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 – 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




        Bundle of blankets and soft sweet-smelling cheeks.

Cheeks that I will never meet on this your day of birth.

So far away from your grasp around my fingers,

No chance to hold you tightly in my arms and

Gently rock you

               back and forth 

                          and back and forth.

     No newborn cry to greet my grandma ears.

Miles and

         miles of ocean waves

And blue, blue sky separate me from whispering in your tiny ear,

“I love you baby boy, welcome to this wonderful world.”

                                                       -By Sherry Meidell 


A page from my tiny sketch book


Mosiah 3:19

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.


Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Artist on a Mission – Footprints in the Sand


Plein Air Painting at Bikini Beach

When you walk along the beach close enough to the water to get your toes wet, any impression you make is washed away by the power of the waves.


Footprints in the sand

Footprints in the sand can be covered by a shifting in the wind. What influence can we have if our footsteps are washed away by the waves or blown away by the shifting sand?


Albatross Chick


Monk Seal


Waves at Ka’ena Point

We hiked down Ka’ena Point on Saturday. We saw Albatross chicks and a Monk Seal. We hiked with a brand new sister missionary from New Zealand. Her kindness and spirit touched our hearts in a way that cannot be washed away by the waves and the sand.


Momma Pig with Little Pig.

I guess at the end of the day it is the people we love and influence for good that we have a lasting influence on. “I have been changed for good” by many people in my life. Perhaps a little help with some English words and a little information about art will influence other people for good and change their lives.

“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people will be my people and thy God my God:”     Ruth 2:16, 17




Posted in Artist on a mission, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Artist on a Mission-“People”

Person Number One: My husband and I were checking out a lighthouse in San Pedro, California while we were delivering our car to Long Beach and going to see the National Watercolor Show. “Not one bit. It hasn’t changed one bit.” We looked behind us and there was a man following us, walking on the grass and talking to us. He came up and started telling us that he had been there 40 or 50 years ago. He had a Navy Veteran hat on.

Be careful who you talk to in parks because this guy ended up in my painting. The sun was gleaming off his white beard and I asked him if I could take a picture of him and paint him in watercolor. His wife and daughter came up and also started chatting with us. So we took their phone number and I sent them a copy after the painting was done.


Step 1: Watercolor by Sherry Meidell

This Painting was a combination of of two of the pictures I took. I like to combine people with places. I loved this old light house but it became the perfect backdrop for  this gentleman’s portrait. I did thumbnails of what I wanted the finished painting to look like and then sketched directly on the watercolor paper. I wanted to tie the painting together with a wash that would start with the sky and move right into his beard. I put thin strips of masking tape to save some of the white hairs of his beard. I had to be very careful when I took them off so as not to pull up the surface of the paper.


Step 2: Adding orange on the roof and skin tones

Even though the shadow side of the building was white, it had to be darker than the dark blue hat in the sun. The orange of the roof tied into the burnt sienna in the shadow part of the face.


Step 3: Adding some warmth to the beard

The sun was so intense on the beard so I wanted to add some warmth by adding some yellow. I wish I would have left the letters on his hat white and just glazed over them with a light yellow. I lost some of the intensity.




Finished Watercolor “Not One Bit” on 300 lb. Canson Watercolor paper.

So paintings are done one step at a time. I took a watercolor workshop from Charles Reid and he said if you don’t know what to paint next on your painting, don’t paint. Wait until you know where you’re going with it. I will look at my painting long enough and then it will pop into my head what I’m supposed to paint next. And there is always something else I have to fix after I think I’m done.

Person Number Two: I walked into a building on campus to see if I could find one of the secretaries I had been emailing here at BYU-Hawaii. I went up to the girl that was sitting in the lobby and asked if she could direct me to where the secretary  was. The girl asked if I was an artist and I said yes. She then asked if I was a watercolor artist. I wasn’t sure how she knew to ask me that since we were pretty new to the campus and Hawaii. Then she asked if I had been to Nauvoo. I had met this young woman when she was a missionary in Nauvoo. Me and Becky Hartvigsen had been back there for a show at the Havenlight Gallery in downtown Nauvoo. The sister missionary had watched me sketch while we were waiting to go on a tour of the John Taylor Historic home. What were the odds that we would meet up here so far from Nauvoo. It let me know that the Lord was aware of me here in this beautiful place. And maybe as an artist I could somehow influence people for good.

Person Number Three:  We were taken for a tour around campus by a lovely, kind lady. She told us how to say the Hawaiian vowels. She stopped along the tour to pick flowers for me and tell me the names. She welcomed us with great kindness. I wrote her an email to thank her for the amazing tour. She lifted me up again by her kind email. “Yes, Hawaii has its unique beauty like all the many other creations of the Lord across the earth. You and your husband add to that beauty with your goodness and willingness to serve here. You also have the wonderful talent to capture the beauty as seen from your eyes and share it with others. Mahalo and Aloha Friday.” On the tour we had checked the Family Tree website and I never would have guessed. She is my Polynesian cousin.

‘The scripture for this week is Matthew 7:12 “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

#artistonamission #artist #watercolor #San Pedro

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments