"Windward Skies II"- A Dreamy Drive on O'ahu's Eastern Shore

Beach beach art Colleen Wilcox Colleen Wilcox Art Hawaii Hawaii art Kaaawa Kaaawa Beach Oahu Tropical Beach

"Windward Skies II" is a dreamy view of the landscape in Ka'a'awa Beach on the eastern side of the island of O'ahu. It was inspired by my countless trips driving to the north shore and feeling awed by the incredible scenery along the way. My favorite stretch of highway runs through this area where it feels so wild, untamed and free. I love looking up at the mountains reflecting sunlight, and breathing the salty air that blows onshore with the trade winds. 

I was moved to paint this vantage point several years ago with my first painting "Windward Skies", and had been thinking about creating another one ever since. Since I regretted not creating prints of my first painting, I am very happy to be offering prints of "Windward Skies ll". 

Read on to learn more about my painting process!

I often like to create tropical landscapes that include realistic natural formations and vantage points, and then add in whimsical, imaginative elements. This merging of realty and 'dreamscape' helps me to create my idealized vision of Hawaiian scenery and life. 

Once I have my specific painting idea in mind I often like to think of the overall mood or feeling I want to create, and take time to write down descriptive adjectives in my sketchbook. The goal is to have the visuals of the painting embody in the final result. 

Once I was ready to begin "Windward Skies II", I gathered a handful of reference photos to help me create a semi accurate rendition of the perspective of the beach in Ka'a'awa. After sketching the trees, bushes and mountains in pencil, I moved on to thinking about the water and sky. 

I typically give the water and sky in my paintings more leeway to be imaginative since they represent such fluid and changing elements. At this stage I am not using any photos but am drawing flowing lines from my mind's eye that fit together to make up a composition. The shapes that form end up representing clouds and lapping water, but my main focus is on creating a visually appealing composition. 

Next I added the first main areas of color such as blue sea, green mountains and purple shadows, etc. I also outlined the more abstract lines in paint to preserve my pencil composition. 

Over the next several weeks I spent time in the color building stage- in which I continuously add layers of color. During this stage I aim to use very little thought and switch my brain to a "flow state" in which I intuitively sense where I would like to place certain colors. 

It's often about halfway through the painting that I enter what I call the "awkward teenage phase" where problem areas begin to show themselves. I tell myself that it is important to not give up during this stage because it can be a  frustrating but seemingly necessary stage. 

Sometimes I will white out a whole area on a painting and start over in that spot. Once I am satisfied with the improvements, I continue building color and detail and then I enter the final stages. I add in black outlines using Posca paint and micron ink pens. After this I go back with more color details. I also step back frequently throughout the entire process to view the painting from a distance to note how things are progressing. I always turn it upside down and sometimes I even use a mirror to see it from a different angle.  

At the end, none of my paintings ever seem perfect, but once I get to the point where I am satisfied then I decide it is time to be finished. Overall I am very happy with how "Windward Skies ll" turned out. I hope it can bring the viewer a little feeling of beauty and contentment from the eastern shores of O'ahu. 


If you would like to own a print of the piece, please click here. Until next time! 





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