painting in acrylic on canvas of a pair of signs for the Hawaiin Motel on a sunny day.
Copyright 2023 Lisa R. Tennant
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 30" x 36"
Price: $3300
Exhibition: 2020 Signs of a Recent Past Solo Exhibition, Cultural Activities Center, Temple, TX and Vive Les Arts Theatre, Killeen, TX
Description/Story: Although this scene is bright and cheery, it's origin is from a couple of snapshots that I only had a few moments for. The reference was actually quite dull on one of the few gloomy days in Florida. I always wanted to stop by to sketch and take some reference photos, but I'm lucky to have done it when I did since I have moved away from Florida. It is unfortunate that the Hawaiian lady no longer looks like this. These signs become faded and some repairs need to be made at a huge cost to the owner. And so, the lady was painted without much regard to it's original character and the Hawaii neon lettering was removed along with the spears. The second sign above and to the side of her has it's main post painted black. As I looked for a bit of history on this pair, I saw photos taken by others and an old postcard from it's heyday. So, I decided to "resotore" at least some of the look of the sign as best as I could and pull it into a sunnier disposition with a typical blue sky and wispy clouds. The original look came from the postcard which showed that the upper sign used to actually hover over the dancer. That I could not fix, but it also showed that the post it stands on was originally painted to look like a bamboo stalk which I could do something with. Other photos that showed the neon below the girl I tried to imitate, and then finally the original look of the paint job of the dancer showed she had two flowers, not one; had a different look to her eyes and mouth with distinct eyebrows, and the grass skirt was more typical of a Hawaiian dancer with leaves instead of grass, in which their outlines were in red with white streaks over mint green; and finally, I added the spears minus the neon tubes around them which was a challenge to make them believable. I'm sure I don't have everything right, but I do think I restored some of its original charm. So, if you are an avid sign hunter, no, it does not look like this anymore, but I hope to bring a smile to everyone that sees it.
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