Beach Sentinels

Beach Sentinels by Wendy Roberts

There is a type of weather that happens right before a small summer squall that is fleeting but beautiful.  The sun glistens on low, choppy waves that glitter like sequins under a spotlight.  Offshore islands fall into dark purple shadow.  This contrast makes the ocean look particularly surreal.  It emphasizes the green tones in the waves and creates a creamy turquoise color as the waters are churned with oxygen.    This will be a short refreshing storm that will make the hot sand smell damp.   It will finish in a sun shower as rain and sun combine in diamond drops on every leaf. Perhaps there will be a rainbow arcing across the sky.  The forecast is in front of your eyes if you know the beach well. 

How many summer squalls have these trees seen?  How many waves have they heard rushing ashore?  When I see weathered trees along a coastline, I think of them as sentinels – guards for the approaching wind, waves, and storms from the sea.  The boughs of these trees at Kalama beach are sculpted by wind, the flow of air made solid.  Their roots are protecting the shore, holding on to grains of sand although it seems an impossible task.  It is a marvel to me that anything can grow in the sand and the heat of the beach.  Despite the sparse nutrients and the blazing afternoon sun, they provide shade and protect against wind and erosion.

This oil panting will be at the newly elegant and refreshing Lion Coffee Cafe (1555 Kalani St, Honolulu, HI 96817) which has been newly remodeled.  If you are on Oahu, you can have a cup of coffee and a cookie or pastry and enjoy the show anytime Monday – Saturday from 6 AM to 5 PM between now and June 30, 2018.

Quality Time at ZAFA Workshops

This October an November I have been honing my skills, I took an amazing workshop at Zwick Academy of Fine Art (ZAFA) entitled “Master Copy Workshop”. We worked on a master painting copy of a work by John Singer Sargent – I chose “Lady Agnew” I am mostly done copying the detail, and ready to show the results.  First we worked on the value study.  This turned out to be quite enlightening for understanding the overall tones of the piece.  It was years since I had worked with charcoal, and I found out I really love it for a drawing medium.

Then we worked on color studies (not pictured), before launching into the real deal. We used a nice color print out in lieu of being able to spend a month in front of the actual paintings. Every time I mixed a skin tone, I found myself saying “Needs more purple!” Sargent is a surprisingly saturated colorist.  I look forward to the changes this will bring to future pieces as I incorporate the lessons learned by studying Sargent’s careful yet expressive painting style which I would classify as “effort-filled effortlessness”.  I can highly recommend William Zwick’s classes.  He’s an excellent teacher! I learned more in less time by doing this master copy under his mentorship than I would have if I had picked up a brush and done it without guidance. Maybe I will end up doing more copies in the future, and I would even dare to do them solo now, but I think the process of being guided through this copy helps me know how I would go about it in the future if left to my own devices. It takes a lot of research if you plan to replicate the painting down to the technique and palette.  I was grateful to have that footwork in place already for this piece.

There is a little glare on the photo, but I think it is not hampering the viewing of my copy too much.  Also, the piece is not varnished yet.  I will post again when I have the necklace done and the varnish done (which will deepen the colors), but you can see that the detail is almost complete.  I am planning to frame this and hang it in my studio to remind me how to soften my edges.  What a great way to spend October of 2017!

I returned to ZAFA in November to work on my master copy-earned skills with some life painting sessions, and painted a portrait of the absolutely gorgeous model posing at ZAFA for the week.

Here she is with her painting. Posing for hours like that is not easy.  She did a great job of standing still for the 9 hours (!) it took us all to paint her likeness.

I worked hard to soften the edges and was pleased with the results, as was the model who bought the piece – I always love it when a painting finds its home.  ZAFA is one of the few places you can go on Oahu for a multi-session life painting experience, which I highly recommend if you are looking to hone skills and learn to paint beyond the confines of a a photo.  As of 2017, it is on Fridays and you can sign up with ZAFA to get notice of the status of the sessions.  We are lucky to have high quality art resources like this close at hand. Maybe I will see you there, fellow Oahu artists! 


Leukemia Society Fundraiser

I am participating in the upcoming fundraiser for the Lymphoma Leukemia Society at the McKellar Residence: 148 Kaimoani Way, Kailua, Hawaii, 96734, this weekend, Sunday October 29, 2017 from 2 – 5 pm.  I will personally be late since I am also taking a workshop but I do plan to come from 4 – 5.  There will be art for sale with a minimum of 50% of all proceeds going to the Leukemia Society.  Many accomplished artists are donating work to the event, and Greg and Junko (an award-winning steel drum band) will play live music for us at this lovely beachside home!  Please see this flyer for more information:

Leukemia Fundraiser

I would also urge anyone who feels altruistic to get signed up as a possible marrow donor.  Someone amazing did this for my uncle.  I was thinking of testing for compatibility when a kind stranger matched him before I could even find out how to sign up.  Later, I signed up in the hopes to pay it forward someday.  Maybe I will be the stranger with the right marrow to help make extra years possible for someone as wonderful as my uncle. He was seriously ill, but was fortunate to recover well after the bone marrow transplant.  He has been granted precious years of life to nuture his grandkids and spend time with friends and family. 

