|The reference photo for "Lighthouse on the Cliff," taken during the second visit|
|The second visit to Kilauea Lighthouse; Can you see the rainbow?|
When I am at my home base, I choose a plein-air painting location from my previous experiences. There are several favorite places, to which I keep going back for better or worse. No big surprises. I know exactly what scenery will greet me when I get there. However, I have never been to Kauai, so I didn't know what to expect. There has been hardly any snow in this exceptionally warm winter. Kauai was about 20, not 50, degrees warmer than northern Virginia, so the thrill in landing suddenly at a tropical island was somewhat diminished, temperature-wise. Still, the island was breathtakingly beautiful in any angle, altitude, and weather.
The first time when I saw Kilauea Lighthouse on North Shore, I wished I could paint the awe-inspiring sight then and there. But it was raining heavily (do you know that Kauai is one of the wettest places in the world?), which forced us to wait in the car for half an hour until the rain let up a little for picture taking. Later that day, we stopped by at the lighthouse for the second time. The rain had stopped and a rainbow was draped over in the sky! The lighthouse itself glowed as if it was spotlit magically. It was getting late, however. I vowed to return to paint it another day.
On the third and final visit to the lighthouse and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on a windy, but sunny day, we saw red-footed boobies, Laysan Albatross and other birds, which nested at the Refuge cliffs. My heart swelled with an unusual, I-am-lord-of-the-world, kind of emotion, as I was standing high at the lookout, looking down at the soaring birds!
|"Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai" (opaque watercolor, 15" x 11")|
|Sketching the lighthouse|
I found a relatively sheltered spot at the lookout and painted "Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai" in opaque watercolor, clutching the paper in fear of losing it to the Pacific Ocean. The lighthouse was painted in last over the blues of the ocean. You can do that in opaque watercolor! Of course, I wasn't "done" with this place. "Lighthouse on the Cliff" was painted in the controlled environment of my studio, away from the ocean breeze, crashing waves, and swooshing birds. One can't have everything, can she?