Islands are the best places to live.

Really, they are. The sun doesn’t just move across the sky from day to day, it exudes color and plays delightful little tricks with the clouds. Picturesque is a far from adequate word to describe it. It’s more like being in a rainbow, at sunset when your face is fuchsia because of cotton candy clouds or your clothes glow blue and gold because of sunlight bouncing off the sea.

At those times, you aren’t just on the island, you are actually part of the island. You’re an islander. It’s the difference between looking at paintings in a gallery and being a figure in the image.

That unrestricted beauty seasoned by the indomitable spirit of the native islanders what I was drawing from when I created Voyager. People say she looks a lot like Moana from the movie of the same name, but that wasn’t my intention, since I believe I captured something of my own island spirit and experiences in the drawing. If anything, I was drawing from Auli’i Cravalho, the actress who portrayed Moana in the course of the film. Capturing her island spirit through my style was the best part of creating this piece.

So, next time you have the chance, visit an island. Stay a day or two. Go to the beach. Collect shells. Try to tune out screaming seagulls and keep your weather eye open for ocean creatures. Spend some time on the sea if you can. If you’re an artist, you’re going to want to bring a sketchbook and maybe a paint set, because the inspiration comes crashing down like a tidal wave as soon as you get out of your car or step off of the plane or bus.

October 3, 2017

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