Please click here to learn the basics of what it means to sign up in the database and what it would require to be a donor:

If you are between the ages of 18 and 44, you are the right age to be the match. With a simple cheek swab, you can be in the database, and if a match comes up, you can make the decision of whether you are able to donate marrow.   Please visit this link to learn how to take the first step to being in the database (a DNA swab to determine compatibility with future patients):

With Hawaii, there are many unique racial combinations, and so it’s important especially here in Hawaii to register since the need for marrow often follows racial/hereditary lines. and it is harder for multiracial patients to be able to match. Someone on the island with wonderful diverse heritage could be the key to help a Filipino/Hawaiian/Japanese/Native American/Irish mixed ancestry patient that would otherwise be unable to find a match.



30 in 30: Kamehameha Butterflies with Orange Ohia

Kamehameha Butterflies with Orange Ohia
Acrylic on Wood Panel
8″ X 10″

Kamehameha butterflies are one of Hawaii’s two endemic butterflies. Its Hawaiian name is pulelehua, which roughly means “to float from one flower to the next”. The name also includes the idea of reddish coloring (the lehua flower is a very similar color, especially the red ones when the sun is shining through its wings). In my imagination, when I hear the term, I see a vision of an ohia flower that has come to life, floating and shimmering in the sun in the form of a butterfly as it glides from flower to flower through the forest. Perhaps it is another step in an imaginative metamorphosis for these beautiful butterflies. Here I have placed the small kamehameha butterflies with the ohia lehua mentioned in their name, but I wanted to see them alight on the orange variant which is a more rare color of ohia.

Special thank you to Kim and Forrest Starr for their generous sharing of photos in the public domain that allowed me to render the orange lehua. They are photographers who seek out many native and endemic plants and animals and post them online to educate and share their vast knowledge and talents with others. I do not know them personally yet, but I imagine we may meet someday (it’s a small island!). I have found their photo collection useful several times over the course of painting Hawaiian plant life and birds, and appreciate how long it takes to hike into areas with these rare endemic Hawaiian plants. It is very kind of them to share so freely with the online community!

This is day 5 for me of the 30 in 30 challenge. I took a quick detour from birds for a couple of days, but I know I will return at least a few times to painting them. I really enjoy birds! Tomorrow I will post my red ohia variant of kamehameha butterflies, however. I couldn’t just paint one! Not with all the pretty colors of ohia that we have in the islands!

If you want to see the entire series of paintings, you can see it here:

View the other 20 in 20 paintings in this gallery >>

By Land or Sea

I am excited to announce that I unintentionally dressed in the same color scheme as my painting, and also, “Peaceful Sanctuary” won first place at the HCC “By Land or Sea” show yesterday! Hooray! It was nice to see friends and meet so many wonderful people at the reception! Thank you Jennifer Rothschild for organizing so many lovely shows at HCC, and also to the three anonymous (mysterious) jurors who chose my work. It’s an honor and I am grateful!

Standing in front of my painting, "Peaceful Sanctuary" in my matching outfit. I wish I could say I planned it!

Standing in front of my painting, “Peaceful Sanctuary” in my coordinating outfit. I wish I could say I planned it, but it was just a happy fashion accident.

Maunawili and Kipu Falls Giclee Editions

All giclees are sold with a Certificate of Authenticity. I designed them so that the certificates match their respective paintings (just for fun). It turns out this also makes it really easy to find the right certificate at a glance.  Handy!

COA Kipu Sample COA Maunawili Sample

Maunawili is an open edition of three sizes: 8″ X 10″, 16″ X 20″, and 20″ X 24″.  Kipu Falls has 25 Artist’s Proof giclees (24″ X 36″), 250 limited edition hand signed giclees (12″ X 18″ or 24″ X 36″).

Matted Prints for these and my other images are in the works.  They will be 11″ X 14″.

Interest in Pintrest

Pinterest is up and running!  You can find me at  The most unique aspect of my Pinterest Board is the “Artists I Admire” board.  It’s the sort of undertaking that is most easily done on Pinterest, and though I mention some of my paint heroes in my bio, it’s not as fun as seeing their work in a nice neat Pinterest collection.  I have my own art there too, so if that is your favorite social site, you can now Pin me on there (does this mean I’m a Pin-Up Girl?)