Crooked Tree, a mural-sized oil painting, surrounds the viewer who steps inside that landscape, full of memories of my life in Honolulu.
The painting shares an intimate view of the Queen’s Pool located in Nuuanu. To reach the stream which feeds the pool, I hike across river rocks, snake around large boulders and follow a muddy trail to two waterfalls. There guarding the pool is a crooked tree shaped like a deer with antlers. Right at the crook like a snout, the tree protrudes flirtatiously toward a smaller tree.
Centuries ago, Royal Hawaiian queens and princesses softened their skin with oily, sweet mud. The pool is surrounded by fragrant ginger. Kukui nut trees shade the pool and exude oil into the mud.
The water moistens the mud. To ease the painting process of painting on location, I place my equipment and paints in black garbage bags which I store inside a large monkey-pod tree trunk. Not only does the black bag in the tree lie hidden from other eyes; it keeps out the rain.
While I paint, I feel rain forest spirits speak through soft breezes. Flickering sun and deep shadows increase the mystery as I gain a voice in the poetry of a tropical rainforest. As I paint, I think of the 19th century French painter Paul Gauguin’s search for paradise in the South Pacific. I search for the same deep tonal colors captured among the large shapely plants and flowers. Like Gauguin, I search for hidden spirits in nature.