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The Beautiful Unknown

"The unknown can be scary, but there's beauty in discovering it together."

Patrick Ching -- An artist from the country… about to dwell in the city.


Moana Surfrider Resort -The First Lady of Waikiki

Fresh off the thrill of my first KAI Ocean Art Show in Princeville, Kauai, I set my sights on taking the show to the bright lights of Metropolis. Within a few minutes of sending an email to my friends with businesses in Waikiki, Michael Tam, owner of Martin and MacArthur Galleries, wrote me back with an enthusiastic "Yes!"

Within a couple of days Craig Anderson, the General Manager of the Moana Surfrider Resort, was onboard. "Yes, let's do it here." The Waikiki Aquarium was selected as our beneficiary and thus began the KAI Waikiki Ocean Art Show.


With Michael Tam, Shnooky the seal, and Craig Anderson.

I have to say I was a bit nervous about spending a month in Waikiki. I had not really spent much time there since I was a high schooler roaming the streets and getting in trouble. Mentally, I had to prepare for what was ahead. I proceeded to lay out an intensive painting and teaching schedule that would leave me little time for mischief.

Figuring out the parking was enough to give me anxiety. It took me the whole month to figure out the rules. My quest for dinner usually beganabout 10pm. I ventured out making my way through the crowds, the street performers, the smoking gauntlets, the hookers and the rest.Japanese tourists could not see me no matter what I was carrying.I pondered the question:"If I go to Japan, carrying an eight foot easel, will I still be invisible?"

Mornings started out with a walk and some stretches and a visit to the stone pier where the large oio (bonefish) frolicked close to shore. I know Waikiki must be off limits for fishing now because just the sight of these fish makes a fisherman's mouth water. If it were open season for fishing these oio would be gone from here.

Surf was consistent. One foot every day! First timers, old timers, bullies, tourists, we were all in an ocean soup sprinkled with color. It was good to be kept alert by the canoes and catamarans that used to run me over when I was learning to surf.

The opening reception of the KAI Waikiki show was blessed by a wine and pupu party hosted by the Moana Hotel and blessed with a performance by Robert Cazimero'sHalauhulana kamalei in celebration of a paintingthe halau named Kahuaka‘ionahoaokekai. The dancersbecame the school ofsharks to the amazement of the crowd.


Presenting Robert Cazimero with a gift painting from his niece Sky Yim.


Michael contributes to the Waikiki Aquarium Celebrity Painting.

A special Waikiki Aquarium Celebrity Painting was begun with the help of artists, Mark Brown, Heather Anders, Frank B. Shaner, Robert Cazimero, Ron Mizutani and more. The painting was worked on by many throughout the duration of the show and when completed will be auctioned off to benefit the Waikiki Aquarium.

My weekdays were laid outfrom 9am to 9pmaseachday I hauled my easels and art down from my room, painted the pictures, autographed art, met lots of people, ran my business on my breaks, then hauledeverythingbackup to the room.

"You had a room at the Moana for a month?"

Yes, but I shared it withten large, wet oil paintings,eight foot easels, all my paint and supplies, and inventory. There was barely room on the bed for me and my surfboard. Not so bad, but every time I woke up, my surfboard was trying to spoon me.


The Kids painting at the Waikiki Aquarium.

Saturdays were a break from oil painting as weheld our splatter paint and mural parties at the Aquarium. It was fun to be a kid and paint any fish, any color I wanted. In the afternoons we had people painting their mini 3 inch masterpieces at the Moana Hotel. Lots of love got put on canvas.


Ahana and her mini masterpiece.

Sundays brought me back to Waimanalo and morning surf sessions at Sandy's and Makapu'u. Then it was all the computer work I could do in a day before heading back to Waikiki.

Publicity was high for the KAI Show and the events at the Aquarium as all the major television news stations had me on their morning shows. Those were some early mornings with my favorite newscasters and publicists.


KHON Morning News

Somewhere in the middle of this I made it back to Kauai for autograph sessions at the Kilauea Lighthouse and my Princeville Gallery. I signed my name 200 times that day. It reminded me of the time I signed my name 22,000 times in eight days in Illinois.

The fast pace of the KAI Waikiki show never let up and I found myself regularly having to choose between resting, eating and knocking down my endless "to do" list. The paintings had to be planned, as well as I could, to keep each one on schedule.

I think the paintings came out so well because I did them from instinct. I didn't give myself time to over think or over do them. They were paintings that drew from my experience as an artist and many of them have lived inside me for decades.

At last the final reception arrived and we were blessed by the sounds of Kupaoa, a pleasant couple from Kauai whose music is distributed by The Mountain Apple Company. Robert Cazimero's halau again performed the shark hula in full glory, and the Moana staff treated the guests with ono pupu, wine and their awesome hospitality.

Those who bought the originals that night were also given as added gifts, a night at the Moana along with Tea for two and a large gicle'e of their choice. Even I wanted to buy a painting for that!


Final paintings on display at the Moana.

I had seen over thirty sunsets since the start of the show, a show that had never been done quite like this. I thank the wonderful crew of friends who helped put together this adventure. We all have grown from it. I'm so thankful for the people I met and the things that I learned. The new set of memories I have of Waikiki will fuel me till we hui hou, (until we meet again,) in the beautiful unknown.


Weapons…Of Mass Creation!


These guys love sharks!


Taking a turtle to the beach.




The best reward!

With Special thanks to Marilyn Potter for all your help, aloha, peanutbutter sandwiches and photographs.

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