Kailua Artist’s Unique Snapshots: From Beach Days To Elvis Posted on September 19, 2012 by Nicole Kato
Kailua artist’s “Retro Hawaii” exhibit at Ho‘oma- luhia Botanical Garden gallery showcases beautiful paintings of the Waikiki Beach Days of the 1930s and ’40s, as well as the ’60s.
“I named it that because I started painting some of the old Waikiki Beach surfing photos of the past,” explained Marti Wiese Rounds. “I decided I would paint them and do a new twist. I tried to use a photo that was recognizable, but I used a different color scheme and have an unusual technique and style.”
Modernistic is the term Rounds uses to describe her artwork, which has a somewhat abstract rendering. “I say it because you can still recognize that it’s a person, or it’s Diamond Head, but it’s done in a different way. The way that I rendered them, you can’t tell who’s who.
“I’ve got Elvis in there when he was in Hawaii making movies, and I also have some old restaurants, and I painted their matchbooks — restaurants like Coco’sandTahitianLanai.”
About 65 people attended the show’s reception Sept. 9 in the park visitor center, and Rounds was pleased with the turnout and reaction. “I’m proud of it, but I was just absolutely beaming with their reactions to what they were seeing, and what I had done. It
was really fresh and new, and I think that’s what’s needed in the art community.”
For more than 15 years, Rounds was the stylist and colorist at G. Von Hamm Textiles, but during her time here she never created any art. “I always had a whole art staff that did everything, and they’re very good, so I was intimidated,” she confessed. But since her time there, she has followed her own path as a freelance textile artist, creating many works that bring a sense of peace to the viewer.
“The photographs are so flat,” said Rounds, “yet when you really see the paintings in person, it draws you in. It’s very unusual.”
“Retro” also features Rounds’ fabric florals, in which the dye that goes on to the canvas becomes like watercolor.
The show is open through Oct. 3, and the public is invited to watch Rounds demonstrate her techniques from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 29-30.
For more information, email the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 233-7323.