Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden inspires art exhibit
Whether it be the flowers in their own backyards or the magnificent Windward landscape, artists from around Oahu were inspired by what they saw to submit their work for display at the New Year Invitational Art Exhibit at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden.
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Whether it be the flowers in their own backyards or the magnificent Windward landscape, artists from around Oahu were inspired by what they saw to submit their work for display at the New Year Invitational Art Exhibit, now on display at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe.
Each year the show, themed “The Garden,” is dedicated to the staff of Ho‘omaluhia, a botanical garden of 400 lush tropical acres, operated by the City and County of Honolulu. With support from Olive Vanselow, the program coordinator, Ho‘omaluhia is a welcoming place for artists.
Linda Umstead, a Mililani resident well-respected for her watercolor botanical paintings, has been curator of the show since its inception. In 2015, she set out to invite some of the many wonderful artists who paint at the garden all year long. Encouraged enough by the response, she has made it an annual event.
“I find it more exciting every year to see what Oahu artists are painting in this beautiful place,” Umstead said. “These artists are intimately familiar with Ho‘omaluhia, and have, through their artwork, given vivid expression to their feelings about it.
“This exhibit has become a favorite show for some of Oahu’s top artists, and Ho’omaluhia’s Main Gallery has become a treasured place to exhibit their works.”
THE EXHIBIT has attracted new artists from the beginning. Two this year are Kealohilani (Sam) Ahai from Pearl City, who submitted “Secret Waterfall,” and Inshil Song from Hawaii Kai who entered an impressionistic watercolor, “Summer Heat.”
Repeat exhibitors include Esperance Rakatonirina, a Kaneohe resident who stops by Ho‘omaluhia several times a week, either to paint in solitude or enjoy park amenities with his family. He uses words like “awe” and “majesty” in his descriptions of the park and is greatly inspired by what he sees there.
Another veteran of past shows is Suzanne Barnes, a retired doctor who resides in Maunawili. Her entry this year is an oil painting, “Kawainui Marsh at Dusk.”
“What inspired me to paint it is standing at this location,” she said. “Viewing it with the sunset behind the Koolaus, across Kawainui Marsh, is particularly magical.”
Warren Stenberg, a Kailua resident who has exhibited in more than 30 shows at Ho‘omaluhia over the past 25 years, describes the park as “a natural Garden of Eden that still awes me with its beauty.” This year, rather than focusing on florals, he was attracted by the fauna of the garden – a family of mongoose.
Serving as juror for this exhibit is Susie Y. Anderson, a devoted plein air oil painter. She has been described as a “Pacific Colorist” for her distinctive impressionistic style. She is a signature member of the Plein Air Painters of Hawaii and has been elected the Fellow for Hawaii for the Pacific Rim Institute of Marine Artists. She is also a juried member of Oil Painters of America, the American Society of Marine Artists, and the American Impressionist Society. Her paintings are found in numerous collections worldwide.
Of the 135 pieces from 43 artists whose work was juried, 85 artworks made the final cut, for their representation of the garden theme.
In her juror’s statement, Anderson wrote, “I was struck most by the diversity, creativity, and originality on display. When reviewing each piece, I first looked for art with a strong compositional foundation, then a unique perspective; something special that sets it apart from the rest.”
NEW YEAR INVITATIONAL ART EXHIBIT
>> Where: Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden, Kaneohe
>> When: Opening reception, 4-6 p.m. Saturday; continues 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday-Jan. 30
>> Cost: Free
>> Info: 233-7323