they were able to fix the problem under warranty (best part).

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Mexico painting

This is one of the small paintings I did in New Mexico, of the chamisa in a dry riverbed. I'm back in the land of 100 percent humidity and coqui frogs, another world.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Last night around 7 pm while we comfortably eating a pasta dinner in front of the tv we felt this big shaking, which, when you live 6 miles from an active lava flow makes things a little more exciting. Here is a photo from the government site about our 4.2 magnitude quake. See the star, I live about a quarter inch (in map terms) north of the star, along the coast. The quake was really nothing dramatic, not like the quake last year where the epicenter was a hundred miles away on the Kona coast. That one was worthy of CNN coming to inspect the damage and I loved that people could send their photos to the news network.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Painting in New Mexico

When I met up with Arthur and Roger in New Mexico the first thing we did was go up to the vistas to paint the changing colors... It was just starting to turn and we found the best vantage point for the three of us to paint from. Unremarkably there were many others with the same idea of going up to see the aspens. But remarkably we made front page news in the local paper, undoubtedly a slow news day. The photographer's image was actually more interesting than my feeble first painting in New Mexico.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire in San Diego

Because I have family in San Diego, I'm posting this link to a map of the fires there... if you click on the cameras they have photos. Amazingly the one shot of the helicopter over Poway looks like the lava fires here (burning the forests at this moment and coming towards our little Pahoa Town, only 15 minutes from my house).

My brother's family evacuated to my mom's place in Clairemont.

Back from the mainland

I have to apologize for not being up on my blogging... I was on the mainland where I met up with Arthur and Roger in Santa Fe, NM. I actually started the trip by going to Tucson to visit my pal David Gilmore who has a fab blog ( (he used to do radio stories for NPR) and just wrote a book about life and building here in Puna. Sadly, Puna sucked the life out of him and he ran away back to Arizona where he happily rides his bike to get around town and tinkles the ivory on his awesome grand piano. Because he didn't have a car he so thoughtfully got a bike for me to ride as well. So in 95 degree heat we rode just about 15 miles a day my two days there. He can be my disignated personal trainer. On that fateful second day we rode uphill in that heat to what was described to me only as an artist's gallery. Something I'm always interested in. He didn't tell me who's. It turns out I'm quite familiar with this artist whom I would call the Walter Keene of the Southwest: Degrazia... c'mon, you know his work too... someone must've said something to the artist because partway through his museum he started putting in the dots for eyeballs on his little figures. I actually like his non eyeball work better. Anyways, he also built a church for the community and of course had to paint the walls with his unique vision.

..thankfully, the ride home was downhill.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Duane saves the day...

I just wanted to post this link, an amazing story about my friend Duane who went fishing with his buddies when suddenly a rogue wave came and swept one of them out to sea... Duane, with his quick thinking emptied his Igloo Cooler and threw it to where his friend could swim to. Then he called 911 and a half hour later a rescue helicopter came...

Please read the whole story by clicking on the title (Duane saves the day) above and it should take to the link.

Opihikao is one of our favorite painting spots, but it's very rocky and the ocean is usually pretty rough there. Great for painting and fishing, bad for swimming.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Kona bound

Arthur got invited to be a part of a Kona coffee festival at the Four Seasons (to have a booth showing art) and he asked me to come along. So I did this piece last night so I'd have something that had a coffee reference and Hawaii combined. I have done lots of coffee images in the past but they are all so urban and totally inappropriate for here. I need a Kona Coffee Shack, not a limestone New York style building... or people wearing slippers, not heels (or a dog playing the ukelele, not an accordian)...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Healing Session

Puna is very new age. So I had one of those energy reaffirming sessions the other day. That's where you tap your body all over and tell your body what you might want to change but mostly that you still love yourself no matter what. Well, I do already, it sounds kind of obnoxious to say but also I have such a positive outlook on life, and it's because I try to do the things I want to do and that's how I run my life. So I thought about the female symbol and look, it has a plus sign for positive. Note that I made my plus sign plus sized. Okay, I'm not perfect. But I love my life.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Whirlwind trip to Oahu

My mom's 80 year old cousin and his daughter and grandson wanted to visit me in Hawaii, on their way from Japan to San Diego. But that meant I had to fly to Oahu for the day and drive them around an island I barely know. After some good suggestions from Arthur and my sister I drove them up and around the North Shore with stops in Haleiwa and the Dole Plantation. On the way back through the saddle to Honolulu I mentioned (thanks to my brother-in-law's tours) we were in the path of the kamikaze pilots that had flown during WWII. This 80 year old grandfather (who was too young to have fought in the war) suddenly got emotional and mentioned that he really wanted to see Pearl Harbor. Maybe next time he said. Not on my watch - why leave for next time what you can do today. I told him we could go now. They were concerned because they knew I had a plane of my own to catch back to the Big Island at 7. No problem I said. So we went to Pearl Harbor. Upon seeing the memorials my mom's cousin became so moved. He had been doing volunteer work in Japan with the survivors of the atom bomb, many older Japanese do this. He wanted to see this place and the connection to it's own senseless destruction. After driving by gorgeous beach after gorgeous beach, this was the highlight of the trip for him.

Notice how stylish those Japanese are (compared to me...).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

Did anyone catch last night's full moon lunar eclipse?? It was so amazing. And right on Arthur's birthday. The moon turned this gorgeous reddish blackish, hard to describe but beautiful coloring. I wish I'd photographed it but it was around midnight and I was too tired. But I did go outside to see it. Maybe someone did photograph it, I'm sure one could google it and find something. Here's my quick photoshop impression...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

After the storm

These were taken last week after the storms. It didn't seem like much but the huge waves actually wreaked havoc to the beach. We lost even more sand. In previous photos the tree stump (that Arthur is doing his yoga on) was upright and it's drastically uprooted now.

The following is my favorite dead tree that is my marker for when I swim and also a great sketch subject... It's also a shocking 'dipstick' of how much sand we've lost since the tree was once living.