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 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.

Hawaiian Floral for Lei Day

Happy Lei Day & May Day! I just finished a painting celebrating Hawaiian Flowers.  These are all flowers that were here long before humans found the remote beauty of Hawaii.

On the left is the vivid magenta flower stalk of the rare and gorgeous Lobelia gaudichaudii plant which grows only in high in the mountains of Oahu. In the center, peach-colored  ‘ie’ie (freycinetia arbora), is the focal point.  It is a high elevation vine that climbs the massive trees and cliffsides spreading bursts of long, thin leaves along a robust woody vine. Below that, the delicate yellow flowers of ilima, (Sida fallax) are the official flower  of Oahu (every island has a special flower as a symbol on lei day).  Ilima grows from the beaches up to the mountains and makes a wonderful landscape plant!  Speaking of official flowers, Hawaii Island’s official flower, ohia, the tree which is among the first to grow forth from the barren lava, is just to the right of the ie ie.  I chose the rare orange ohia blossom to continue the orange tones.  Ohai (Sesbania tomentosa) is in the bottom right corner and would be wonderful to plant in your yard if you live in the drier parts of the island.  If you are on Oahu, check with the specialty native plant nursery, Hui O Ka Maoli Ola – they will have it (and ilima) or will know where to get it and will probably be able to advise whether it is a good choice for your yard.  Finally, rare endangered Hawaiian tree-thistle (Hesperomannia arbuscula) incorporates all three major floral colors to complete the composition.

Thank you to Nate Yuen for his excellent blog where I have learned so much about these gorgeous plants!  If you want to have a more beautiful Facebook feed, follow him and enjoy the gorgeous photos he takes.

This painting is currently on the wall of the newly renovated Lion Coffee Cafe in Kalihi (1555 Kalani St, Honolulu, HI 96817).  They have generously provided space on their large wall with special lighting and hanging systems specifically for artists to show and sell work. It’s a new venue for artists on Oahu, which is very exciting.  I helped them design the hanging system and have become the first artist in the space to “break it in”.  It’s been a fantastic experience!  It’s a wonderful place to get a cup of coffee and a delicious bite to eat as you see the art on the wall. I will have my work there for two months, ending on June 30, 2018.