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Visual records

Ephemeral : Booklets, Photos, Notes

Thinking & Exploring Life Through the Making of Art

Gallery Representation & Exhibits : Hawaii

Finding a Diverse School of Fish : The Island's Art Community

There is always a period of adaptation when moving to a new environment. I've done it enough to know. From Ohio to Florida: Miami, Sarasota, Port Charlotte. From Southern California: San Diego, Palm Springs & Los Angeles, north to Portland, Oregon and onward to Hawaii Island. Each has left indelible marks in my artwork, life and mind. Each migratory move has inspired me in new ways and pushed me in new directions.

Michael Arthur Jayme Gallery & Studio: Honokaa, Hawai'i

A School of Fish

Wailoa Center : Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii

Numerous Exhibits & Shows take place yearly at the Wailoa Center. The following are a few of the ones in which I was invited to participated as an exhibiting artist.

Visual experience is dynamic ... What a person or animal perceives is not only an arrangement of objects, of colors and shapes, of movements and sizes. It is, perhaps first of all, an interplay of directional tensions. These tensions are not something the observer adds, for reasons of his own, to static images. Rather, these tensions are as inherent in any percept as size, shape, location, or color. Because they have magnitude and direction, these tensions can be described as psychological forces.

Rudolf Arnheim : Art and Visual Perception

Paradise Studio Tour in Hawaiian Paradise Park

Artist Gallery Tour & Showcase on the Big Island of Hawaii

Aweoweo : The Hawaiian Bigeye

The Paradise Studio Tour showcases local artists and their studios within Hawaiian Paradise Park, located in Kea‘au on the Big Island of Hawai‘i.  The collective will celebrate in 2023, its 16th annual art studio tour.

Paradise Studio Tour seeks to support and encourage art and fellowship among artists in the community through exhibits such as the annual Studio Tour, as well as through sponsorship of group shows for members.  The organization encourages art education through donations to local schools for art supplies and by providing opportunities for mentoring, art shows and workshops.

Participating artists donate 10% of their sales from the weekend event to the local Puna District high school art departments for art supplies. To date, the artist collective has given over $23,000 to schools.

Gallery Walls & Windows Across the Islands

Hana Coast Gallery (left & far right) : One Gallery (center) in Hilo

4th Annual Banyan Drive Art Stroll

Reflections : The Story of a Bridge and a Painting

I was honored at the 4th Annual Banyan Drive Art Stroll, with a second-place award for my painting “Reflections.” The work depicts an Australian Ironwood tree which gracefully drapes over the ponds of the gardens and frames an old arched stone bridge.

K.T. Cannon-Eger of the Friends of the Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens presenting awards to recipient artists, Jelena Clay, Stephen Davies and myself, Craig Allen Lawver.

A new resident on the Big Island, I asked K.T. Cannon-Eger of the Friends of the Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens about the bridge I had chosen to paint. According to K.T, a man named Kushi built the bridge in 1939. His grandchildren still live in Hilo. Mr. Kushi’s family came from Hiroshima, a place known for stone mason skills.

The 4th Annual Banyan Drive Art Stroll presented me the opportunity to meet and exhibit my work with other artists inspired by the queen's gardens. Hawaii is blessed with an abundance of scenic beauty, rich cultural traditions and artists working in many styles and mediums.

Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens

Throughout the extensive garden, there is inspiration to be found

The Japanese have a long history in the Islands, but Japan initially barred emigration to Hawaii between 1869 and 1885 in fear that Japanese laborers would be degrading to the reputation of the Japanese race.

In 1881 King David Kalākaua visited Japan to deepen the relations between the two nations and offered not to request extraterritoriality of Japan, an act that departed from the norm of western nations. On March 10, Kalakaua met Meiji to propose a marriage between Princess Victoria Kaiulani and Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito. Kalākaua’s proposal was denied a few days later. The ban on immigration was lifted in 1885. The first 153 resultant Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii on February 8, 1885, as contract laborers for the sugarcane and pineapple plantations.

The Kushi Bridge has stood up to several tsunami including the big ones in 1946 and 1960.

Reflections : doing the work dot by dot ...

The history of a place or of an object, whether manufactured or of natural occurrence, captivates me. History adds meaning to the actual experience of painting and the creating of an artwork. Quiet introspection and meditative walking often bring to light something infinitely deep in the physical features of a landscape.

The relevance of a place or a depiction of a place can resonate deeply with an individual if there are long, deep cultural relationships associated with the landscape. Like so many visitors to the Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo, Hawai’i, it was the surrounding expanse of plants, fabricated architectural elements and Hilo Bay that drew me in. There is a sense of timelessness in this place and the land itself has somehow retained an essence uniquely Hawaiian.

Shaped by Japanese Edo-style design esthetics, the gardens were built in 1917-1919. It is one of the largest such gardens outside Japan. The gardens consist of Waihonau, bridges, ponds, pagodas, statues, torii, and a Japanese teahouse.

The word “Waihonua” in Hawaiian translates as "waters of the earth.” I understand it also signifies all things being in absolute balance. This power and energy can be palpable in the land and the gardens.

