KILAUEA — Sitting cross-legged on the floor of her Kilauea studio, Amy Vieira dips a brush in acrylic paint as she cradles a small canvas on her lap. The painting she is hovering over features a purple spotted dog looking up at two local boys playing their guitars. An orange cat stands on the windowsill. The artist explains the purple dog in the painting is a representation of her friend’s black and white spotted dog, Lilly.
“All of my work is based on what it looks like to live here with animals,” Vieira said.
Vieira’s love for animals and nature is obvious to the most casual observer after looking through the artists’ collection of vibrant, folk art paintings.
In “Octopus’ Garden,” a bikini-clad purple he‘e stretches her tentacles as surfers ride the waves above. In another acrylic painting, playful pooches pack in the back of a purple SUV painted with red hibiscuses.
Vieira is one of five artists featured in “Bow Wow Meow: Art Fundraiser for the Kaua‘i Humane Society.” Other animal artists participating in the show include Kim Van Antwerp, R. Eve Solomon, Schar Freeman and Pam Woolway.
The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of September at Alley Kat Art in Kapa‘a. The show’s opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, which coincides with the Old Kapa‘a Town Art Walk.
Saturday’s opening reception includes live music by Lee Richardson, who used to perform with the Honolulu Symphony, and Kevin Wheatley. Gallery owner Kathy McClelland-Cowan will lead the Fire Kitties in a fire-dancing performance.
A portion of the money raised will be donated to the Kaua‘i Humane Society.
“I like to be able to support the community,” McClelland-Cowan said. “It’s good when businesses jump on board and support nonprofits in this shifting economy. We all need to help.” She added that her own cat, Nutmeg, was a rescue kitten at the Kaua‘i Humane Society.
During the month of September, Vieira will have eight of her bright, animal-inspired paintings on display at Alley Kat Art.
“I know a painting works when a kid approaches it and smiles,” Vieira said. “That’s my target, it’s not the important gallery owner, it’s the little kid that smiles without thinking about it. That’s when I feel like I’m serving my highest purpose.”
While Vieira is an accomplished painter — she has been commissioned to paint for galleries in Japan and India — she credits her move to Hawai‘i in 1998 as a turning point in her career.
“When I moved here, I had found a style that was going to support itself in the future with ideas, and it was totally different then anything I ever even considered doing,” she said. “I love how beautiful it is here and love all the animals. I have an unlimited amount of ideas for painting, and I don’t think I can do it elsewhere.”
Vieira said her highest purpose is pure love. The artist is also a vegetarian, which she said makes her conscious of loving animals and the relationships she has with them.
Pam Woolway, volunteer coordinator for the Kaua‘i Humane Society, was inspired to help organize the art show when she started making recycled bottlecap magnets decorated with photos of shelter animals for her volunteers.
“I just want to bring awareness of how much animals give us without even trying,” Woolway said. “They’re just happy beings. It doesn’t even matter what happened to them before they get to (the Kaua‘i Humane Society). They are always in a happy mood.”
“And they give that mood to us,” Vieira interjected. “That’s why they are pure love to me. We are helping them, but they are actually helping us.”
Want to go?
What: “Bow Wow Meow: Art Fundraiser for the Kaua‘i Humane Society” opening reception, featuring live music and fire dancing
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Alley Kat Art located at 4-1373C Kuhio Hwy in Kapa‘a (located in the alley behind Island Hemp and Cotton and next to the Dragon Building)
Cost: Free, but donations are welcome.
• Andrea Frainier, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or afrainier@ thegardenisland.com.
Pam Woolway is a writer and artist working for Kauai Humane Societyas their volunteer coordinator. Her life revolves around animalsand the arts.
(Courtesy of Pam Woolway).
Kim Van Antwerp
Trained in painting and drawing, Kim Van Antwerp is a self-taughtlampwork bead maker and jewelry artist. She brings a love ofanimals and fun to her work, which features playful colors andwinsome characters. Along with glass and jewelry, Kim is exploringtextile design, experimenting with screen-printing techniques andhand-painting with dyes on clothing and tote bags.
Originally from Texas, Kim moved to California in 2008 and toKaua‘i in January 2011. Her other interests include surfing,snowboarding, mountain biking, reading and travel.
(Courtesy of Kim Van Antwerp)
R. Eve Solomon
R. Eve Solomon received a BFA in painting and worked as a socialworker, proofreader, graphic artist, art teacher and puppeteer inMaryland, California and Illinois. Since moving to Kaua‘i in 1985,she has done portraits, display, graphics, puppetry, pictureframing, taught art, served as director of the Kaua‘i Academy ofCreative Arts. She has served on the boards of the Garden IslandArts Council and the Kaua‘i Society of Artists. Eve works invarious media and formats, including decorative brush paintings ofbamboo, life drawings, ceramics and jewelry. Her intent is toamuse, including herself. The animal jewelry was inspired by theBarkitecture show held by the GIAC in the late ’90s and has provenpopular.
(Courtesy of R. Eve Solomon)
Schar Freedman discovered her passion for art and the pure aloha ofHawaiian Islands very early in her childhood. She learned of herroots here with many tales from great aunts and great uncles abouther great grandfather’s journey from Spain to Kaua‘i in the late1800s.
For several years Schar found fun inspiration from being acaregiver to the Salt Pond feral cat colony. She now lives with a21 pound cat named Kookie, that she rescued from the Kaua‘i HumanSociety. Kookie is her daily inspiration to create whimsical andsome not-so-whimsical kitty paintings.
Schar is an award-winning artist recognized for her vibrant use ofcolor, whimsical figures, breathtaking landscapes and women ofNative American and Hawaiian cultures.
(Courtesy of Schar Freeman)