Blue Sea Artisans featuring Martel in October

  • Mark Martel's “Canoes at Two Step” uses transparent acrylic washes to give a watercolor effect. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Mark Martel's acrylic of "The Painted Church" shows the work in progress from top left to bottom right during a gallery work day. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

The Blue Sea Artisans featured member artist for the month of October is multimedia artist Mark Martel

Martel is one of those uncommon multimedia artists who ranges across many styles, from watercolor to gouache, acrylic, pastel or oil. He studied graphics at the University of Cincinnati and worked as an advertising art director and illustrator in Dayton, Ohio. When computers arrived he found he missed working by hand. He developed a passion for painting from life and drawing the human figure, which grew to include landscapes.


After he and his wife Kate moved to the Big Island in 2013, he began a fine arts career. In 2017, the Blue Sea Artisans cooperative gallery gave him the freedom to showcase his variety.

One vibrant series features native Hawaiian birds and other wildlife. His Masters series re-imagines famous paintings in a Hawaiian setting. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers become Protea flowers, a Picasso guitar player switches to ukelele, and Botticelli’s Venus turns surfer. A fusion of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Hiroshige’s. His art book, “If The Masters Painted Hawaii” collects his reworkings of famous artworks. “The Great Wave” depicts ancient Hawaiian villagers fleeing a volcanic eruption.

Martel expands his display of affordable ready-to-hang framed prints and canvas-wrap giclees. These and smaller prints and greeting cards reproduce his most popular works from a catalog of nearly 500 pieces created since moving to Hawaii. He is featuring new work “Cherry Blossom time in Waimea” and “Canoes at Two Step.” One painting fuses Japanese and Hawaiian mythology to envision a supernatural kind of air travel—by dragon. Another large canvas original “The Place of Refuge, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau.”


Martel will be working at the gallery Thursdays in October. The gallery, located in the Keauhou Shopping Center, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 6 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information, call the gallery at (808) 329-8000.

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