Kupuna playing the ‘ohe hano ihu, picturesque coastlines, the quiet concentration of kumu hula guiding the next generation–the oil paintings of Edwin Kayton evoke a simpler time in Hawaii.
Kayton has been producing artwork for over three decades, portraying everything from ancient Hawaiian customs to the Tuscan countryside, which he and his sister and agent, Verna Keoho, have visited every year since 1997. After graduating from the Museum Art School in Portland, Kayton moved to Hawaii and began painting cultural scenes, ships, nature, hula and paniolo–in other words, nothing modern, technological or touristy. His time studying sculpture in Italy influenced his approach, adding new media in which to express himself. Working with koa, bronze, clay, marble, oil paints and simple drawing tools, Kayton is able to reimagine a past full of tradition and beauty.
“I work from life, from photographs and from my imagination,” he says in his instruction book, Composition and Oil Painting Technique, which is downloadable for free on his website. Kayton and Keoho will be at the Made In Hawaii Festival this weekend–a three-day showcase of art, food and other products made throughout the Islands.