Validation of an artist

4 04 2016

People who make fine art often work alone. Like writers and composers, they start with a blank canvas and require solitude to put their ideas down. Sometimes, when they think they have taken their work as far as it can go and prior to publishing, they work with a team. Working with others helps artists to develop a thick skin because one is surely to receive criticism, constructive or not.

When an artist is brave enough and has the guts to put work on display for others to see—others besides family and close friends—that is a milestone. The next step may be to price the art. Imagine: someone may want to purchase it!

Along the way, colleagues and mentors will help. Mine, Susan Rogers-Aregger, taught me everything I know about finishing paintings so that they are ready for exhibit, how to market art, and how to manage a gallery. I am so very grateful. Yesterday, her tutelage reached another high point with the opening of the group exhibit “Collages and Clay” in Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu.


A sparkling collage painting and ceramic masks by Susan Rogers-Aregger greet visitors to new exhibit

A sparkling collage painting and ceramic masks by Susan Rogers-Aregger greet visitors to new exhibit at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden.


A dozen artists, all influenced by Susan who also works in clay, combined their hand-dyed tissue paper creations and pots for an exciting display. Friends and family came to celebrate at the reception. No longer alone, we met each others’ human support system and became better acquainted with the lives of the rest of the team.



My sister artists and new friends at the opening reception—Hiroko, Maite, and Dottie. The fat cat in the background is my creation entitled “Living Large.” It has sold!

Bob and Tommy of The Band Tantalus entertained guests with acoustic sounds. Warm to cool palettes grace the gallery walls.

Bob and Tommy of The Band Tantalus entertained guests with acoustic sounds. Warm to cool palettes grace the gallery walls.


By the way, artists love sales. A sale for one is a sale for all! Selling our work is how many of us make our income, and it is wonderful encouragement to keep going. Thank you!

Recently I received two emails, sent separately by two individual buyers who photographed my work in their homes and shared the images with me, to show me how they used my paintings in their decor and their artistic eye. That kind gesture took why we make art to another level of appreciation and enjoyment.

If you go— “Collages and Clay” runs through April 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden Visitor Center, entrance at the end of Luluku Road, Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu.

Copyright 2016 Rebekah Luke

Water lilies in paper

18 03 2016

Aloha studio fans, art patrons and appreciators! I’m taking this, my latest creation, to exhibit at Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden for the month of April.

Water Lilies in Paper, 18″ x 24″ hand-dyed tissue paper on canvas, copyright 2016 Rebekah Luke

The opening reception for “Collages and Clay at Hoʻomaluhia” is from 1 to 4 pm, Sunday, April 3. Entertainment by The Band Tantalus. Please come!

This is a newish art medium for me, a departure from landscapes in oil paint after 25 years. I hand-dye the tissue paper with my colleague and teacher Susan Rogers-Aregger at her workshop (it takes a small crew). Folks say they prefer the collages because of their translucence and vibrancy of color. I like the way the technique lends itself to abstract images. What do you think?

Calico cat

28 01 2016

Something totally different from me, studio fans. Yes, a cat! I created this piece with hand-dyed tissue paper and framed it just in time to offer it to the Punahou Carnival Art Gallery, open during Carnival hours 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on February 5 and 6. Half of the sales collected is donated by the artists to the school’s financial aid fund. I love this kitty!


Below are two more creations of mine that will be in the exhibit, too.

18” x 24” Hand-dyed Paper on Canvas by Rebekah Luke

Bromeliads (paper)


Life at Ka Punahou (oil)

Copyright 2016 Rebekah Luke

Have commission, will travel

23 08 2015

He didn’t actually say “yes.” The client, about a painting I did on spec. But as my father’s caregiver used to say, “Artur,”—his name was Arthur, and she was a Filipina—”silence means yes.”

My high school classmate Wil, renovating his childhood home in Waialua, saw my art work and said he really liked the view of Mount Kaala from the war memorial at Haleiwa Beach Park and thought a painting of it would be nice. I knew almost exactly what he was referring to because I was reared in Wahiawa, situated on a plateau in the middle of Oahu, and “the beach” meant Haleiwa Beach on the North Shore. When my parents and I rode down through the sugar cane fields toward the ocean, we could see Waialua and Haleiwa in the distance. There were many a family picnic at Haleiwa, and my dad, a dump truck driver, often took me on his last run to Mokuleia to pick up a load of sand or rock , driving through Waialua.

One day I drove from my studio to Haleiwa, made some photos of Mount Kaala that is the highest peak on the island, and emailed them to Wil. We started talking about the details of what he liked about the panorama. He was very specific about the ridge line, not so much about whether he liked morning or afternoon light. We were in the middle of the discussion, and I said, “I have an idea. Let me try it in a new medium I’m working in, hand-dyed tissue-paper collage, and maybe you’ll like it. And if not, that’s okay.”

