Playful Dragons

There are two great reasons to head to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden’s art gallery. No. 1, it’s the Year of the Dragon and those beautiful, mysterious, frightening creatures are mighty playful in renderings by Warren Stenberg, Char Hughes, Dan VanZyle and Mary Flynn. No. 2, nature’s art is at its most resplendent in this veritable Garden of Eden.

Stenberg is no stranger to the gallery with his plein-air works capturing our gorgeous outdoors. For this show, Dragons in the Garden, he’s created a series of three Garden Dragons – dual-toned canvases sporting clawed, fanged monsters that are just shy of ferocious, more along the vibe of Where The Wild Things Are.

Dan VanZyle, Mary Flynn, Char Hughes and Warren Stenberg

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Dan VanZyle, Mary Flynn, Char Hughes and Warren Stenberg with their artwork.

Hughes’ contributions are in the form of quilts that suck you into another realm, all fantasy and shimmery with deep hues and gold thread. Mating Frenzy is a patchwork in shades of desert tan and iceberg blue imbedded with a large square featuring a batik dragon. Miniature Dragons is in forest green with cloth folds that concentrically overlap forming several spheres that each nest a different species of lizard. Mutation‘s dragon features feathers, sequins and a shimmery egg.

VanZyle turns a microscope on nature, depicting various fauna in minute detail. His Lung Dragon is a mixed media painting with Chinese dragon dancers in the foreground and a couple of sea dragons cavorting in front of mountains that look suspiciously like the Koolaus. The jade dragons are reminiscent of sea anemones with spindly horns, a long, flowing mustache and manes overflowing with a preponderance of tentacles.

Flynn got particularly creative with the theme, associating the mythical beasts with various items, including a few sea critters: Leafy Dragon, a mixed media seahorse brimming with dragon-like appendages; Moray Dragon Eel, a golden tiger-striped eel in watercolor, and a sunshine yellow Dragon Koi. Gecko and Dragonfly is a study of the title characters in the style of Polynesian tattoo art, and Flynn also displays Dragon Lady (the silhouette of a lady in a robe carrying a dragon-painted rice paper umbrella), Dragon Duo (a dragon koi and a dragonfly), Hylocereus (the camouflaged shape of a woman nestled in the fleshy, spotted meat of a Hylocereus undatus, aka dragon fruit), and the self-explanatory Nine Dragonflies and Dragon Dance.

An extension of visiting these dragons suspended in play is to meander down the path to the enchanting reservoir where dragons may as well be sporting at the foot of the great Koolaus.

the TICKET stub

When: Daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through July 30
Where: Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden Gallery (45-860 Luluku Road, Kaneohe)
Cost: Free
More Info: 262-8306


Legends such as Michail Baryshnikov have sprung into their dance career from the floor-board of the prestigious International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Varna, Bulgaria. Following in the steps of the 1966 gold medal winner is 16-year-old Lily Foster of Hawaii State Ballet. She’s been in serious training for the past six years, taking 12 hours of classes plus a minimum of six hours of rehearsal per week, and performing in the company’s lead roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker at Mamiya Theatre in the past two years. On July 9 she set out for Bulgaria, where the competition happens from July 15 to 30.

“Though a dancer may be working at an advanced level, that in itself does not make one eligible for a world competition of this caliber,” says the school’s assistant director Gina Surles. “The dancer has to be strong mentally and physically, self-motivated, and has to have exceptional talent as well as clean, correct technique and good body proportions.”

Foster is one of only 130 competitors worldwide accepted into this year’s event, which features a junior (13-18) and a senior (19-26) division.

“Simply being accepted into this great competition is an honor – it’s like the Olympics of ballet,” says director John Landovsky, who is Foster’s coach and instructor.

At the competition, the dancers present their best classical and contemporary work and are whittled down in a series of three rounds, with the three finalists in each division receiving their respective bronze, silver and gold medals. There’s no better way to say it: Break a leg, Lily!