Artist on a Mission – Guided by the Light


The Ocean Voyaging Canoe, The Iosepa

We are all travelers here. We are on a voyage. We may plan and prepare but sometimes much like when we create a painting, we end up somewhere we didn’t expect.


The Star Compass

On a  Voyaging Canoe, in the middle of the night ocean, the travelers can be guided by the rising and the setting of the stars. The night sky is memorized like the tying of the knots in the rope. They know where the moon is even when it is hidden by the earth.




We can be guided on our journey here. We can listen to the quiet whispering of the good voices in our lives. We can learn from those that have gone before. We can put all we learn in our tool box so we can share them with others to help them find their way.


Ukelele player at the Tahiti Devotional

Yiu can see the Iosepa at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The link is below.


Polynesian Cultural Center


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Artist on a Mission – Anticipation



Pencil Sketch Direct on the watercolor Paper. Proposed  title: “Called to Serve”

So here is the pencil sketch sitting on the watercolor paper. It’s waiting for the first splash of color. It’s just sitting there waiting for what is to come next. What will the end product be? It takes some courage to put that first bit of paint on the paper. It takes some courage to dive into a new year of school, start a new job, try to change an old habit.

There is anticipation in the air here on campus. People are gearing up in their heads for new adventures, new classes, new homework. It takes courage and hard work but that’s where the growth comes from. You have to go ahead and put the paint on the paper or it will never be a painting.


“Fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”

Thomas S. Monson Ensign May 2009


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints 

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Artist on a Mission – Gratitude


Pencil sketch in sketchbook.

Thank thee for the lady I met this morning who was running in place very very fast but paused to share the sunrise over the ocean with me. Thank thee for the way the morning sun illuminates the high ocean clouds and the light won’t be hid from peaking, streaming, bursting from behind the cover.

Thank thee for a back pack to carry my books and sketchbook and that tiny pill box full of paints that I can pull out in a pinch and paint any where.

Thank thee for the students who stop by to chat and tell me stories of coming back to their Hale and having their roommate offer to share their chicken soup with them.

The soup sharer asks them, “Is it is good soup?”

‘Yes it is good soup.”

The soup sharer says, “Do you like it?”

”Yes I like it.”

They eat the soup. Then the soup eater gets up and looks in the fridge and their chicken that has been stored in the fridge is gone, gone to make chicken soup.

Thank thee for the 82-year-old single sister missionary who tells me about someone who is just a young man that has just passed away in her home ward. I ask her how old was he? She tells me he was 65. Then she tells me she hiked half way up Chinaman’s Hat. Thank thee that she made it back down safely.

Thank thee for the custodians that pass by the table every day and say, “Good afternoon, Sister. How are you today?” Thank thee Lord for all these blessings.


The Huki Show (Dancing on a Canoe)

Oh, and thank thee Lord for the amazing dancing over here.


“…..take upon you the ​​​name​ of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and ​​​worship​ God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in ​​​thanksgiving​ daily, for the many ​​​mercies​ and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”

-Alma 34:38

Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints




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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.

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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




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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


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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.


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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.

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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

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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

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