My career does not define me. It has included almost thirty eight years of one-woman-shows, usually two to three a year, as well as hundred of portraits. That’s a lot of paintings. Yet, when I think about my life I don’t see myself standing at an easel, the artist.
Rather, I think of myself as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend with artist bringing up the rear. My defining moments in life have been in moments with my extraordinary mom and dad, thoughtful conversations with my family and friends and wonderful times spent with my handsome and funny husband. My greatest and most beloved creations are my delightful children and my warm and sunny home.
We live in beautiful Waimea, on the Big Island. Many people when they find out where we live sigh, “Ah, Waimea”. And my family and I agree. Could there be a more wonderful place to live? With its rolling green hills and snow capped mountain; horses and cattle standing knee deep in grass? It is up in the mountains where the air is cool and the winds always blow, and yet only fifteen minutes from the best beaches in the world, where summer never ends. It also has some of the world nicest people. “Lucky we live Waimea”, we often tell each other.
We live right “downtown” in what we call “The Compound”. On one side is our house and on the other that of my parents, Mary and Oiva Koski, with our garden in between. We designed and built them using as much swear equity as money. Our children were only three and seven when we moved in and my grandmother was still alive and living with my parents. We have been here over 25 years and over time our garden has been nurtured and encouraged until it is a delight to all who come through our gate. The big yard is shaded by a huge olive tree that drapes its branches like a willow and dapples the grass with shadows. The back left corner is filled with an ancient jacaranda that turns lavender for three months of the year. We have a Tahitian lime tree that produces fruit year round and friends often stop by to pick a bag as we can only use so many. Since my father died a few years ago we don’t have as many flowers, but it is still a haven of peace and bird songs.
We have a big round table in the middle of the yard, under the old olive tree, where my father taught “Quality Loitering”. He always said he learned it from the cats. That table is often the gathering place, for when one of us goes out with a cup of coffee it doesn’t take many minutes before we are all out there, cats at our feet. We all enjoy a break and chat in the shade of the tree surrounded by all the flowers. Many of our friends, both old and new, have joined us there for a meal and a laugh or one of those bottomless cups of coffee.
My mother and I share a studio, which is a big room at the top of her house, sporting, to many peoples surprise, a cream colored rug. She says it helps to keep us neat. It is wonderful to be able to work together. She is a great inspiration, as well as a great artist, and I have to scramble to keep up with her. If fact, I gave up years ago. She can out-paint me any day. Of course, I can out talk her…