June 22nd, 2014 / posted by paularath
Tom Hoffman focuses his talent on the caldera.

Tom Hoffman focuses his talent on the caldera.

We feel incredibly privileged to have taken part in a four-day art retreat with the uber-talented Tom Hoffmann of Seattle. Tom is a prominent artist, teacher and writer. He’s one of those natural teachers who knows how to get through to all levels of artists. His medium is watercolor and he has focused exclusively on watercolor for many years. He understands the medium and all its quirks and challenges.

He is also brilliant at helping you learn how to problem solve when something goes wrong with your painting. It’s easy to give up on a watercolor, but Tom taught us many ways to “save” a less than satisfactory piece of work.

The workshop was set up by Paul Morgan, a new member of the Hawaii Watercolor Society who lives part time at Volcano. He has been a friend of mine since small kid time and it was great to reconnect with him and his wife, Barb.

Before his five students arrived, Tom had scouted the Volcano area, as well as nearby locations, to find a nice balance of subjects to paint en plein air (fancy French words for “outdoors”).

Location: some derelict buildings behind the Punalu'u Bakery in Naalehu. That's Paul standing and Terry from Captain Cook seated next to Tom.

Location: some derelict buildings behind the Punalu’u Bakery in Naalehu. That’s Paul standing and Terry from Captain Cook seated next to Tom.

The locations offered varied experiences for producing art. A black sand beach with waves crashing on deep lava shores, the caldera in sun and shadow, a rainforest with dappled light, a funky little building with a water tower, and many more fabulous opportunities.

I have been working with textiles and acrylics for quite a few years and thought I had left watercolor behind (they are really, really difficult), but I think Tom has brought me back to the painting medium I originally started with in Venice with George Woollard in 1999.

Tom is an abstract painter and he is totally inspiring and encouraging. Jerry has committed to doing a painting a day – and how it’s in writing so he has to!  As I am writing this blog, he is out at the caldera all alone, painting the earth and steam and glorious atmosphere.

My next blog I will show you some of the paintings that have come out of these four days. Right now we’re packing up to drive to Hilo and then Kailua-Kona. I hope to stop at several galleries and towns along the way. However, the Americans are playing in the World Cup at noon so that means we have to find a sports bar and cheer them on!

– Paula Rath

Comments are closed.