Sacred Space

I have been quiet.  This is a sure sign that I have been working on something very large.  I am happy to unveil my latest piece: “Sacred Space” measuring 30″ x 48″ and what makes it such a large project is the level of detail.  Murals are larger, but they also get painted with large brushes.

Sacred Space by Wendy Roberts

Sacred Space complete with a frame from Brilhante Framing of Kailua

The idea for this piece hit me like a bolt of lightning 4 years ago when I had just watched “Secret of Kells” for the third time. “The Secret of Kells” is a cartoon so beautiful it should be thought of as a moving piece of art rather than what you would typically think of with animation.  It is about Celtic illuminated manuscripts and if you haven’t seen it, you should set aside a movie night to take a look.  It is a beautiful story with amazing animation. After viewing the amazing animated manuscripts once again, I wondered what tropical illuminated manuscripts would look like, and then after a few odd sketches of extremely stylized Hawaii scenery with a Celtic knotwork spin, the thought pushed into its final form: “What if I used metal leaf like paint to add movement to the water and the leaves – the sunlight dappling, changing, shifting like the light on the leafing?” I knew this had a potential to add another element to the painting, allowing me to more fully express the sense of awe felt while secluded next to a stunning waterfall. I had to learn how to use metal leaf and get good enough to apply it smoothly. That took about 2 years. Then it took a lot of time and care to work my way through the details on the canvas. I set it aside a few times to work on other things and allow my brain time to solve some quandries by passively working on them in the background.  I always returned with a fresh point of view. This will certainly not be the last “tropical leaf” painting! I am really interested in using the dynamic shimmer of metals in my work. I had to adjust for the variability of the silver leaf’s changing values, but the final effect adds motion and life that is impossible to show in a photo but I’ll try anyway by posting a detail from different angles.

Here is the ie ie vine in the painting, a woody endemic Hawaiian flower in the pandanus family, shown from two angles so you can see how the silver picks up and reflects light dynamically. You can also see a small portion of the waterfall’s silver leaf.

Giclees (durable canvas prints) of this piece will be available soon. It won’t have the leafing unfortunately since it has to be painted and blended into the rest of the piece, but when I get the final scan, I will be posting it on my “Giclees Available” page.

This piece will debut at the Punahou Carnival Art Show along with two of my little birds:

Akepa With Orange Ohia

Akepa with Orange Ohia

Saffron Finch In A Cannonball Tree by Wendy Roberts

Saffron Finch In A Cannonball Tree

A carnival?  You might find that odd.  Let me explain.  Hawaii has a handful of schools that function more like colleges.  They are rigorous, demand excellent grades, and inspire the kids who attend to really strive for their best potential.  Punahou is one of the largest of these.  They have a great scholarship program so that the school can admit kids who can benefit from the challenging education at a rate of payment their family can afford.  Every year, Punahou holds a carnival to bridge the gap between what the kids are able to pay and what the school demands to keep the facilities top notch.  Oddly enough, they have developed one of the largest, most prestigious art shows in the islands.  I am pleased to be participating. If these pieces are sold at the carnival, half the proceeds will go to the Punahou scholarship fund.  

Thoughts about the False Missile Alert

You probably heard the news about our false ballistic missile warning here in Hawaii. There was a lot of panic, but also a lot of cool heads too.  You don’t hear about the cool heads on the news.  It’s not very exciting compared to reporting about the very real panic a lot of people felt, but most of the people I know were concerned rather than panicked. Nonetheless, for those of us in the “concerned” category, it was still a very strange morning.  

 I woke up to the sound of my cell phone and my husband’s cell phone chirping in unison. The first thing I did was to wake up a touch annoyed.  We get flash flood alerts like that with the same alarm, so I thought they were going to tell us it was a flash flood.  I was preparing to roll over and go back to sleep, but then I saw the screen.  The missile alert was on the screen like the graphic below (this image is thanks to Tulsi Gabbard, who you will hear about later on):

Like a dope, I got up out of bed and went to look at the sky because I am not a good morning person and it took about 20 seconds for me to realize that of course I wasn’t going to see the missiles – they take 15 minutes to arrive. All I could think of was “bzzzzzzz” (the brain equivalent of TV static) and then after another minute of squinting into the sky and trying to be sentient, I thought “How do I prepare for this?  Hmmm….”  I realized you can’t prepare for something like that past what you would do for a hurricane, and I was already passable with my emergency kit, so no need to worry about that aspect.  I remember being relieved and a bit embarrassed that I couldn’t think of any unfinished business or last desperate wishes that could be fulfilled in 15 minutes other than filling the bathtub with water. It made me feel uncreative.  Some people have the wackiest ideas of what to do with their last few moments of life, but I, who make my living being creative, drew a blank.  I also thought it was weird that North Korea would actually send a missile. I know they are always threatening, but they have lots of reasons NOT to actually go through with it – in fact it’s highly unlikely if you sift through the pros and cons.  Then I realized no sirens were blaring.  “Let’s check it out on Twitter to see if it’s false!”  The lack of sirens was fishy. 

 

If there is one thing I have learned from being a night owl, it is that if you have a weird earthquake at 3 am, Twitter is the best place to figure out if other people know what is happening.  I don’t know what kind of magical server is running over there, but the second something bizarre happens, you can start searching for information, and usually you will have your answer in under 5 minutes from a reliable source – technology is wonderful!  I ran to Twitter to figure out what was going on with this alarm, and immediately got the word it was false from our local hero of the day, Tulsi Gabbard, who immediately confirmed the status of the alarm and sent out a very quick Tweet.

Many of us had moments after it was all over where we realized our lives were the everyday humdrum and we were so grateful!  It’s NICE to be stuck in traffic (sort of). It’s nice to fold laundry and have a list of errands.  It is a luxury to have routine everyday life unfolding. It is nice to know you have kissed your kids and given your family notification on a regular basis that you love them.  I felt squared away and spared and happy to be sweeping the floor. And I am also grateful to be able to take all the everyday stuff for granted too.  It’s nice to be able to relax into it rather than having to be acutely aware of all the beauty and all the multitudes of blessings we have in our lives every moment of the day.  I am grateful for the ability to take it all for granted.  That’s part of the charm of the “everyday” too.