At home in the islands…

My previous post was from the first couple days of our six week sojourn in Hawaii. Here are more photos and sketches. Our first stop: the Big Island.

Hawai’i

We stayed on the Hilo side of the Island. One night, thunder boomed and the rain came down in buckets. Otherwise, we were blessed with fine weather.

I was determined to body board at Honoli’i but terrified at the same time. After a couple of days, I became more comfortable there and caught some sweet rides.

Sublime Honoli’i

The walk around Honoli’i
included waterfalls, bridges and some beautiful flowers.

We drove up to Volcanoes to see the latest lava flow. This included a short hike with chairs and a picnic at sunset. There was a bit of a crowd but it wasn’t hard to see the fountaining lava.

Lava fountain viewed from crater rim

I don’t know exactly how I managed it, but I lost a slipper/flip flop, fin sock and water shoe all within one 24 hour period.

It’s a talent, I know.

Suzanne hosted a holiday party and invited her hui of kids and parents from their school in Hilo.

Bananagrams were a big hit!

Our last Big Island day, we lolled around in the tide pools near South Point, waves pounding the rocky shore. We had such a nice time there, we stayed a bit too long and had to board our plane without the luxury of showering beforehand.

Plein air sketch of Mitch and Suzanne lounging in the tide pools of Kawa,

Oahu

View of Lanikai, the Mokuluas and Waimanalo from pillbox hike

We spent the next month in Kailua and Waikiki. I had thought that December and January would be cool and rainy. To my surprise and delight, this year it was neither (with the exception of a few days around New Year’s). We were more social than we’d been for the last two years; catching up with old friends, hiking, mostly enjoying meals together outdoors.

Lanikai pillbox hike with Pager and Grodens
Here we are on the Pillbox hike. Kailua and Koolaus in the background

I discovered a SWEET, flat walkway about a block from our Home Exchange. The Kawainui Marsh trail goes along the wetlands and provides an unobstructed view of the Koolaus, Olomana and the hills between Kailua and Kaneohe.

Kawainui Marsh and the mountains, from the marsh walkway

On a previous trip to Oahu, parked at a trailhead, our rental car was broken into, the window smashed and our gear in the trunk stolen. I didn’t want to risk that again so we parked in easier access/less obvious spots. I had no argument paying $10 to park at a golf course to get access to the Old Pali Road trail.

Between the raindrops near the Pali lookout

We spent New Year’s Eve in Wahiawa with our friends the Osorios. The pouring rain didn’t put a damper on the fireworks, which we watched from their covered lanai.

For the first time in years, we stayed up until midnight!

The Pu’uma’eli’eli hike isn’t difficult, it’s just a steep, gunky, muddy trail which made it hard after all.

The view at the top is worth it, though. We hit the peak on a glassy day.

Kaneohe Bay and Mokoli’i (Chinaman’s Hat)

Waikiki has changed radically in the last 20 years from an Asian flavored honky tonk city to a mini Rodeo Drive, with stores like Louis Vuitton and Harry Winston.

I prefer the Kapiolani Park side for its proximity to restaurants and markets on Kapahulu, the less crowded beaches, little waves at the wall and even some snorkeling. Mitch saw an octopus right there where everyone was walking all over the reef.

On one of the cloudier days
Diamond Head: majestic and golden in the late afternoon light from Kapiolani Park
View from the lanai of our condo

What to do after a day at the beach? sketch the scene from our condo. I loved our (obstructed) view of Diamond Head and Kaimuki, especially in the late afternoon sunlight.

But we kept going back to Waimanalo

The northwest end of Oahu is Ka’ena Point. You can get there by hiking from the West/Makaha side of the Island or from the North Shore.

As we drove up toward the coast, I could clearly see waves breaking from miles away–they were humongous that day. We met our friends Azeema and Kuhio at the northern trailhead. It was clear and we started out at 7:30 am to beat the heat. By the time we reached the tip, the sun had risen above the mountains and it was HOT. We had our lunches in the shade of some rocks. The hike out was kind of brutal but worth it!

That’s the pointed tip where north and west meet.

Kaua’i

Our last week was what we’d dubbed the “wild card” because we hadn’t made any reservations for that time. I had been hesitant to commit to Kaua’i because it’s always so wet in the winter.

But not this time.

We stayed with our friend Tracey in Wailua and enjoyed a week of sweet visits with good friends and spectacular weather!

At Waimea Canyon lookout. Mitch, Susan, Tracey and Louise

One day, we tripped up to Koke’e. I can’t remember the last time that I was there in the bright sunshine. Wow!

View of Kalalau from the Pihea Trail

When I lived on Kaua’i, I would hike to Kalalau whenever I had a three day weekend. I came to know the place and the trail well and I still love and dream of it (though I haven’t been down there for ~15 years). It was such a pleasure to hike the rim and get fantastic views of the valley.

The other side of Kalalau Valley

A quick stop at Anahola Granola headquarters in Hanapepe. This photo sent as an Aloha to the founder, our friend Becky who is healing from a badly broken leg.

Louise said that her halau’s weekly get-togethers kept her sane over the last two years of Covid. We were honored to join them for some songs. Mitch played along with his guitar. I sketched.

Our last day was also glorious. We snorkeled at Anini Beach with my old friend Robin, who runs Reef Guardians.

And we ended up at Hanalei Bay, which never ceases to astound me with its expansive glory.

This photo is just a shadow of the beauty of Hanalei. It was dark and the light wasn’t right. But you get the idea.

Aloha, Hawai’i. A hui hou!

Trip to Gualala on the Mendocino Coast

Through the fires of this year, we’ve occasionally considered moving from the Golden State. However, our trip to the coast reminded me how incredibly beautiful it is here in California.

