Artist on a Mission-Light


Watercolor sketch of 27th World Championship Fireknife

Without light there is darkness. Light in a painting creates value. Without light there would be no shadow side of an object. When light is blocked, we get cast shadows which create depth and interest in a painting. When you put the lightest light by the darkest dark, you draw attention to that spot. By manipulating values, you can guide the eye around your painting.

We went to the World Fireknife Competition. We watched the Womens’s Competition and the Men’s Preliminaries. How would I capture the energy of the drums and the fire spinning in the darkness. A painting becomes much more than what you see with your eyes. The experience of being at the competition adds a depth to your painting. You remember the beat of the drums and the smell of the fire, the flame spitting on the floor and streaking across in a line of fire. You wonder about the properties of fire as you see the contestants put the flaming Fireknife on their feet and to their lips.

‘I tried to capture the flickering of the flame by letting my brush dance across the watercolor paper. I loved capturing the form of the dancer by the light cast on his torso and the back edge getting lost in the darkness.


Clouds over the ocean in Hawaii.

As artists, we try to capture what we feel and see around us. There was a quote by President Henry B. Eyring which was displayed with his watercolors at BYU Idaho: “My motivation in all of my varied creative work seems to have been a feeling of love. I felt the love of a Creator who expects His children to become like Him—to create and to build.”


A sketch from 2 1/2” x 4 1/4” sketch book. “Where Are You Headed?”

”…..but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,…” Isaiah 60:19 So as plants turn to catch the light, we should turn our lives towards the Savior Jesus Christ and towards more kindness, service and watching out for one another.  Mahalo.


#Jesus Christ. #BYU-Hawaii #watercolor #light #sketching #World Championship Fireknife

Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Artist on a Mission – Capturing the Moment


“The Hiker” 9”x12” watercolor on paper

Its easy to find things to paint, they are all around us. Most of the time I have many more ideas than time. Sometimes a painting will appear right before you. You raise the camera and-click-you’ve captured the moment. But a painting can capture more than a photo can.

I saw this senior missionary ready for a hike with the light hitting just right on his lifeguard hat. I took the picture. The beauty of shadows can get lost in photographs and rediscovered in watercolor. There was a nice glow on the face caused by the reflected light from the pavement. The painting isn’t a copy of the photograph but a new creation.


Captured in the sketchbook

Sometimes a sketch will capture more than the camera can. But you have to be quick with your pen. There can be no hesitation. This lady was captured in a waiting room. You can capture a fine sketch with just a few lines. Sometimes it’s like magic coming from the end of the pen.

Ecclesiates 3:11  He hath made everything beautiful in his time.

Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Artist on a Mission – Anchor to My Soul


“Joseph F.” 15”x22” watercolor

At home I have one person who cuts my hair. She knows how to cut my hair without me saying anything. “You just need it cleaned up a bit?”

“Yes.” I say.

I come out of her shop and my hair is the same every time.

When I stepped off the plane here, my straight thin desert hair met the humidity of Hawaii and curled like the end of the ocean waves. When I wash my hair, I blow it dry and it is desert straight. Then I walk out the door. POOOF! Hair hits muggy and I get instant curl. It was time to get a haircut. I walked into a random shop and said, “Take off about one inch, please. I don’t want it too short.” A short, dark haired  kapuna pulled out her scissors. It was a great haircut but much shorter than when I went in. She said, “Look. You can fluff it with your fingers.” I’ve lost myself in the work and my hair may never be the same.


Lost in the Work

The above watercolor of Joseph F. Smith is portraying him as a young 15-year-old missionary standing on the Honolulu dock. He left the dry desert air of Utah for the humid air of Hawaii. This watercolor  was painted after a visit to Hanauma Bay and was influenced greatly by the color of the ocean there. There is a benefit to visiting a place when you want to do a painting. Although I can’t visit the Honolulu port in 1852, I can see the amazing color of the ocean today and include it in my painting.


Ezra Taft Benson’s Book of Mormon.

So we have many opportunities here on this mission and they are not all involved in education at the college. Ezra Taft Benson was the 13th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a beloved prophet. He loved the Book of Mormon. His emphasis was on the blessings that reading the Book Of Mormon brings into our lives. It testifies of hope, and faith in Jesus Christ and how that hope becomes an anchor to our soul. We were able to hold President Benson’s Book of Mormon that he studied and read from and that anchored his soul. The sailing ship in the top picture had an anchor that kept it safely secured. Faith in our life keeps us securely attached to the goodness and example of Christ.

Ether 12:4

Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

Church of Jesus




Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Artist on a Mission – Hawaiian Treasures


“Hawaiian Treasures” 9”x12” oil on board

So we are a collector family which makes it quite nice if you want to paint a still life. Oooooooooh look, a round rock.  Ooooooh look a little metal cream and sugar set. Oooooh look an old photograph. Oooooooh look a dead crab. If you are picking up a dead crab from off the beach, then you have a deadline. You have to paint quickly so as to not stink up your whole apartment. But it is great fun to try and capture the beauty in simple objects.

But here on Hawaii there is a beauty that can’t be picked up, put in your pocket and brought home. At the great suggestion of my brother-in-law, we went out one morning to capture the sunrise coming out of the ocean and the sunset going into the ocean on the same day.


Sunrise over Laie Point

Sometimes the view was not in front of you but behind you where the effects of the sun were being seen long before it peeked out of the ocean.



Sometimes the view was in front of you.


The view of sunset from Sunset Beach

So like bookends we ended the day sitting at Sunset Beach. James Gurney had a great blog post on July 30th, 2019 about whether there was a difference in colors when looking at sunrise and sunset.  Visually it was the same beautiful colors. Emotionally there was a difference. One, you had the whole day in front of you with the adventure and promise it would bring. At sunset it was a quiet feeling, a feeling of ending, the close of day, a contemplation on what the day had brought.


Sunset at Sunset Beach

So if you zoom in on the painting above you can see a treasure I found on the crab. A natural God-made smiley face that I might never have seen if I hadn’t picked it up gingerly by one claw and carried it all the way back home. Does anyone know the name of this crab?

Genesis 3:  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

If you want to check out James Gurney’s blog post on sunset and sunrise, the link is below. If I were more tech savvy it would have linked to the exact post but scroll down and you’ll find it.

James Gurney’s Blog Gurney Journey on Sunrise and Sunset


Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Artist on a Mission – Captivated


“House of Light” half sheet 300 lb. hot press

Years ago the Temple was being built up on the hill on Bountiful Boulevard. I was training for a marathon and doing long runs with my friend. One evening we ran along Bountiful boulevard. The sun set and the evening turned  dark. Suddenly off in the distance the lights came on at the Bountiful Temple for the very first time. There up ahead of us getting closer and closer was the light. We could hear the beat of our feet on the road but couldn’t see much in the dim light around us but up ahead of us we could see the temple. 

As we ran up to the temple, people had come from all over to be there. They were driving by in cars and milling around the sidewalk. People had been drawn to the light and had come to see and be near it. 

As an artist I’m drawn to paint certain things. I’m captivated by the pattern of shadows or colors or just a feeling of a place.  Ideas pop into my head and I have to get them down on paper. The other night at the Temple grounds in Laie was such a night. There was a concert at the visitor center and after, people went outside on the grounds and just hung around. The sun was setting and shining on clouds that could have been painted by N. C. Wyeth. It was a night to just be still and look at the beauty around us. So I had to try and capture the feeling of that evening.


The beginning sketch of the next painting.

It is also freeing to start a sketch right on the watercolor painting. There is a freshness that comes from seeing the idea in your mind and then just going for it on the paper. You do have to have some good experience in sketching. You don’t want to erase too much on your watercolor paper because you will lose your surface. I took a workshop from Charles Reid. He said you don’t want to paint until you know what your next paint strokes will be. So before I ever put paint on the above painting, I’ll figure out what I need to do and in what order.


Tiny sketch book

Matthew 5:16

Let your ​​​light​ so shine before men, that they may see your good ​​​works​, and ​​​glorify​ your Father which is in heaven.


Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Artist on a Mission – Books from a Friend


”Kahuku Land Farms” 9”x12” oil on board by Sherry Meidell

I Love Diane Turners Oil Paintings. I have a couple of her originals hanging in my home. She calls the mountains above our home “her mountains”. These are mountains that have caught my eye everyday of my life since I was four years old.  So I give her a hard time and say these are not your mountains, they are my mountains.  She has earned the right to call them her mountains because of the beautiful way she renders them. She can capture the shifting light on those mountains at all times of the day.

When Diane heard that I was heading to Hawaii on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that I would need to brush up on my oil painting skills, she offered to send three of her favorite books with me. So “Fill Your Oil Paintings With Light and Color” by Kevin D. MacPherson, “Oils” by Trevor Chamberlain, and “Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting” by John F. Carlson made their way over to Hawaii in a suitcase loaded with watercolors and watercolor paper and brushes. She said it was a way to at least send her books on a mission.

‘I think of her every time I open the pages and start reading…..”Edges: To create a sharp edge between areas of different colors,…..”. This quote is from the book by Trevor Chamberlain. The gifts we give to others can touch their lives. These books from Diane continue to touch my life. And the knowledge gained from these books will add to the lives of the students I teach.


Oil Painting Books from Diane Turner

The scripture for today is Ephesians 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.


Page from my tiny sketch book.

Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Artist on a Mission -The Power


“To Kahului” 9”X12” oil on board

Where does the power come from? The Power to create? Why do I have this driving urge to capture a scene with paint and brush. Why do I carry my sketch book around with me and with quick marks of a pen sketch the people around me?

