Kipu Falls

Kipu Falls
24 x 36 inches
Oil on Canvas

Kipu Falls is a spectacular waterfall on the island of Kauai surrounded by banyan trees. In the past, it was a popular swimming hole for both locals and visitors alike, but is currently inaccessible on private property. By sheer coincidence, I was fortunate enough to see it two weeks before it was closed to public access in the summer of 2011. The following year, I decided to make a painting of Kipu Falls for my husband, but I did not have a good photo of the falls because the access path ended at the top of the waterfall cliff. Impenetrable jungle and steep terrain prevented easy access from land. The best way to view the falls as they are in the painting was to either jump in the pool below the waterfalls using a high rope swing dangling from the banyan branches, or to scramble down a slippery ladder on the far side of the falls. Thus, photos of the waterfall required bravery and either a waterproof camera or some serious hiking skills. Thankfully, I found a talented photographer, Russ Borgen, who agreed to let me use his excellent and rare photo as a starting point for this painting. I made some adjustments to the image as I painted it, recreating the scene of the beautiful falls we experienced on a pleasant late summer day.

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