October 5th, 2018 / posted by paularath

John Lovett,, our watercolor teacher,,sets up to paint a bridge over the River Avon.

Our first two weeks in England were actually fairly intense. Each day we were taken by bus to a beautiful location where twenty artists from all over the world set up to paint en plein air (outdoors). Amazingly, the weather was beautiful every day – something of a miracle in England!

Our Tudor style room with beautiful beams and fun attic ceilings.

Our first week was in the Cotswolds, an area renowned for its beautiful rolling hills and quintessential English villages. We stayed in the town of Stratford upon Avon, known as the birthplace of Shakespeare. Our room was called “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and it was absolutely charming and comfortable.

Our walking tour revealed a lot about Shakespeare and his surroundings.

Our days here involved lots of walking, from early morning walks to see the mist rise over the river, to sunset walks around the park and to various pubs and restaurants for dinner.

Bridge across the River Avon, our subject the first day of painting

The first day of painting we were in the park, looking at a bridge across the River Avon.  Each day began with John doing a brief sketch of the structure of his painting, as well as a running dialog on why he chose that particular composition. This was followed by his recommendations for colors to mix on our palettes to help create the scene, as well as descriptions of what techniques and brushes he was using.

John is completely open and generous in his approach to teaching. He doesn’t hold back any “artist secrets.”

Please remember that I am a fiber artist now, and seldom use paint, much less the very challenging medium of watercolor. I am also an abstract artist, while John is there to capture the scene as he sees it. And he loves to paint buildings, boats and bridges, none of which I have ever painted before. So I was a bit traumatized the first few days. To be honest, I didn’t even try to paint this scene. I just played with the mixing of paints and splashing them on the paper to get familiar with the materials. He was kind and understanding. Whew!

John Lovett’s final painting of the bridge and beyond.

Jerry is an accomplished watercolorist and he has allowed me to show you some of his efforts. Here is his painting of the bridge. Love it!

Watercolor by Jerry Mayfield

Please return to this blog for more of our painting locations and experiences, as well as scenic photos of exquisite locations.

Paula Rath

October 4th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Photos by Jerry Mayfield

Those are bubbles. Really, really big bubbles.

We first saw these bubbles in the park at Stratford upon Avon. It was a bank holiday and the kids were celebrating the end of summer with a day in the park. They were completely enthralled with these bubbles. So were we!

The bubbles are made with simple materials: skinny poles, string and some soapy stuff that makes this magic, at the hands of a charismatic Scot named McLeod.

McLeod the bubble man, making his magic.

I thought this might be a boon to Hawaii’s homeless problem. If people want to live in the parks, let them make people happy in the parks by creating big bubbles that turn everyone giddy with laughter. We asked McLeod if he might consider bringing his art to Hawaii, but, alas, he said the bubble solution he uses could not work in our warm weather.

But hey, maybe someone can create a solution that would work in Hawaii?

We saw another Bubble Man in London, under the London Eye, that big ferris wheel that dominates the landscape near the Thames.

Bubbles along the Thames at sunset.

Have you seen bubbles like these being made in other locales?

Paula Rath


October 2nd, 2018 / posted by paularath

A quiet morning in Stratford Upon Avon                                                    Photo by Grant Eyre

There. That sets the mood. And I hope it gives you a little pause to breathe and put yourself in that calm, serene place, on the River Avon in Stratford Upon Avon.

Now that you have had a little moment, I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me. I promised you blogs from our five-week trip to England…and then I disappeared. Tech is not my strong point (to say the least), so it may have been my fault. But I simply could not blog from anywhere in England. I really don’t understand why. However I did take photos and write journals and now I can report to you on a truly wonderful trip.

First, let me say that this trip was sort of like three trips in one. Each segment was quite different in mode and mood.

John Lovett, watercolorist extraordinaire, sets up to paint a bridge over the River Avon.

First, we spent two weeks in a watercolor workshop with John Lovett, a teacher from Brisbane, Australia whom Jerry has admired and followed for years. There were 20 artists in the group, from Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, England, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and California. Most were very accomplished and some are professional artists and art teachers. And then there was me. Yikes!

Coopers Cottage, our home for two lovely weeks. Sorry about the garbage bin!

Second, for two weeks, Jerry and I rented a little thatched cottage in the tiny village of Lower Heyford, in Oxfordshire. Quiet, quaint and totally relaxing. We walked along the nearby canal and watched the longboats slowly making their way through the locks and bridges of the River Cherwell.

We stayed in a club just around the corner from my favorite park, St. James’s, which is teeming with wildlife.

Third, we spent a glorious week in London, my favorite city in the world. Jerry had never been to London, so it was great to share it with him.

So please visit paularath.com often to learn more about a trip that was educational, entertaining and truly enlightening for Jerry and me.

Paula Rath

August 21st, 2018 / posted by paularath

One of the most treasured Hawaiian fine jewelry pieces one can have is a kahelelani shell necklace, bracelet or earrings. So I was thrilled to find some beautiful kahelelani pieces from Moloka’i this week at Riches Kahala.

Ameron-John Kaikaikaokamana’omekekino Madela of Moloka’i creates his beautiful shell jewelry from all natural colors of the tiny shells: pink, red, salmon and beige.


Moloka’i shell earrings start at $60 at Riches Kahala.

When searching for your Moloka’i kahelelani shell lei, there are five things to watch for:

  • Color
  • Luster
  • Flaws
  • Size
  • Workmanship

This three-piece set sells for $1,000 at Riches Kahala, which is a great price for fine kahelelani shell jewelry.

A shell lei is a perpetual reminder of this special place we call home. And, unlike flower lei, it won’t wilt. Rather, it will become more and more beautiful with time. Shells love to be worn!

-Paula Rath


August 2nd, 2018 / posted by paularath

A view from our “tree house” in, Nu’uanu                                   Photo by Duncan Graham

When we are traveling, people always ask us why on earth we would ever leave Hawaii to visit (insert their home here – Carcassonne, Dublin, Bruges, Buenos Aires, Paros, Pittsburgh- you get my drift) and, yes, there are moments when we ask ourselves the same question.

The fact is, we love Honolulu and our little “tree house” in the rain forest of Nu’uanu. We never feel sad or regretful when we return to the often misty mountains my son Duncan Graham captured in the photo above.

Along the sea cliffs of Vestmanna, in the Faroe Islands

And yes, we often have waterfalls we can see from our deck. But our waterfalls are quite different from the waterfalls we saw in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Ireland, and therein lies the fascination. No matter how beautiful our island is, it is a very small island, in the middle of the Pacific, and the world is such a huge and magnificent place. We want to see as much as we can, for as long as we can.

Gullfuss Falls, on the Golden Circle in Iceland

That said, we are now preparing for a five-week trip to England in late August. We will spend two weeks in a watercolor workshop with John Lovett, a teacher from Australia whom Jerry has admired for years. We’ll have one week in the Cotswolds, based in Stratford upon Avon, and one week in Cornwall, based in Plymouth. Wonderful subjects for plein air painting!

After the workshop, we will retreat to a little cottage in Lower Heyford, a tiny village in the Cotswolds, where we will paint the English countryside while our lessons are still fresh. During those two weeks we will take train or bike trips to nearby places such as Oxford and Blenheim Castle.

Then a week in London, my very, very favorite city in the world. I want to see if my old 1967-68 address, a third-floor walk-up at 60 Hogarth Road in Earl’s Court, has turned into something quite different from the frumpy old Victorian I knew.

Stay tuned for more travel blogs…..

  • Paula Rath

Cliffs of Moher, Western coast of Ireland