The five feet high by twenty feet wide original oil on canvas was created for the designers and owners’ team of the Waikiki Banyan, a condo hotel in Waikiki. Because it is for an open-air lobby you can see it from Ohua Avenue. As the painter of “the Best Beaches of Hawaii,” I was particularly happy to be able to paint Waikiki in 1870 before the buildings went up, where coconut trees used to grow, when it was arguably the best beach in the world!
The story of Helumoa, which means something about an important chicken, goes like this. Long ago, the chief of Waikiki had a significant dream about a chicken pecking at the ground. Upon awakening he declared that the area was Kapu, an area forbidden to commoners. The coconuts that fell remained untouched and eventually grew into a massive coconut grove of over 10,000 palms. The painting is based on a circa 1870 Hawaii State Archive black and white photograph. It is an accurate depiction except for the four coconut trees in the foreground. Supposedly, there are a few of these trees still standing on the grounds of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.