BACKGROUND: Sunset Dreams was painted from a photograph my daughter Keaolani took when we lived in San Diego, CA. I loved the colors she captured in the sky and how the leaves reflected the light in magical ways.
Prints of Sunset Dreams 1, along with others in this collection can be found in the Nature Inspired Gallery
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KLR ART APPAREL: Find this artwork on clothing, wallets and more on my online apparel store.
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New series coming your way starting this Aloha Friday!
Sign up for my weekly email series that will bring a bit of Aloha right to your inbox each week as I share with you a different artwork I have created along with a behind the scenes look at how or why I created the piece.
Today, I wanted to share with you about my inspiration behind this acrylic painting I did called Starry Night.
It all started a few years ago when I was playing around & blending water colors. I was loving the effect I was getting and it looked like rain. At the time, I had just started playing around with ink & watercolor. I loved the contrast and the definition I could get from using ink, so I outlined a wave and filled it in with watercolor.
But there was something missing…
That is when I decided to fill in the wave with lots of lines to define the movement. I started a new drawing, as I normally draw first, then add paint. I was falling in love with the whimsical nature of the drawing.
The results and the original Starry Night watercolor painting:
I continued to explore watercolors, painting fun waves, sunsets and playing with color.
In the beginning of 2018 I took an adult painting class with a local well know artist and art educator. I had wanted to explore acrylic painting more. Honestly, I had always hated painting with acrylics, but being wiser and older I know that when you don’t really like something, that you find it frustrating, it’s more related to operator error then anything. I was correct. I found out in class that when using acrylics it’s important to use drying extenders, that adding gloss into your paint makes colors pop and there are so many tools to paint with other then just a brush.
Fast forward a few months, we had already embarked on our RV adventures and I was visiting my parents in PA in the fall of 2018. We ended up staying there much longer due to some RV repair issues that came up so I set up a mini art studio in my parents sun porch. I loved all the windows, the light durning the day was amazing!
I had been painting a lot of florals using my pallet knifes, but the cold winter had me missing the ocean, sand and sun. So I switched gears and started painting ocean inspired works using my pallet knifes and rubber spatula.
While in PA, the thought I should try to paint A Starry Night in acrylics. There were a few obstacles I needed to address. I had to try new things, figure out how to separate the sky from the water since using a pallet knife or rubber spatula makes the paint thick with lots of layers. I ended up taping off the area I was painting. This allowed me to have great texture in the sky and wave but also allowed the wave to be in front of the sky, so you truly got a 3D effect on a flat surface. The lines are painted on last using an oil based paint pen.
Today Kai was up st 6:30 waxing his Wave Bandit board . Think he is a bit obsessed? 🤣🤣
Keanu board arrive at 7:15 am! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
After I did some work we hit the beach at Waikiki
They practice standing up on their boards in the shallow water
After a quick lunch courtesy of ABC store
They proceeded to BEG me for them to paddle out to the break.
I’m not ready for this
I message my husband
He pretty much tells me to cut the cord
I let them go
Then stand on the shore for 90 mins working on my tan … aka being a nervous wreak
I’m texting Mark the play by play
They actually make it out, which I didn’t think would happen
They both catch some waves!
They finally come back in
They are STOKED!!
“MOM That was so fun! It was a hell of a ride!” They said 😳🤣🤣
Latter they told me they were the life of the line up, all the locals loved them because they were brothers surfing and looking out for each other. I have to say the only reason I let them go was because I knew the locals wold look out for them because that’s how ALOHA works.
Of all the photos I took this one keeps me cracking up!
Keanu side eye is hilarious!
I asked him latter why he looked like that
He said “ Those dang people cut the line to take photos!”
I saw them but they were off to the side and not in my way…
We walked down the beach and I rented them a Lilly pad by the Hake Koa and of course I had to hit up the Bare Foot Bar for a Mai Tai, I mean I had to feed them dinner! 🤣
Seriously most days the boys drive me nuts, especially when we are not active but hearing them rattle on after dinner about surfing is literally the best thing ever!
A sunset beach walk and a quick swim for the boys who couldn’t resist a dance party on the rock they swam to.
I know they don’t realize it now but I hope once they are older they truly appreciate the experiences me & my husband have been able to provide them through our travels. That they truly see what a beautiful world God has created from the amazing sunsets in Hawaii to the breathtaking views in Zion, the gorgeous rolling hill, trees and farmlands that constantly change throughout the US and the monochromatic views of the deserts.
Each area we have visited has its own beauty, with unique experiences. I hope they can draw on those moments as they get older & it will bless them with a greater success in life.
With the boys being older they love that they get to go out in the water together and play in the waves. I love not being a nervous wreak that having a toddler at the beach brings you!
The ocean is a powerful beast but the boys are strong swimmers, we talk about the current and what to do if your caught in a rip tide. We look at the waves and talk about where the good spot to swim is. I point out land marks on shore they need to stay between. They wave at me every so often to let me know they are good. I wave back because my eyes are glued to them but I’m not a nervous wreak because I have giving them the skills needed to enjoy the ocean.
The boys were begging me for a Wave Bandit board after seeing a few people using them at the beach the other day.
They looked fun & fast!
The boys decided they would use their money on the boards but the only ones on sale we could find came in pink & teal. Kai response was “Mom real men wear pink! Plus those are your favorite colors so I’ll think of you when I’m riding some waves!” Seriously I love this kid! 💗 They are anxiously awaiting the arrival in the mail!
Part of me is sad they don’t remember some of the fun things they liked doing when they were younger and we lived on Oahu, but it’s also pretty cool to see their excitement when they find out they actually get to drink out of a real coconut and it was one of their favorite things to get when we went to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet!
Another cool and refreshing treat is Hawaiian Shave Ice!
Too busy to Shaka 🤣🤣 When I was a kid growing up in Massachusetts , shave ice was called a snow cone. The roller rink was the only place that sold it and it didn’t come with amazing toppings! My favorite toppings are vanilla ice cream, condensed milk, adzuki beans & boba. Hawaii’s Shaved Ice game is on point! 👊🏼
What’s your favorite Hawaiian Shaved Ice toppings?
Yesterday I booked the boys & I a last minute Snorkeling Cruise with Diamond Head Cruises of Hawaii.
I had sent Diamond Head Cruises an email over the weekend, after we arrived into Hawaii. I wanted to see if the boys were old enough to do a snorkeling cruise with them and when would be a best time to book. They were running a special on their cruises so I defiantly wanted to take advantage of their great sale!
We had just gotten to my favorite lunch spot, Nico’s on Pier 38., when Jerry called me. They had a last minute cancelation and he wanted to see if we were interested. I loved that they called me back vs just responding by email. He let me know it was a small group going out and their was another child in the other party so it would be a perfect fit for us. We quickly finished our lunch and ran back to the house for our suits, sunscreen and towels!
We arrived at the pier and were welcomed aboard the Maori Warrior II by Our Boat Capt Lance & Snorkeling Guide Augustina. After a brief safety briefing and information on where we were going we headed out.
It was beautiful and sunny when we left but that cloud was chasing us! You defiantly can NOT bet the views of Waikiki and Diamond Head on the way out to the reef! The boys were so excited that they could see the bottom of the ocean and were impressed how deep it was! (at least 30ft)
They loved the big lounging sofa, and ate a ton of pineapple that Augustina had set out for us to snack on.
Keanu switched seats to get a sneak peak ahead to see where we were driving to. He liked getting splashed every so often too!
Once we got to the spot and anchored we got ready to get in the water. I could tell the current was strong and the wind had picked up as that cloud had finally started to pass over us. Living in Hawaii for over 10 years I got used to reading the wind and waves pretty good. Augustina had told us all the current was very strong and what areas we needed to stay in.
My boys a pretty strong swimmers but ocean swimming is a whole different ball game when it comes to current. I was planning on letting them jump in and taking some photos as they swam but I decided I needed to be in the water with them incase it was too much for them. Safety first! Needless to say there are no photos of them in snorkel gear, but they sure were cute!
Of course they were the first ones in the water! They were just too excited! The boys were doing great, especially Kai but Keanu is a bit smaller and was having trouble with his snorkel at first. I then noticed he was trying to dive down under the water! So a quick explanation of floating on top and just looking in the water and telling him to hold the snorkel up a bit helped since the waves were getting a bit bigger and splashing in his snorkel.
“SHARK! SHARK! MOM I SEEEE A SHARK!”
I started laughing as all the people in the water from the other boats gasped! Hawaii has lots of small sand and reef sharks around, which are harmless, but when you yell SHARK people only think of JAWS! I told Kai not to yell next time, and he laughed! Although he popped out of the water about 15mins latter yelling “Mom I see a SNAKE!” Laughing I told him it was an eel. Latter he asked if I was sure it was an eel “because there ARE water snakes” he said. This became the perfect time for a science discussion! He had only seen a big green eel at the aquarium so this one was smaller and more brown making him think it was a snake. I love these real life experiences they get to have, learning about nature that is right in front of you is so much different then studying it in a book!
The current got a bit stronger and I was so grateful for Augustina, she had eyes on the kid that wasn’t with me and really helped them enjoy their time in the water helping them find turtles!
I wish I got better photos but with the current I didn’t let the little guy in the water by himself!
Once we were all done we enjoyed chatting about all the cool stuff we saw in the water and eating some sandwiches and drinks they provided.
Diamond Head Cruises has a few different types of cruises, they boys think we need to go on the Friday Night Fireworks cruise next!
The Military has an amazing opportunity to fly for Free on select missions around the world when extra seats are available. This is called flying Space-A.
There are many rules to using this privilege, it’s not a guaranteed seat, flights get canceled at the last minute or you can easily get bumped. But if you have time and are completely flexible in your travels it can be a great way to explore!
The best way to find out how to fly Space A is to use this great website. It explains the different categories or how they prioritize passengers, how to get signed up to fly and info on destinations and how to look for flights.
I have flown a few times Space A when we lived in Hawaii. It was a great way to leave the island when my husband was deployed and be able to go see the grandparents!
I decided last minute to try a get a flight out to Hawaii to visit my best friend from college who still lives out there. A flight had popped up leaving San Diego 7am the next day. I quickly contacted a friend to see if she knew someone who could take Kona. Thankfully she had the perfect person and by 5pm I was dropping him off with Mr. P at his vet tech school. Kona was going to be able to attend class too! How amazing is that?!
The students were practicing wrapping bandages. Kona is so chill I think he was the perfect dog to help out!
Now my next obstacle was what to do with the RV! Since I have it listed for sale I decided to put it on the base used car lot. I went down and they had space available, I filled out the paperwork and paid my fee. Latter that night, after traffic died down and I finally got all packed and took a shower I drove the RV over to the lot to park it.
The next morning we arrived at the terminal very early to mark ourselves present for the flight. Once roll call came we had been accepted for the flight and had our bags weighted. We were excited & ready! Unfortunately right before we were going to be called to board the plane, the flight was canceled! We were so bummed but that’s how Space A works, you have got to be flexible!
We were told there were not going to be any more flights to Hawaii through the end of the month. So I decided to check for last minute commercial flight deals, but the cheapest flights were over $2k! yikes! That is not in the travel budget! I then looked at the next closet terminal to fly out of, which was Travis AFB and an 8 hr drive north.
They had quite a few flights with many seats going out the next 4 days so I figured that was my best option! And if we didn’t get a flight out sight seeing San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park are all on my list of places to visit.
Since we had all of our luggage in the car we just hopped right on the highway and drove north! We arrive at Travis shortly after dinner and was able to get the LAST room available at the base lodging. It was a huge 2 bedroom apartment too. After living in an RV for a year that felt like a palace!
Unfortunately the fight that was scheduled for the next morning was canceled so we took the opportunity to drive into San Francisco to do some sight seeing!
I was able to check off 2 bucket list items too!
✅Drive over Golden Gate Bridge, it was way smaller then I expected!
✅Drive down Lombard St, aka the windiest road. It was so steep! Actually all the streets in San Fran were very steep and I was not expecting that!
We explored Fisherman’s Warf, had an amazing lunch & found a really cool antique coin operated game museum that you could actually play!
There was so much more we could of done or seen but with no plans and tired kids I called it a day!
Saturday 5/18 there was a Patriot Express Flight scheduled with 36 seats available. I figured that was our best shot at getting a flight. We arrived at the terminal very early because we had to check out of our hotel. After a quick trip to Walmart and the BX we decided just hanging out there was the best option. We marked ourselves present and waited for roll call. Once the list of people who had marked themselves present was posted I saw we were the only ones in Cat 4 and there were only 15 people in the higher categories so I knew were would get seats! Of course I didn’t let myself get too excited until we were taking off! lol!
These two guys had a long few days but man are they were troopers! 👊🏼
They were so excited to get on the plane. ✈️
Kai was telling people in the terminal he was going back to his “Homeland” 🤣
Keanu was a bit nervous & asked if we could hold hands on the plane ❤️
Once we got on the plane he was looking around asking 100 questions. 🤓
Then it hit me.🤦🏼♀️
This is only his 2 flight ever & he was a baby the first time we left Hawaii, so he obviously doesn’t remember that plane ride.
Fun fact: Keanu has only flown on military space A flights!
He was praying as we took off & got really scared when the fasten seatbelt sign came on during dinner and we got a bit of turbulence. I explained it was completely normal, kind of like going down a road with too many potholes and needing to keep seatbelts on so you stay safe. Kai was so sweet and grabbed his hand and told him it was ok.
He was very interested in what the buttons were, how the tray table worked and how the oxygen mask came down.
The bathroom was another cool thing to checkout too! Like 20 times durning our flight. I was glad we were right next to the bathrooms!
Our meal included an old school hostess cupcake… they were not fans. 🤣 Its amazing that as a kid those were one of the best things ever! But I even took a bite and it was gross! 🤢 How did we eat that crap?! 🤦🏼♀️
As we were about to land Keanu exclaimed “I see a volcano!” Really loud. There was a bit of laughter from the other passengers. I explained there was no active volcano on Oahu 🌋
We arrive in Hawaii after 9pm, collect our bags and went out to get the base bus that runs to the Navy Exchange so my best friend could pick us up. Unfortunately that bus was not running anymore since the store was closed! I swear when I called and asked about the bus they told me last bus leaves at 10:15pm. I was bout to order a Uber when another couple offered us a ride. I was very grateful since the Uber was a 45 minute wait and $30 to go 2 miles! yikes!
Here to a start of an amazing adventure!
The next morning after breakfast with my best friend and her room mate we headed down to Hickam Beach which is located on Hickam AFB. When the boys saw the colors of the water they were so excited!