Reflections of Venice 2016

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I first saw Venice at night. It was a chilly November eve and the city was shrouded in a silent, insulating fog. Sounds of water lapping on the canal walls echoed a melancholy that accompanies a late autumn mood in Italy. The summer sun had gone and with it the hoards of tourists; it seemed as if the life of the city was turning inward. Saint Mark’s square was empty save for the last pigeons working overtime, and in the distance someone was playing violin.

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Even in darkness the city revealed itself through shifting light… reflections mirroring empty bridges, sleeping gondolas, quiet alleys and closed cafes. All of it was so dreamlike, ephemeral and seemingly impossible to comprehend.

"Peace Laundry" oil on linen

“Peace Laundry” oil on linen

That first visit was 20 years ago and the photographs I took with my still camera inspired some of my most memorable paintings.

“The Blue Wall, Venice” oil on Linen

The November light of Venice had captured me, but the beguiling memory of that magical first visit keeps calling me back. zimmermann-venice2011

I have since returned to Venice many times and always with a sense of amazement and awe. zimmermann-venice2013This November we returned once again to that place of water and wonder, and gorgeous cold, crisp, sunny skies welcomed us back.zimmermann-venice2024

It amazes me how humans can forge an existence with such grace and elegance in such an improbable place. How decay, corrosion and erosion etch the most beautiful patinas of time on structures built in the unlikely medium of salt water. Slowly, relentlessly and like rust, never sleeping, water works to reclaim all that Man has done and return it to the briny deep.zimmermann-venice2009

 Like water, it is best to let yourself flow through the city, resist direct and clogged routes, and get lost – give it over to the spirit of discovery and the unexpected.
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It is easy to get lost in this amazing place…
zimmermann-venice2007…and losing oneself in Venice can be one of Life’s greatest pleasures.
Perfection in a cup, a morning cappuccino by the Rialto

Perfection in a cup, a morning cappuccino by the Rialto

When in Venice do as the Venetians do: Spritz Campari, please

When in Venice do as the Venetians do: Spritz
Campari, please

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That view, that cafe, that little trattoria will find you, and claim you for its own. It will be your view, your cappuccino, your place in Venice, not just for sharing with the world, but comforting your soul.

Murano sunset on a canal of glass.

Murano sunset on a canal of glass.

A trove of Venetian sea glass c:

A trove of Venetian sea glass c:

Contemplating dinner.

Contemplating dinner.

Shimmering reflections of the sea

Shimmering reflections of the sea

"Venetian Espresso" 6"x6" oil painting at Lahaina Galleries

“Venetian Espresso” 6″x6″ oil painting at Lahaina Galleries

"Reflections"

Twenty Studio Stories….

I’ve painted outdoors and I’ve painted indoors… on location and in studios all over the world. People often ask me: Which do I prefer? Is one more authentic? Is the other easier? Over the years I’m thinking it is all up to the individual, what gets you stoked as a painter, what inspires your process.

MFA Studio: Oakland, CA

MFA Studio: Oakland, CA

I suppose that when it comes to art studios, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in some amazing spaces in the world. Some were corners in a room, others covered patios, basements, cantinas, spare rooms, garages and shared spaces with other artists. Some spaces I have lived and slept in, some had great surf and snowboarding right outside the door. Some studios have been the backdrop for tea parties, holiday parties, and art shows…others transformed into movie sets for numerous film projects. From the ancient olive mill in Tuscany to the the old Del Monte Cannery in San Francisco, all these spaces impart their energy into my work and inspire in their own unique ways.
In this, my 30th year as a professional artist, I’m looking back at those places with many fond recollections. The hundreds if not thousands (!) of paintings I have created over those years!
Click on any of the images below to view the slideshow.. and please check back to read more blog posts about each location, what kind of inspiration it brought to me and how it affected my work.
The studio, that space with all the energy it brings to me is a silent collaborator in my creative process, looking back at these images there is no doubt in my mind about that. My special thanks to the best studio mates ever: John Charles Jopson, Sandra Jones Campbell, Ratso, Renzo, Murphy…and of course, the first of my many Muses, Bird.

