Loren D. Adams has been called the greatest seascape painter of all time. His newest exhibition at the King Kamehemeha Golf Club showcases some of his finest works over the past 50 years. The exhibit is dedicated to helping the Hui O Wa`a Kaulua in raising funding for the Mo`okiha o Pi`ilani and canoe restoration. Thirty percent of the proceeds from specific paintings will go towards the cause.
Adams’ journey as an artist began when he was a boy, painting and drawing in front of the television, with fond memories of his kindergarten teacher holding up his drawings to be put on the bulletin board. He remembers later in high school, being asked to stand in the corner for misbehaving, and taking chalk to the wall. He painted a massive mural of the Hoover Damn that the school kept for the following semester. It was in these years that Adams began taking his art seriously. After graduating high school, and then Sacramento State, he became a nurse.
He was in the ER and saw a lot of action, going home every night with a “broken heart,” said Adams. At the same time he had his first museum show. One of his supervising nurses asked if she could buy a painting from him, and after he sold it for $300, he went directly to the director of nursing and resigned. Today, single paintings by Adams have sold for tens of thousands of dollars.
“The next week I was part of a traveling nomadic tribe of artists, gypsy style,” he said. He joined a tribe that traveled across the mainland, showcasing their work at Ernest Hahn shopping centers, sometimes 500 miles apart. Loren reminisced on this time of, “circling the wagons in the parking lots with bonfires, playing accordions and guitars.”
The tour eventually came to an end in Canada, where he, after developing a following of collectors and repeat buyers, opened an art school in Vancouver. He had 27 students studying under him at the time, some of which went on to convert the space to the now well-known Creekhouse Gallery.
From there Adams began publishing fine art prints and has continued both painting and publishing ever since.
Patty, Adams’ “darling and eternal companion,” said that “seldom you see an artist with the ability that Loren has, and the vision that he has, come into intersection. That’s were the magic happens. He not only has the vision, but the ability to bring that vision into being.”
This is true of all of Adams’ works. Self-described as coastal and seascape surrealism, his paintings have a dreamlike déjà vu to them. Often you find yourself being transported to different worlds and realities, captivated by these environments that seem familiar, though you’ve never seen them before. Many paintings have such a gravity that you almost feel you could step inside.
“I don’t want [viewers] to take things for granted,” he said. “We are living in a disposable society, and it’s better if people realize that nothing worthwhile comes easy. I’ve been wealthy several times, and I’ve been poor several times. It’s the difficult times that turned me into the person that I love and respect.”
Adams, now a grandfather and great grandfather, has made his home on Maui for many years, and still paints with the vigor and passion he had in his junior year, handful of chalk, facing the wall. His latest piece, completed just last week, is a cataclysmic meeting of volcano and sea. It’s a powerful image, titled “Metamorphosis.”
Adams’ newest piece is more peaceful. He describes looking down at the sea from atop rolling hills, amidst a small village with a church.
“The beginning of a new era of paintings,” said Patty. “He really wants his paintings to give a gift to someone, whenever they look at them. We’ve heard a lot of stories from different people coming home from difficult days, putting their feet up and staring into the paintings. Being transported to a whole different world and reality and, somehow, coming back to themselves.”
The gallery in the Wai Kahe Room of the King Kamehameha Golf Club will feature these works of art for an indefinite time, with Adams doing live painting sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm. Collectors, art lovers and anyone interested in meeting the artist are welcome to come and say hello.
On Sunday, Dec. 10, the club’s Kahili Restaurant with feature the works of Adams and seven other local artists for their Holiday Fine Art Exhibition. Complimentary refreshments dinner and cocktails will be available 4:30-6:30pm.
King Kamehameha Golf Club
2500 Honoapi`ilani Hwy., Waikapu