The Bathhouse (Kaʻaʻawa)

15 08 2017
“The Bathhouse (Kaʻaʻawa)” oil on canvas by Rebekah Luke. Private collection.

This photo arrived in the email today. What a surprise and a thrill! “How much is this painting? My mom wants to know. She got it in 1991,” the inquirer wrote.

There was a photo of the back of the painting on which I wrote “1991,” but on looking at my record book, I saw that the painting (no. 29) was purchased in 1993 by a nice couple of Kaʻaʻawa who collected memorabilia of our town.

Some years afterward I looked for the buyers to ask if I could make a digital photo of their painting and was told they had moved. But now, I have a photo!

I told Tj*, who emailed me, the amount I sold the painting for, and to whom, and the average price of my paintings today. (Watching “Antiques Roadshow” on TV, I really should raise my prices! 😉)

The painting was part of a series of images of all the manmade public structures in Kaʻaʻawa, including the two bridges. They were unveiled at Swanzy Beach Park where park director Patty Greene had the kids hand paint and put out a sandwich board sign that read simply “Everybody Come.” I still have that sign. Minnie Akiona from the Kaʻaʻawa Country Kitchen across the highway brought over a tray of Chinese noodles and other refreshments.

Then the pictures were shown at an exhibit entitled “Painting the Town” in conjunction with the play “Chicago” at Diamond Head Theatre. Some of the paintings were bought by neighbors, and at least two pieces of the collection (the 8 a.m. flag raising in the school yard and the bookmobile) are hanging in the Kaʻaʻawa school office because the principal bought them.

So much for no. 29. My most recent oil painting “Glass Full of Daisies” was no. 202. I sent it to Texas in June as our wedding gift to Aunt Ross. It’s good to keep records, and I am happy to provide the provenance of an art piece.

* Epilogue: Tj emailed back to say her mom is the daughter of the original purchasers of “The Bathhouse…” and that the painting is still hanging in the house.

~ Rebekah Luke





Hōkūleʻa comes home

18 06 2017

After visiting 23 countries and territories around the world over the past three years, the double-hulled sailing canoe Hōkūleʻa has returned to Hawaiʻi and was greeted yesterday at Magic Island, Ala Moana Park, Oahu, by an estimated 50,000 people. A friend and his wife invited me to their hotel suite 26 floors above for a bird’s eye view of the homecoming.

Magic Island is the green peninsula in the middle of the photo, above Ala Wai Boat Harbor.

Seven other double-hulled waʻa (canoes) came, too, in this historical event to honor Polynesian voyaging and celestial navigation.

Graphic courtesy of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The best way for me to emphasize the importance of Hōkūleʻa (Hawaiian for “Star of Gladness”) is to share with you the address by Hawaiian voyager Nainoa Thompson to the crowd. It is the speech of his life. Powerful. You may hear it here. For the children. http://www.kitv.com/Clip/13421484/nainoa-thompson-speaks-at-hokulea-homecoming#.WUa4gg2bsMQ.email





Joe Kaakua and a snippet of my high school reunion

13 06 2017

Our Punahou School Class of 1967’s 50th reunion is now a pleasant memory shared with a gazillion photos and well wishes on Facebook. After many activities on both Hawaii and Oahu islands, including the annual Alumni Luau on campus that honors the 50th Year class especially, the finale was a picnic at our classmate’s family’s large rural estate.

Me and Joe after the Memorial Service for our classmates who died. Joe played his ukulele for our choir that I directed.

Hats off to my buddy Joseph Kaakua who organized the event and his wife Joann (we call her Girly), his right hand. Joe requested my now-celebrated mountain apple pie for the picnic. “Maybe two,” he said. Well, you can’t say no to Joe.

But was he kidding? That’s not enough for 150-200.  So I made more than two!

Mountain apple (ʻōhiʻa ʻai in Hawaiian) pies. The fresh fruit tastes a bit like a pear. My pie resembles rhubarb.

(Copyright 2017 Rebekah Luke)

(Photos by Valerie Lam)





Hawaii, land of the flower lei

1 05 2017

Read the rest of this entry »





All he needs are strings

5 04 2017

My darling husband Pete is building his seventh ukulele out of a cigar box. Most are concert scale; this one is a tenor. When gathering materials, he looks for cigar boxes that will accommodate the bridge of the instrument.

Polishing with Tru-Oil  gun stock finish. “This one is more show than go,” he said.

Box originally contained “25 cigars hand made in Spanish Honduras.”

The lid becomes the back of the ukulele, and the front of the box is removed and replaced with Engelmann spruce wood. Sometimes he adds a pickup inside.

Decorative inlaid fingerboard came from Vietnam. Pete put in the paua mother of pearl from Aotearoa around the sound hole.

The black tuners called Pegheds are geared, a little more sophisticated than straight pegs.

All the ukulele needs now are strings!





Master paintings of the 1800s at the Bishop Museum

2 04 2017

For the final project in the Painting II class I teach, students select a painting of a master to copy using the grid system and painting section by section. The unveiling was yesterday at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum.

Nancy Alejo chose Camille Pissarro’s “The Red Roofs,” 1877, and Bernadette Chan picked Paul Gauguin’s “Parau api (Two Women of Tahiti),” 1892.

“The Red Roofs” by Nancy Alejo after Camille Pissarro

A segment of “Parau api (Two Women of Tahiti)” by Bernadette Chan after Paul Gauguin

My students selected these works independently from each other, but in their presentation, we learned that Pissarro and Gauguin became friends in 1873 and painted together. Pissarro painted with the Impressionists. Gauguin had no formal art training, and his work is post-Impressionist, flat, hard edged and considered symbolic. Pissarro gave money to Gauguin to go to Tahiti.

While at the Bishop Museum we visited The Picture Gallery on the top floor of the entrance tower of Hawaiian Hall. My favorite paintings were the landscapes by D. Howard Hitchcock and the still lifes of fruit dear to my heart (because I have had mountain apples and breadfruit in my own garden) by Margaret Girvin Gillian.

The Picture Gallery at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Fascinating old images of Hawaii may be viewed here.

If you go:
See www.bishopmuseum.org for how to get there and for ticket information. Admission is free on Pauahi’s birthday, Dec. 19.
From Waikiki you may take the No. 2 bus and ask the driver to let you off on School street at Kapalama street. Walk downhill toward the ocean to Bernice street and turn right to the entrance at 1525 Bernice Street.





He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi

29 03 2017

“He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi (The Hawaiian National Anthem),” composed by Hawaiʻi’s Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1866, is her first published song. Our choirs performed it in March 2017 on Prince Kuhio’s birthday at the Ke Ahe Lau Makani Festival of Hawaiian Choral Music, directed by Nola A. Nahulu, at Kawaiahaʻo Church. “He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi was the official anthem until “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi” (composed in 1876) replaced it. It was my honor to sing in the choir. The video was first posted on my Facebook page. Mahalo to festival coordinator Phil Hidalgo. Pete Krape (DH to studio fans) was the videographer. Please click on this link:








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