Caroline Zimmermann: Lahaina Galleries Solo Show

Caroline Zimmermann’s Lahaina Galleries Solo Exhibition, February 27, 2016

Information and enquiries:

Lahaina Galleries At Fashion Island
1173 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
800.788.5008/949.721.9117
www.lahainagalleries.com   lgi@maui.net

Click on any image to enlarge:

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Florentine Treasures

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Since the era of the Medici and the Renaissance, Florence has been famous for its artisans, artists and crafts people who have created many of art history’s finest treasures. My numerous visits to the museums of Florence have inspired me over the years as I view the countless masterpieces of Renaissance art, and noting with little exception, the magnificence of their frames.

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It has been one of my greatest pleasures as an artist living and working in Tuscany for the last 20 years to collaborate with several frame makers in Florence that are still creating frames in the fine Florentine tradition. (These paintings will be available at the Lahaina Galleries Holiday Show from November 20 at the Newport Beach gallery.)

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These wonderful frames are custom made for me in the handmade tradition by the Mazzocchi family who are located in the heart of Florence.

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As a painter, I am infinitely fascinated by the possibilities of using their traditional forms to create paintings that speak to me of my contemporary aesthetic.

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They echo the past and resonate with the creative expressions of today’s Florentine artisans. These works are intimate tableaus that can be presented on a wall or placed on a surface. I like the idea that they can be easily moved and positioned around the home. Please come Lahaina Galleries Holiday Show to see these little treasures in person.

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It is a delight to present these works to Lahaina Galleries. I hope you enjoy them as well.

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Lahaina Galleries 39th Anniversary Show

Caroline-Zimmermann-Lahaina_2187This last weekend I had the honour of exhibiting my work at Lahaina’s 39th Anniversary Show. Along with seven other master artists, we celebrated with some of Lahaina Galleries’ patrons and collectors at a private unveiling the evening before.

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All of the works were carefully hung and veiled to provide maximum excitement and anticipation…

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After a wonderful introduction from the Lahaina Team, I spoke briefly about my newest creation…

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My “Blue Mediterranean” Triptych was then unveiled.

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Caroline-Zimmermann-Lahaina_2201 “Blue Mediterranean” made a long journey to be included in this unveiling. I began working on the painting in my studio in Tuscany and continued to work on it throughout the summer in my pop-up studio in Oxford.

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“Blue Mediterranean Triptych” 39” X 60” Available at Lahaina Galleries

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“Kihei Beach Driftwood” 32” X 47”

“Kihei Beach Driftwood” 32” X 47” Available at Lahaina Galleries

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This is truly why I do what I do: Pure Joy. I was thrilled to be able to meet the new owners of my “Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths” and “Mediterranean Blues Beach”. Both pieces are going to an excellent home.

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“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths” 47” x 36” Lahaina Galleries

“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths”
47” x 36” Lahaina Galleries

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“Mediterranean Blues Beach” 32″ x 47″

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“Hanalei Sunset Dream” 12″ x 12″ Available at Lahaina Galleries

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“Tahitian Still Life” 11″ x 24″  Available at Lahaina Galleries

Caroline-Zimmermann_2226Celebrating a great turnout and fantastic sales with LGI consultant Kasey Solesbee. Well Done Kasey!

“Sunset at Turtle Bay” 28” X 47”

“Sunset at Turtle Bay” 28” X 47” Available at Lahaina Galleries

Caroline-Zimmermann-Lahaina_2249Lovely shot of artist Dario Campanile and his fiancee’ Patricia. Mahalos!

Caroline-Zimmermann-Lahaina_2240Many compliments to Jim and Nancy Killett for their 39th year of beautifying the world with Lahaina Galleries. I’ll do my best to help them with their efforts for many many more!

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A Day at Oxford Botanic Garden

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Founded in 1621, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic gardens in Great Britain and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. It has one of the most diverse yet compact collections of plants in the world and contains over 8,000 different species, including… poppies!

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"Poppy Portrait II" 15cm X 15cm Available at Graham Fine Art

“Poppy Portrait II” 15cm X 15cm Available at Graham Fine Art

"Poppies in a Tuscan Breeze" 25.5 X 25.5 Available at Graham Fine Art

“Poppies in a Tuscan Breeze” 25.5 X 25.5 Available at Graham Fine Art

"Poppy Adoration" 60cm X 69.5cm Available at Caroline's online Virtual Gallery

“Poppy Adoration” 60cm X 69.5cm Available at Caroline’s online Virtual Gallery

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"White Daffodils" Available at Graham Fine Art