A few days ago I felt the piece was finished. DH thought it was my best. Really? It’s hard to critique my own work. It’s tempting to keep fussing, but an artist needs to know when to stop. Less is more. Especially when working with abstract shapes, tissue paper, glue, and a knife blade.

I emailed a photo of it to Wil for his consideration, immediately regretting it, because the photo was not like the original where the ocean shimmers in the light. He emailed back, “That looks great! Let me think about it, but it is exactly what I was looking for!” and then 20 minutes later, “Your collage is now my backdrop on my computer! It looks great!” (Uh-oh.) I replied, “Yes, but you should see the original.”

And then, silence.

Usually, I like to give the client the option of selecting a frame if I know they will be acquiring a painting. Anxious to apply the final varnish coat to “Mount Kaala from Haleiwa”, meaning no more changes or additions, and to take it to my framer, I phoned Wil.

“I sent you a photo. Do you have any questions?”

Mount Kaala from Haleiwa Beach

© 2015 Rebekah Luke / All rights reserved

“Yeah. It looks great. It’s exactly what I want. You read my mind. Why don’t you get it framed.

“You want me to pick the frame? Okay, I’ll have it framed and bring it to your party next Saturday.”

“That’s great.”

Perfect. Oh, Wil, what color are your walls?”

Working in a new art medium — tissue-paper collage

29 06 2015
Kalo Collage

Kalo Collage

UPDATE: Good morning! Here’s a reminder that our art show is still up and that there is still time to view this fascinating art medium. The club’s dining room is open to the public, so while you’re there you can grab a bite. Bring a friend! Click here for a map.

“Collages & A Bit of Clay,” an exhibit of original art work curated by Susan Rogers-Aregger, is on view to August 8, 2015, at the Honolulu Country Club Gallery, 1690 Ala Puumalu Street, Honolulu 96819. There are more than 60 works in the show, including these three by yours truly. The public is invited to meet the artists at a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 5.

My unique collage paintings are created with tissue paper that I dyed by hand, glued to canvas, then scraped and carved with a knife for the design while being careful to not poke a hole in the canvas!

“Bromeliads” © 2015 Rebekah Luke

“Mango Season Not Pau”

Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke

Mango season not pau

6 07 2014
Mango Collage. 22.25" x 22.25" hand-dyed tissue paper on canvas

Mango Collage, 22.25″ x 22.25″ hand-dyed tissue paper on canvas

Mangos and more mangos! I am experimenting with a different art medium — collage with hand-dyed tissue papers. Here is my third piece finished yesterday, a diptych composed of two panels. I plan to put both into one frame for the square shape shown.

The big mango tree in the corner of the studio garden cooperated this year by bearing luscious fruit that we are enjoying. We are able to pick the mangos before the cherry headed conures get to them. That and the color palette of tissue papers that I had on hand inspired the work.

Managing the thin, flimsy papers with glue, water, and X-ACTO knife is tedious work and messy. At times it is carving paper, either wet or dry, being careful not to poke a hole in the canvas! In the end, I love the effect of layering and the jewel toned quality of the finished collage.

My colleague Susan Rogers-Aregger taught me how to create with this medium. She learned it from Gloria Foss, our late oil painting instructor and mentor. Together they wrote Paper Dyeing for Collage & Crafts (Honolulu: Belknap Publishing & Design, 2004; ISBN 0-9723420-3-6).

Susan has scheduled her next paper-dyeing and collage workshops for February 2015 in Kaneohe, Oahu.

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

Where I am in Hawaii today

24 06 2014

Every now and then we’re thrown a curve ball and need to perk up. So I left the studio and headed over to Ka Lahui Hawaii, a Native initiative for sovereignty,, to offer some information to the Hawaiian community.

Representatives of U.S. Department of Interior were on island to listen to comments about whether and/or how there should be a government-to-government relationship between the U.S. and Native Hawaiian community.

I went to yesterday’s three-hour public meeting at the Hawaii State Capitol because I wanted to get up to speed about the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. I had the feeling the panel would be in for a surprise. The testimonies were emotional, for the most part saying the D.O.I.’s presence was inappropriate and unwelcome (I’m being kind here).

DOI panel 062314

The panel looked tired and sad after a while. Twenty such meetings are scheduled throughout the Islands and America. Two of my Hawaiian neighbors have asked me for a ride to Wednesday’s meeting in Kaneohe, closest to our homes. 

This morning I’m headed to Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden to create some cheerful collage art with hand-dyed tissue paper. The public is invited to watch the artists and see our exhibit in the Visitor Lecture Room showing daily, now until the end of June. The entrance is at the end of Luluku Road in Kaneohe.  This is my “Kalo.” Today I’m working on “Mango.”

"Kalo Collage," 15" x 30" hand-dyed paper on canvas. $385.

“Kalo Collage,” 15″ x 30″ hand-dyed paper on canvas.

 Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

%d bloggers like this: