Friday, November 25, 2011


I cleverly fanigled an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner with Joan.  She is my 90-year-old friend and role model for staying sharp and in good shape.  Check us out at the gym:

Joan comes from Missouri, Heartland of America, and she prides herself on preparing a down home Midwest Thanksgiving dinner.  The real thing.  Hey, no objections from me.  But really, Joan, is drinking champagne a Midwest custom too?  Just kidding.  Here's the turkey.

And the turkey carver:
Peter had been watching videos on how to carve a turkey and announced that he was carving it the "New Way": carving the breast after pulling it off the frame (not while it's still on the frame, the way it is usually done).  Hurray for Peter, he did a splendid job.  Beautiful Nuria rewards him with a kiss.

Sorry, I was not fast enough to catch her actually kissing him.

Joan and Nuria

Once we started eating I forgot all about taking pictures.  You know how that goes.  Suffice it to say that everything Joan had prepared was superb, from the pumpkin soup to the turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, and pear cobbler with vanilla ice cream!  All of it totally YUM!  To round it off, Nuria and Peter prepared a fresh and crispy salad, and even I came up with a vegetable dish of green beans and carrots.
The conversation around the table was so animated that we stayed much longer than expected.  Peter had lived in Indonesia and other places in Southeast Asia, and Nuria is from Spain, so we roamed all over the world with our stories.  I give thanks to the beauty around us and within, the abundance of food and friendship, and the all-encompassing love that holds us each and every moment.  

Sunset from Joan's lanai


Elsha Bohnert, 2011
"Healing Mirrors"
Acrylic on paper
26" x 36"
Elsha Bohnert, 2011
"Pull Me In"
Acrylic on paper
26" x 36"
Elsha Bohnert, 2011
"Story Shiva"
Acrylic on paper
26" x 36"
Elsha Bohnert, 2011
"Laxity Dog"
Collage, acrylic on paper
26" x 36"

The paintings above came out of the recent workshops with Timothy Ojile.  Most of them have been reworked afterwards.  For instance, "Laxity Dog" is a collage added to the painting I did on the word Laxity.  (Timothy gave everyone a different word to paint)  Some of the other assignments were: 
- Think of a story and paint it
- Discover another planet and paint it 

In Open Studio today, Jahn-Peter and I played with the idea of giving ourselves assignments.  Neither of us was terribly serious about it, but still, it's a fun thought. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


The assignment was to paint ourselves as both baby and old person.  Here Timothy is holding up Kristen's strangely evocative painting.  Kristen was actually quite shocked at what had come from her brush.  That's exactly what I like about Timothy's classes.  You never know what you're going to come up with.  It may be something lovely or something weirdly alien.  I blame the discordant music Timothy plays during class for inciting us to come up with the latter. 

I wish I had taken pictures of all the work that was done in the three sessions to show the amazing expressive talents of everyone in the class, but I only have the following photos.

Self portraits:

Portraits of self as baby and old woman:

Just painting...

Tamara's gorgeous painting of herself in the future
This is a team portrait of Timothy as Angel and Devil:
Maria and I painted Angelic Timothy on the left. 
Notice his halo, his sweetly-pulsing heart, and the flowery words flowing out of his mouth!
Cynthia and Mae did Timothy's dark side: fangs, pitch fork, and stinger tail.
Hey, nothing like making fun of the teacher!
Look for more pictures of my work in my next post.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Self Portrait as Phil sees me.

Any time Timothy Ojile offers a workshop it is a treat for me.  I cannot even remember what the title of the current series is.  The moment I heard about it, I signed up.  No questions asked.  Three Sundays in November from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at Linekona.  Wheeeee!!!!

A painting depicting my muteness and powerlessness growing up in the war.

My alien creature

Self portrait of me as Baby (barely visible) and Crone

Shared painting depicting our Inner Bully


Because Honolulu police are using Kapiolani Park as a staging area during the APEC summit and parking was not allowed along Kalakaua and Monsarrat, Kapiolani Park and Queen's Beach were practically deserted.  It made for the most peaceful sunset ever.

Even the police are taking pictures of the setting sun

Almost full moon over Kapiolani Park

Taking in the last rays

 Getting out of the water after a last float in the walled-in basin

Walking back home I catch the moon in the power lines.
All is peaceful as I wait for the light on Monsarrat and Paki to change.
Moon above... cool breeze... fresh air... no traffic... delicious...

A whoosh of tires behind me, then BANG!
A fellow in a motorized wheelchair, 
in a hurry to catch the last of the green light,
careens out of control, turns over, wheelchair and all, 
barely missing me.
He crashes with his head in the dirt by the sidewalk.
I rush over and find him lying still, crumpled beside his wheelchair.
Is that blood under his head?
I try to wake him.  He does not respond.  Someone else runs over to help.
I call 911.  Give the location.  Within a minute the first police car arrives.
Sirens.  Flashing lights. 
Ambulance arrives.  Then the firetruck and two more police cars.
Why so many?
I don't know if it's okay to take pictures, so I limit myself to shooting only the vehicles.
I hope the guy is alright.  For a moment he came to, then went out again.  
I left shortly after, my peaceful walk disturbed by a crash and someone hurt.
Two thoughts: 
One:  What a blessing to live in a country where you can call 911 
and people trained in emergency procedures come immediately
with ambulances equipped with life-saving equipment.
 (This was not the case in Ubud, Bali.  
The ambulance there was just an old white van with a red cross painted on the outside.
Traffic did not stop.  Some motorbikes even hurried to overtake it.)

Two:  Since I believe everything happens for a reason,
why did I need to experience this?
What's the message?

I rushed over without a thought, but when I actually was with the hurt man,
I had no idea what to do.  It even took me a while to think of calling 911.
I completely blanked.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation like that?
I didn't think of checking to see if he was breathing.
All I did was touch his shoulder and say, "Are you okay? Are you okay?"
The guy was unconscious and that's what I ask him?!  Heaven help me.
 No amount of First Aid training works if you freeze like I did.

So the message may be to remember how my pride of self-sufficiency is a sham,
  and to see how out of control and truly dependent I am on others, like in,
"Don't think you're so special, girl, you're not any better,
you're just as vulnerable as everyone else."
On the other hand...
I was lucky the guy didn't crash into me or we'd have two people messed up.  
I wouldn't like that.  At all.
Things can happen in a split second, and life as you know it can be changed forever.
I squeaked by.  Boy, did I squeak by.  I did not get hurt.
Rather than living in fear at what might happen, could have happened...
I should just live in a state of perpetual gratitude.

Thank you!  Thank you!