“White Daffodils” 25cm X 25cm Available at Graham Fine Art

"Lilacs and Wisteria" 30" X 24" Available at Lahaina Galleries

“Lilacs and Wisteria” 30″ X 24″ Available at Lahaina Galleries

"Summer Sunflower" 12" X 12" Available at Lahaina Galleries

“Summer Sunflower” 12″ X 12″ Available at Lahaina Galleries

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"The Rose Arbour" 100cm X 80cm Available at Graham Fine Art

“The Rose Arbour” 100cm X 80cm Available at Graham Fine Art

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“Hawaiian Heliconia” 2010 Private Collection

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"Plumeria for Rell" 1998

“Plumeria for Rell” 1998  Private Collection

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“Hibiscus Leilani” 2012 Private Collection

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The Isles of Gold and Mediterranean Blues

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Over 20 years ago, during my first visit to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, I saw a painting that has inspired me ever since.
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“Les Iles d’ Or” or “The Islands of Gold”, created by Henri-Edmond Cross in 1892 as he was living on the Cote d’ Azur of Southern France.
This pointillist work continues to resonate with me after all these years with its scintillating dots of colors and light.
It is a painting that evokes my fascination with water; the myriad shades of blue, the dance of light and shadow on the sea floor, and the play of reflections on the water’s surface.

Mallorca seascape painting by Caroline Zimmermann

“Mallorca Blues” by Caroline Zimmermann    100cm x 100cm Graham Fine Art

Earlier this May we spent a week on the Cote d’Azur that so influenced Cross and many other Impressionist painters…

Zimmermann-water-paintings-19Stopping along the many beaches and harbors, taking in the views and the occasional aperitif of a good Bandol rose…

Caroline Zimmermann in Sanary sur Mer, France

Sanary su Mer and its delightful harbor. Future paintings waiting to happen!

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"Mediterranean Reflections" painting by Caroline Zimmermann, showing at Lahaina Galleries

“Mediterranean Reflections II” by Caroline Zimmermann    38″x40″ at Lahaina Galleries

Zimmermann-water-paintings-23Living in Tuscany is bliss, but every so often I need to return to the sea.

Zimmermann-water-paintings-22 Zimmermann-water-paintings-17 Zimmermann-water-paintings-12Collecting sea glass is one of my many forms of meditation and there were so many treasures to be found.

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We then discovered the island of Porquerolles, with its beautiful beaches and sheltered coves.

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“Mediterranean Blues V” painting by Caroline Zimmermann, available at Lahaina Galleries

“Mediterranean Blues V” by Caroline Zimmermann
34”x 48” Lahaina Galleries

Then the Henri-Edmond Cross painting came to life:

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Truly where Art meets Life! Over a hundred years after the painting was created, I could visualize what Cross saw as he painted.

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Murohy von Mülheim on Porquerolles Island, France

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I have always lived by the sea. caroline-zimmermann-boat

My many years spent chasing waves kept me constantly in and around salt water.Of course I had to take a swim.

Caroline-Zimmermann-swimming-the-MedAlthough the water of the Med in May is chilly, it felt great to be in such beautiful clear water. It was much like the waters off the coast of Turkey with the amazing shades of blue.

“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths”  47” x 36”  Lahaina Galleries

“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths”
47” x 36” Lahaina Galleries

The Little Crab always returns to the sea… It was good to be back. 
Caroline Zimmermann on Porquerolles Island

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New Paintings at Lahaina Galleries

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“Mediterranean Reflections” 38” x 40” Oil on Canvas

An exhibition of new works by Caroline Zimmermann at the Lahaina Galleries in Newport Beach, California from March 7, 2015.

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“Cloud Sky II” Maldives  – Oil on Canvas 30″ X 30″

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“Chianti Harvest Colors” 30”x40” Oil on Canvas

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“Vintage Crystal Cove” Laguna Beach  30″ X 40”  Oil on Canvas

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“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths”  47” x 36”  Oil on Canvas

“Mediterranean Blues: Cleopatra’s Baths”
47” x 36” Oil on Canvas

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“Beyond Crystal Cove” Laguna Beach  20”x 59” Oil on Canvas

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“North Shore Blue Wave” 36″ X 48″ Limited Edition Print

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“Reflections of Tuscany” Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany 38” X 40” Oil on Canvas

"Return to Wood's Cove" 17” X 40” Oil on Canvas

“Return to Wood’s Cove”
17” X 40” Oil on Canvas

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“Poppies and Grain” 30”x40” Oil on Canvas

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“Sunflowers in a Summer Breeze” 24”x40” Oil on Canvas

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“The Conversation” 40”x40”  Oil on Canvas

“The Conversation”
40”x40” Oil on Canvas

“Little Drake”  20”x16” Oil on Canvas

“Little Drake”
20”x16” Oil on Canvas

To enquire about any of these paintings please don’t hesitate to email Lahaina Galleries or call (800) 228-2006.