Fish Rock Watch Tower at the Mendocino Stone Zone, Gualala, CA.

The weather was glorious and clear. We saw whale spouts out in the water, shooting stars in the clear night sky and ate fabulous food.

Pencil drawing of the Fish Rock Watch Tower

We were treated to a tour of the Mendocino Stone Zone, a place where host Peter Mullins brings in stonemasons from Scotland, Ireland, France and New England to create art within his property in the hills. Peter is a font of knowledge about stone and informed us of a seam of basalt in Windsor, not far from where we live.

Who knew that there were basalt columns in Windsor?

We stayed at Roseman Creek Ranch, which provided a fantastic, huge kitchen. We paid a little extra for the big wood oven to be fired up so we could make pizza and other yummies. What a treat it all was!

We stayed at the beautiful Roseman Creek Ranch.
Lee and Judy made a delicious dinner in the wood fired oven
So many implements in the kitchen. Fresh flowers from the greenhouse as well.

More Sketches of 2017

A few new sketches from Spring of this year.

 

March and April were busy. I went to the town hall to hear my Congressman Jared Huffman answer questions. I made calls to Georgia voters for Jon Ossoff in Georgia, marched for 45 to reveal his taxes, went to a climate rally and a Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN) meeting. Sketches were created.

Down in the Baja

Año Nuevo State Park.

We saw a few of the famous Elephant Seals. They’re pretty funny looking. We learned that the Grizzly Bear and the Elephant Seal have a common ancestor. Pups are “weaners.” Elephant Seals spend most of their time way out at sea (3000 miles) They came to Año Nuevo Beach in California, to shed their skins and later, to give birth.

AnoNuevo

 

And we hosted a birthday party at our house for our friend Seth.

Seth

One Week 100 People 2017

I have become a big fan of Instagram. Through that app, I’ve found wonderful sketchers, illustrators and artists and I’ve been sharing my work (@susanstanger5995—when I picked the handle, I didn’t know you were supposed to pick something more descriptive—I’m still learning). In early March, I learned about a challenge to sketch 100 people in a week. You might have noticed that I love to draw people so this was a no brainer for me. But it wasn’t easy. It was really 100 people in 5 days and by the end of the week, I was pretty much burnt out on drawing people.

On the other hand (so to speak), my drawing became more facile and quicker. I also started using other media, like a sharpie pen and colored pencils. One day, I banged out several sketches that way in just half an hour. Really quick and half from memory as my subjects moved through and out of eyeshot.

I posted on Instagram every day but the drawings were out of order and sometimes incomplete. I knew that eventually I would post them here so I could show them all in order (somewhat—though it seems that I’m missing a couple) and write more details about what I was doing, if I wanted to. So, here they are, my sketches of 100 people…

These first sketches were done during a meeting of the Mill Valley CAN (Community Action Network) meeting. A group that is doing fantastic political action!

Number10-15

The ferry is a wonderful place to sketch people because they seldom see me drawing them. Most are reading something, as this sketch shows.Number19-23

 

Here’s where I start doing those really quick sketches with the Sharpie pen and colored pencils. These were created in the lobby of the building where I work, 201 Mission St. on the corner of Beale in SF.

 

Back on the FerryNumber44-48

Number49-52A few of my colleagues:Number53-55

Number56_74

 

More quick sketches with a sharpie. I sketched first and colored in later.

 

Number43_70-73

Finally doing a few just with paint. It was really fun and interesting to mix it up and do things a little differently.

Number86-87Number88-90

Numbers91

 

At the Water protectors rally in San Francisco

Number92Number93-94Number95-97Number98-100

Voila!

Art day at Robin’s and Pier 39

This is the place that Robin called the “Murder Shed” because it’s a dilapidated shed behind her house that looks creepy in the night. But there’s also this tree that’s blooming with red and pink flowers right in front. I thought it was beautiful and cool!

murdershed

The next day, I went with my folks to Pier 39 for “Tulipmania” which was basically no more than a marketing campaign and several planters full of tulips. I was more taken by the seals/sea lions. They are pretty funny.

pier39

El Sketch Fabuloso

I miss my wonderful former colleague, Dominique. She’s a talented illustrator and we used to go out to sketch in the financial district of San Francisco at lunchtime on Wednesdays. She’s freelancing now but I’m trying to keep the tradition going on my own.

coittowerThis week, I did a quick sketch of Coit Tower (minus the traffic, trolley lines and streetlamps) from the Embarcadero.

Travel to PA/NJ/NY in December

I can get really bored on a 5 hour plane ride. Especially when we have an extra 1.5 hours to stop to refuel (in beautiful Salt Lake City). Started these pen and inks at the Museum of Natural History in NY and at the Metropolitan. Painted them on the plane. I got a little carried away but it was fun.

jellyfishbarnaclesmask

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2016

I always anticipate the annual HSB Festival in San Francisco. Such a gift to our City and to everyone who loves music. This year was wonderful, as always.

swanstage

beardsteeldrivers

exoticwomanDuring Mavis Staples’ set on Friday night, we sat near this striking looking woman.  She woman didn’t smile or change expression the whole time.  the

We wondered what she was thinking.

 

 

 

intro

 

Saturday, we got there early to hang at the Arrow stage where KT Tunstall was the first act. Never heard her name before but we knew some of her hits. Great fun!

hsbcrowdyoungwoman

guyonthephone

 

 

I love the excitement of HSB. Everyone is friendly and happy. The couple next to us came from Scotland for the festival. I also met a woman from North Carolina who is anxious to see Jackson Browne. The many colorful characters of San Francisco have converged on the park.