The gardens seem especially powerful and complex to me when the tides are high and the Waihonua ponds fill to the point of inundation and various paths and steppingstones become submerged. During these periods I am keenly aware of my small place in the wider manifestations of life, the power of the Earth and of the natural environment.

Mauna Kea : As seen from Coconut Island.

The five volcanoes of Hawaiʻi are revered as sacred mountains.

Located on the Waiakea Peninsula in Hilo Bay and dedicated to Queen Lili`uokalani, land was set aside and construction began in 1917. Lili’uokalani, the first queen regent and last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, ruled from 1891 until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 by the United States government.

Land reminds me of the body. Scars often run deep and can be hard to heal. Sometimes, wounds do not really heal at all, they just sort of scab over or remain raw. They remain visible in the landscape that surrounds us, in my life and the lives of many others.

In the park is a small island called Mokuola, also known as Coconut Island. The name Mokuola means "island of life" in the Hawaiian language, and it was the site of an ancient temple dedicated to healing.

Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library notes, "Occasional reference is made to Coconut Island (Mokuola) as the place of refuge in the Hilo district, hence its name, life island ... the area of this pu’uhonua included also a portion of the mainland adjoining. The heiau connected with it, named Makaoku was of the luakini class."

It could be that far too many of us have lost a sense of the sacred when we look at the landscape and its features. Reverence has often been replaced with a desire for conquest, exploitation substituting for service. Places like Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens remind and offer us a way to reconnect with the land in all its magic.

... it is no longer possible to conceive of any organism - humans included - as distinct from the microbial communites they share a body with. The biological identity of most organisms can't be pried apart from the life of their microbial symbionts. The word 'ecology' has its roots in the Greek word 'oikos' meaning 'house,' 'household,' or 'dwelling place.' Our bodies, like those of all other organisms, are dwelling places.

 Merlin Sheldrake

Supporting Galleries & Supporting the Arts

Hawaii has Numerous Gallerys & Gift Shops Showcasing the Regions Diverse Artisans

Festival of the Arts - Lake Oswego

The Artist Vision Exhibit

The Festival of the Arts - Lake Oswego is a juried exhibit and art festival that takes place in Oregon. I displayed two pointillist paintings in the Artist's Vision Exhibit while I was living in Portland. The trees and mountain scenery had drawn me to the Pacific Northwest. The environment inspired new directions in my work.

Hiking Mount Hood

One Step Closer to a Heaven and my Canvas

I was fascinated by Beargrass during a hike on Mount Hood. One particular trail that astounded me was the 13-mile Paradise Park Loop Trail. Wildflowers and breath-taking scenery lay in every direction on the strenuous uphill climb. Our legs were tired when we finished, but the effort was sublime. It was the first time I had seen Beargrass and I still can't imagine anything much more other-worldly. Experiences like this influence and manifest in my work as an artist.

Plants fascinated me when I was young and continue to do so. Living in an environment like Hawaii where the growing season goes from fast to faster brings a whole new respect. The impact of invasive species in the islands has been devastating to indigenous flora and fauna and impacted Hawaiian cultural traditions. As an artist, I am particularly interested in plant and insect relationships. How they coexists and depend on one another as well as their predatory practices. In observation, I find much to be learned and reflected upon. 

We understand a plant as a living organism held by primary forces - sun, water, soil - in an easy three-part relationship. But in the real world there are secondary, tertiary and quartenary relationships that make up a complex life that is always at the edge of chaos, at least that is the way it is always described. And in that definition of the ecology of relationships, life cannot be a two-dimensional mandala. It has to be extended into a shape that keeps changing, spinning, moving, stopping, moving backwards and bottelnecking in time because of many blocks. An idea floating through the continuum is constantly affected by changes in the political structure and economic structures, and it exists in a post-Newtonian space which is curving and moving around. These attitudes are all part of what it takes to have an idea exist in the world.

Mel Chin : "In Conversation with Fareed Armaly & Ute Meta Bauer" Nature: Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art

Getting Close to Nature for Inspiration

I am inspired by hiking trails such as the Mt. Hood, 13-mile Paradise Park Loop Trail in Oregon. Being fully present in each step, whether on a trail or at the easel, is an exercise in art & mindfulness.

Portland Open Studios Tour

Bringing People Closer to the Process

It was a cold and wet fall day in Portland, but the studio was open. We welcomed guests with a cup of hot homemade apple cider. You could smell it on the stove before you reached the door. I am grateful that so many art connoisseurs braved the blustery weather and stopped by for a visit. The support was incredible and inspires me still.

In support of the non-profit Portland Open Studios organization, I placed an ad in the catalogue published each year highlighting participating artists and their work. I was surprised and thrilled when I ended up on the cover.  

Powells Books - Burnside: Portland, Oregon

Basil Hallward Gallery Installation

I had just moved to the Portland area and started to work a part-time gig at the downtown Powells Bookstore location. I was enraptured by the size of the store and the selection of books available. I had no idea there was a gallery and display area upstairs in the Pearl Room. I was excited when I was asked to show my work after so soonly arriving in town. My husband Rodney was indispensible in putting the exhibit together and I couldn't have done it without him. The Powell's staff were incredible and supportive.

Myself & my husband Rodney working on the Installation