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Caroline Zimmermann at Lahaina Galleries

The End of Summer 2013’s most welcome news is my being taken on by Lahaina Galleries for representation. 

Callie Wray and her fantastic team at their Fashion Island gallery have made me feel most welcome.
My work has never been more beautifully displayed, I am honored to be included with such a great group of talented artists.

“Summer Evening Tide, Hollister Ranch” 16″x39″

I look forward to working with the Lahaina Ohana and greatly anticipate their upcoming events.
Click here to view my work at the gallery.
An introductory show on the 7th of December… check back for further details!

Waves of Inspiration: Sunflowers

“Sunflower Wave” 40″x40″ oil painting

Sunflowers speak to me of happy and content memories in my family’s garden in Anaheim.

As a child, I would lose myself for hours helping my mother and father with their various tasks of tending their large backyard garden.The mild weather in Southern California made for a botanical paradise for my parents. Both are originally from Europe and they would marvel at the growing conditions as all seasons of the year brought forth their bounty.

Zimmermann Family, Anaheim California

A favorite in the garden was always the Sunflower. My father would recall how he and his family grew vast fields of sunflowers in the steppes of Romania for oil. He and his family would eat the seeds as a tasty snack and at age 84 he still enjoys growing them to this day.

MFA Show California College of the Arts, Oakland 1994

This history inspired the many Sunflower Portraits I created for my MFA show in 1994. The Sunflower perfectly defines the cycle of Life and Death, and the fascinating beauty of each phase. I created over 30 12×12 inch portraits of the flower in each stage of growth, and displayed them in grid form for my Master’s of Fine Arts show.

Two years after that I went to Tuscany for the first time and had my first glimpse of those European sunflower fields much like my father described to me from his childhood.And so began my creation of larger scale field paintings… waves of golds and greens…gorgeous swaths of texture and pattern. The blooming of a sunflower field is a sign that summer has indeed arrived.

“Song of the Sunflowers” oil painting

My search for Sunflower Inspirations has led me to the back country roads of Provence and Tuscany. Every field has its character and charm, every year is different. Helianthus Annuus is native to the Americas, worshipped by the natives as food source and sacred plant. Sunflower seeds were first introduced to Europe in the 16th century, where it was grown as a source of cooking oil.

“Girasole” in Italian, “Tournesol” in French…. both names describing a “country” myth; sunflowers do not turn with the daily passing of the sun.

In most fields the flowers do grow facing east; the morning sun. The immature flower heads do track the sun, so the concept is not entirely untrue.Heliotropism is the process that causes the plants to grow in a uniform alignment facing the sun.

“Siena Sunflowers” Tuscany oil painting

I can’t help but smile, at each flower’s “face” (technically called an inflorescence) has an individual character. Even with this “uniform alignment”, some flowers grow facing sideways…

“Sunflower for Susan” oil painting

Nature begets individuality…

This is a key to my painting sunflower fields: No two flowers are ever identical. For me, each flower takes on its personality.

“Sunflowers of the Luberon” oil painting

I’ve embraced Van Gogh’s divine madness for this flower. I’ll definitely continue to ride this wave of inspiration with my latest and largest  sunflower painting “Sunflower Wave”

Related: The Elusive Sunflower and Rare Antique Frames

See Caroline’s available Sunflower Paintings on her Virtual Gallery
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Waves of Inspiration: Lavender

"Waves of Lavender and Grain" Provence Oil Painting 24"x36"

“Waves of Lavender and Grain” Provence Oil Painting 24″x36″

Our winter travels have brought us back to Tuscany and what looks to be a soggy spring. Nothing warms my painter’s heart more than recalling warm, dry summers past in Provence and the sensual experience of painting lavender.

I’ve recently completed my latest lavender painting: “Waves of Lavender and Grain” with that in mind… evoking all my heady memories of time spent in Provence in pursuit of those most gorgeous of lavender fields and that perfect light.

