Ke 'Ano'ano o ke 'Anuenue ("Surfing Canoes / The Seed of the Rainbow")
This painting is, a joyous celebration of the legendary steersman, Joseph "Nappy" Napoleon. Nappy was only seventeen when he paddled across the Kaiwi Channel with the Waikiki Surf Club in 1958 - the seventh year of the now very famous "Moloka'i Hoe" (41 mile race between Moloka'i and O'ahu). Nappy's crew placed first over-all in l958 and never missing a year, last Semptember(2009) marked Nappy's fifty-second consecutive crossing.
In 1983, Nappy and his wife Anona started a club of their own: the 'Anuenue (rainbow) Club, a club where their five sons would develop and thrive and become part of its future. The waters of Waikiki are 'Anuenue's "playground" - usually late in the day with the low sun spilling over Diamond Head Crater and across the rolling waves, in a magical profusion of pastels as the sun transforms the white clouds to ivory and peach and the reflections of these clouds do their dance of light on the waves, the shadows dipping to lavender.
When I began compiling my research for this painting, I thought how apt it would be to include a rainbow and I wondered if one would ever see one over Diamond Head from the canoe site. The day I went to the canoe site with my camera to get started on my project, there was a rare rainbow over Diamond Head to "answer my unspoken question." I took this as a sign and as a blessing on this painting.
The canoe in the foreground is filled with Nappy and Anona's grandchildren (from three of their five sons and one great-grandson in seat three, who is seated in front of his mother in seat four). Their two-fold heritage from Nappy is well-marked by the double rainbow since, first, they inherited life itself from Nappy and Anona and, secondly, thev inherited Nappy's great love of the ocean and passion for paddling.
Again, a tightly woven tapestry of past and present with the light and airy vertical threads of the present, softly interlaced with the dark, rich vertical threads of the past. To see the present without the past is to see it stripped of shadow and depth and you are left with only bright, colorful loose threads, devoid of form and texture. And, as I always gently remind people, "I don't paint ghosts. I paint an influence." That being said, the men in the spirit canoe are some of Nappy's crew - familiar faces at the races for many years... part of the legacy of 'Anuenue Canoe Club and Nappy...my friends.