My Happy Valentine

Kehena Beach

When I think about all the places I’ve lived in my one and only life I must say I feel very fortunate to have landed here in Hawaii 12 years ago. I live in a very primal and remote part of the Big Island, near a volcano that is still forming new land. Hiking to the lava flow and seeing it going into the ocean at the break of dawn is a spectacular sight to behold. I also live within walking distance to this tiny black sand beach which is growing ever smaller. That is the nature of black sand beaches, as in most things in life, nothing is forever.

For my latest project, being so close to Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a good time to do a card.

Again I looked to the ocean for my inspiration. This time it came in the form of the Hawaiian State Fish. The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a or Humuhumu for short. It’s a type of trigger fish with a raccoonish kind of black mask. I swam close to the fish to study it’s markings.

I start with a piece of watercolor paper. I thought I’d do a drawing using Niji Pearlescent WatercolorsYasutomo Sumi Ink, and Niji Chinese Watercolors or any acrylic or watercolor with a bright red paint.

I quickly drew the basic shape of the fish. Not the accurate, but very loose, using the Sumi Ink and a simple pointed brush.

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Then just kind of finish it off adding the eyes, striping, and little fins (it’s “wings”).

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I also added the bubbles that become a heart and the message below. I love seeing the name of the fish. It’s so long and musical. I guess that’s why someone put it in a song (‘My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawai`i). I painted the heart with the Niji Chinese Watercolors because they have a very bright red. I wanted to paint the rest with the Niji Pearlescent Watercolors but I knew from experimenting that the red wasn’t the brightness I wanted. Though to make the heart have the pearlescent shimmer, I went over it with the pearlescent red over it, once it dried.

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Here’s a close up of the drawing to show you the shimmer of the pearlescent paint. And below is the finished card with a little coral added in the corners to complete the whole thing.

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Have a wonderful day!

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Underwater encounter

J-FinalDrawing

I have to admit this Thanksgiving week that I have a pretty incredible life. I live in paradise and I love what I do. I’m forever grateful for all the opportunities that come my way, including this one here where I can share a little bit of it.

I try to swim daily as part of my exercise routine. Saturdays I have life drawing in the morning and so I swam on my own in the afternoon. This is at our little beach near my home in Kehena, HI. I always wear a mask, snorkel and fins because the currents can be strong at times. This particular Saturday, which is yesterday as I write this blog, I saw the most beautiful eagle ray glide gently under me. At that moment I thought, I must share this for the blog. So here we are.

For this project you will need the following:

Yasutomo Sumi Ink

Pale Gold Sumi Watercolor

Gel Xtreme Pens, Gold and White

Paper, Pencil, an eraser, and a watercolor brush

A-quicksketch

I always start my project with a thumbnail sketch.

C-Drawing

Then I redraw the image to the size I want the finished drawing on the paper I have chosen. Here, one made of hemp, I liked the speckles on the paper and the nice creamy color.

D-BlackPaint

The main subject of my drawing is the eagle ray floating above stylized water. I paint the ray with the sumi ink.

F-goldpaint

Then it’s time to paint the water. I want it dramatic against the black so I go with the Pale Gold Sumi Watercolor. I take my time going around all the circles, kind of like my last project (the glazing technique one). When I finish, I take a Gel Xtreme gold pen and rule a line around the whole image. Then I erase all the pencil lines.

H-rayspots

This is a photo of the back of an actual eagle ray. To do this on my black ray I needed the help of Yasutomo’s GelXTreme  pastel pen in white. It was way easier than trying to paint all the circles and dots!

I-myspots

Here’s a closeup of my version.

Thanks for letting me share my awesome experience! And I am truly thankful to all those who have touched my life. You have no idea how much you mean to me.

-Tuko