Lavender fields can be found everywhere in Provence…

from the famous and often photographed Sénanque Abbey near the village of Gordes in the Vaucluse region…

“Lavender of the Luberon”

to the magnificent lavender of the Luberon…

and the epic fields of lavender of the Valensole plain in the Alpes-de-Haute department of Provence.

The crisp, clean and calming fragrance of Lavender… contented buzzing of the bees… the soft textures of lavender and grain…

I pick up my brushes to paint, and I am back there again.

“Lavender Light” 30″x40″

Related: Harvest of Lavender in Tuscany and Provence

See more of Caroline’s lavender paintings in her Virtual Gallery and Provence Gallery.

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Waves of Inspiration: Hawaii

It was December, 1988. My board and bag were packed, and I had just won a $500 award from the City of Laguna Beach’s public arts competition. I was ready: it was my first trip to Hawaii and I was going by myself.

Off the plane: CZ’s first visit to Hawaii 1988

Not only did adventure await, but the course of my Life would be changed forever.

It was my first encounter with the South Pacific and the power of the Hawaiian swells. I’ll never forget seeing winter waves on the North Shore of Oahu for the first time. The sheer magnitude, mass and size of the waves are awesome sights… and definitely a Force to be reckoned with.

“North Shore Blue Wave” 36″x48″

All these years later I’m finally painting waves. It has taken so long, as Life brings me around to this subject, it’s not full circle, but more like a spiral. Last year I found myself painting water, just tranquil scenes of water. In a continuation of the theme, I’m challenging myself with moving water. But it’s not simply about water in movement, in these paintings I’m making waves.

On the other side of the world a breath of wind conspired with the sea to create this wave. A wave of energy that traveled through the waters, across many thousands of miles to arrive on the North Shore of Hawaii. And there, its energy dissipated, but its beauty and majesty was captured, by my friend and North Shore Photographer Bernie Baker.

“Wall of Water” Ke-Iki Beach, Oahu

Bernie has sent me numerous photos over the years that have tantalized my creative imagination. How many times had I seen these waves, surfing Sunset Beach, Mākaha, Bali, Tahiti.. how many times had I dreamed of them. With his photographs Bernie marks their passage in time.
In these paintings I’m not wanting to copy Bernie’s gifted and talented eye, or recreate his master photography with paint. Bernie has kindly let me use his images  as stepping stones of inspiration, and it’s been a fun and wonder-filled collaboration.

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With these paintings I am able to reflect on my time spent in Hawaii….

Secret Spot, Lanai

The countless trips in Search of Surf…

“Yellow Hibiscus” 11″x14″

The precious times spent on the West Side with the people of Mākaha.

Yvon Chouinard, Rell Sunn, Sam George, Caroline Zimmermann
Mākaha, 1992

My incredible fortune to have befriended their “Queen”, Rell Sunn.

“Mākaha Red Hibiscus” 11″x14″

The Westside was magical, and drew me back time and time again.

“Mākaha Palm” oil painting 1995

Not just for the fabulous waves and beautiful views, but to spend time in the company of Rell.

CZ with Mākaha Royalty

Rell truly was Mākaha royalty, but in true Hawaiian Style, she held court in the most generous and big hearted way. She welcomed us, haole and outsiders, with open arms and open house.

Rell Sunn and the Westside Wahine
1994

Surfing Mākaha with the Wahine….the girls. I’d never surfed a spot where women made up 50% of the lineup, and at a serious break like Mākaha, the waves were not for the faint at heart. Somehow, with time and Rell’s benevolent graces, I was accepted.

photo: Bernie Baker

Over the course of four years I surfed some of the best waves of my Life, there at Mākaha.

“Mākaha” oil painting 1994

Truly, one of the greatest gifts my Life has given me was the time I spent with Rell.

CZ & Rell Sunn, Lanai

Rell’s death in 1998 from cancer left a huge gaping hole in all our lives. With the passing years I’ve been able to fill that emptiness with all the goodness and beauty in Surfing and the Sea.

“Plumeria for Rell” 1998

Every plumeria I paint, every hibiscus, and now every wave is an homage to Rell…

“Little Hula Heaven” oil painting 1998

Ka-polioka’ehukai: Heart of the Sea.

photo Dennis Oda
1983 Star-Bulletin photo of Rell Sunn.

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