I believe artists love other artists, and we always hope, always rejoice, when other artists move forward. I believe my special gift to share has to do with helping others understand that even when we feel alone, we are never truly alone and exercising our creativity in making art, enjoying beautiful art made by others, making things, enjoying handmade things by a skillful craftsman keeps us connected. Then we can embrace solitude and not run from it, relax and enjoy time with others without being drained.
As 2018 draws to a close, I am feeling grateful and satisfied with the year, and excited and hopeful for the new one to begin!
I spent a good part of 2018 developing my artistic practice–understanding my process and motivation for making art. Bezalel‘s Calling early in the year, at Gallery on the Pali was an exercise to understand my artistic heritage, and I feel called and gifted with the desire, ability and resources to make creative designs in any media and to teach others as I learn myself. The juried Hawaii Watercolor Society show at Honolulu Musuem of Art’s Linekona space also gave me the experience of understanding how works take on a meaning in the context it is placed with other works. I completed Chuukese Folk Tales book about tales from the Chuuk Islands that were distributed to Oahu and in Chuuk Lagoon’s elementary schools as part of an integration project. I loved the project because it gave me the incentive to research and learn about the Chuukese people and culture. If it weren’t for the project, I would never have read about the history of Christian missionary work in Micronesia, the storyboard guilds established under Japanese colonisation, the intricate and beautiful weaving of headbands and skirts of shells and coconut fibers. It led me to read historical accounts from the 17th-19th centuries by primarily white travelers, which led me to a run on graphic novel memoirs by authors of color. This was on top of the dozen or so I usually read of my favorite subjects of biographies and pop science sprinkled with classic literature. I read over 40 books this year.
My Color Bridges workshops in both Honolulu and in Gothenberg continue to affirm my belief in the power of them to help people trust themselves to enjoy exploring and relaxing by using color and occupying their hands for a couple hours. I enjoyed my time with the keiki and kupuna at Palama Settlement leading the watercolor classes. I also had private and small groups of students this year and what I find drives me to want to do even more is how I discover how many children are shut down at such an early age to not use their creativity…when I get them to open up again it is so gratifying to see their enjoyment of what they discover they can create. In the eyes of a 9 year old or a 79 year old, the joy is pure.
I realised I am not making art for arts sake. When I create, as when I teach, I am striving for something more urgent, I am trying to help others connect deep into their own well of creative source. The best compliment I got from someone who enjoys my art in their home, is that they like to come home and be greeted by my work, knowing it is waiting for them to return and knowing that when they have to leave, it will be there waiting for them until they return safe again.