On Oahu there are big power lines that bring power up to the North Shore. Sometimes the weight of the lines cause the poles to lean just like the constant wind from the ocean causes the trees to bend landward. My husband and I went to the Honolulu Museum of Art yesterday. We saw creations of art from all over the world and from all ages, statues of Buddha and masks made out of wood and horse hair from the Iroquois people. We saw paintings by Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Mary Cassatt. I was filled with the desire to paint. I just wanted to spend my time creating beauty. Or at least trying to capture that beauty.

People say artists are born with such a talent but I like to say artists are born with a great love of making marks on paper and canvas. When you love something that much you keep working at it and the more you work at it, the greater joy you get from the creation.

So where does the power come from? Probably from a deep love. When we voluntarily expend all our time and energy on something we tend to love it. When parents expend all of their energy on loving and training and caring for their children, they gain a deep love for those children. I guess that is why people tend to love their missions so much, because of the time and love and service they give to others. Between all the things we have to do in life, it is good to find some time to create.



A page from my sketch book

Romans 35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Tiny sketch book sketch.

Honolulu  Museum of Art  

#artist #creativity #art #oil painting #sketch book

Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artist on a Mission – When is a Painting Done?


Not finished yet.

When is my painting finished? That is a question that only you as the artist can answer. The above painting is not done but as I looked at it from a distance I love the white in the painting.  So to finish the painting I might lose some of the nice whiteness of the paper. Also as I work on the painting I can change where the focus is. Just a slight adjustment can change the feel of the painting and where the viewer is going to look.

‘I’ve always said you know the painting is done when it starts to sing. Everything has come together on the painting, the value, the color and the design. I keep working on a painting until I can see nothing else on the painting that has to be done. Sometimes fear keeps us from finishing a painting. We are worried that one more mark will ruin the watercolor forever. And sometimes it does, but it is worth the chance to create exactly what you want. Maybe a glaze over part of the painting directs the eye to the figure. Maybe you have to lift off a bit of color or create a darker mark somewhere. You have to move forward with some faith.

I love the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7 that says:  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” So we move forward on the painting much like we move forward in life, hoping that the end product will be better than where we are right now. We have the power of the education we have acquired and the years of practice and effort from the previous paintings we’ve done and we move forward with confidence because your confidence shows up in every stroke you put on your paper. If you don’t have the years of experience, then you go off of the love of the process and the desire to improve. It becomes a life long pursuit.


Tiny sketch

#whenisyourpaintingfinished #watercolor #artist

Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Artist on a Mission – The Students Instructing the Teacher


‘You can learn a lot from those that you try to teach. You can learn of courage to leave family and fly to a place so different from your home. Perseverance to keep learning a new language when your lips won’t  wrap around the unfamiliar consonants.


Determination to give a presentation when the subject brings you memories that cause tears to flow from your eyes and words to bunch up in your throat. Endurance to keep trying when every other word has to be looked up in a dictionary.


You enjoy the book “Holes” all over again while you hear it read with a Mongolian accent. You remember the feeling of finding joy in the adventure of working and striving and sweating to gain an education. You see what the expressions of gratefulness and appreciation do for others. And you see what the end results are of hard work and practicing. The teacher also ends up with an education.


Students on a lei

”….. and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings he doth bestow upon you.”         Alma 34:38

Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Artist on a Mission – Iosepa



Its nice to learn a bit of the history of a place, to hear of the people who have walked where you are walking today.  Joseph F. Smith came to Hawaii on his first mission as a young 15 year old who had lost both his father and mother. A stranger in a strange  land who did not speak the language and didn’t know anyone. I wanted to capture in this painting, the love that he had for this land and the people.

‘He got deathly sick and was carefully nursed back to health by his “Hawaii Mother”. There is a statue honoring the love and care this woman gave. The tie of love is strong. Elder Oakes came over with his wife to speak at the BYU-Hawaii Devotional. Sister Oakes is a great granddaughter of Joseph F. Smith. When she got up to speak she was wearing a gift from the descendants of Ma Mahuhi’i. We form great bonds of love when we care for others. Bonds of love that can go down and have an effect for generations.


Ma Manuhi’i This statue is in memory of her kindness.


Snippet from my sketch book.

Matthew 25: 40 ….”Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”



Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artist on a Mission – Chance Encounters


Graduation Day

We had to get our car checked in Kaneohe which meant we had about two and a half hours waiting time with nowhere to go. The lady at the car repair place was kind enough to give us a ride to the mall. It was early so all the stores were closed but the mall was a hopping place.

In one corner were seniors exercising and stretching. Upstairs was like a race track with people walking counter clockwise. You had to pick up your step and merge into the traffic to get to the other side of the mall hall. And to top everything else, we came across a preschool graduation. We watched the kids sing and perform but a lot of the energy came from the parents and grandparents. The kids were entirely wrapped up in the energy and love of those who were watching them. And after the program, they were wrapped up in leis.


Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same  is greatest in the kingdom of God.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house and and when thou liest down, and when thou riseth up.

Posted in Artist on a mission, Children's Book Illustration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment