In the early hours of the morning, back in the winter of 2000, LeoHone awoke from a vision that gave her “chicken skin.” LeoHone could see the painting complete as it is now and knew something very special that had been entrusted to her. For some reason LeoHone had been chosen to do this; LeoHone felt that God was guiding her.
“As a paddler myself, I was baffled about the ama (outrigger) being on the right. I had only known it to be on the left and, to me, it was backwards. Although I spoke to no one of what I had “seen,” my hänai mother called me about a week later and told me she had just had a dream about the painting I would soon do. I started to respond but she interrupted, “No. Don’t talk. Let me tell you.” She described the exact same scene as I had seen and then asked me, “But why is the ama on the right?”
I told her, “I don’t know, Ma. I only know that I need to paint it exactly the way it has been given to me to do.” I have subsequently learned that fishing canoes are, more often than not, rigged on the right because more people than not are right-handed. They rig for their personal convenience and not because of some tradition.
The physical setting is the open ocean out from Honolulu Harbor looking towards Ewa. The model for the steersman in the canoe is modern day legend, Nappy Napoleon, my coach from Änuenue Canoe Club. The middle paddler is me. And It is you. It is “every man” – and the stormy sea is the sea of life. It is appropriate that the face of the middle paddler not be seen because the power of this painting lies in its individual message to each viewer.
Every person will sooner or later in life experience that middle seat. Just remember, there is always hope. There is always guidance. There is always help. For me, this painting is based on Psalm 91:11 & 12: “For he shall give His angels charge over thee and they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” - LeoHone
Mai poina ‘oukou i nā ‘ānela. Don’t forget the angels.