With Pineapple Painting Tours, clients don’t stop to smell the
roses; they stop to paint a picture. But the end result is the
same, as visitors take the time to appreciate the beauty of
Hawaii’s nature through art.
Professional artists Linda Kane and Jinni Mitchell run the
creative company. Kane is an established professor at the
University of Hawaii, while Mitchell who took her first painting
class with Kane is an award-winning artist whose skills also
include sculpture and jewelry. As the two became friends, they
started talking about how to parlay their love of painting into a
profitable business, moving away from academics and toward tourism.
After months of fine-tuning their ideas, they started Pineapple
Painting Tours in May of 2005. Today, it’s the only company of its
kind in Hawaii.
I joined the duo for one of their morning sessions at Honolulu’s
Magic Island, which provides classic views of Diamond Head. Kane
and Mitchell explained how they make their tours accessible to
everyone, from beginners to practiced artists. It starts with the
tools, said Mitchell.
“Working with high-quality materials makes a huge difference in
watercolor,” she said. “Even if you’ve never painted, you get a
beautiful end result.”
Each of us used a Russian squirrel brush
, chosen because it holds a lot of water and comes to an amazingly
sharp point; and French cold press watercolor paper, which feels at
once durable and luxurious. Participants worked on self-centering
tripod easels, on top of which sat our pochade (wooden box) holding
a watercolor tray, extra paints and brushes, water and paper.
Donning aprons, we primed our paper with a wet brush and began our
excursions into plein air (outdoor) painting, well-suited to
Hawaii’s climate. Luckily, each participant had a cut-out of
Diamond Head’s distinctive profile to trace around, if they
“It’s not cheating,” Mitchell explained. “It simply relieves
non-artists of the pressure to create that line.”
From there, we began interpreting the scene however we wanted,
while our gurus gave us personalized attention. Kane and Mitchell
provided tips for putting the watercolors to their best use. They
showed us different techniques, like dabbing a paper towel on wet
paint to lighten or soften hues, and using strokes of different
colors for texture and movement.
I’ve looked at Diamond Head hundreds of times, but during the
painting class, I noticed for the first time just how quickly the
light changed, altering the look of the volcano and the landscape
around it. That’s why Kane hopes clients will take the tour at the
beginning of their visit to Oahu.
“Painting helps you relax, slow down and look at nature more
clearly than you would normally,” she said. “We’re sharing our love
of the great outdoors. Sometimes we hear back from clients who say
they picked up more watercolor materials
after going on our tour and continued painting throughout the rest
of their vacation.”
As we painted, Mitchell handed out snacks: fresh-baked blueberry
scones, ice coffee, bottled water and pineapple chunks. Her
Pomeranian, Trouser, browsed the group, ready for pats. Taking a
break, fellow artists compared artworks, delighted over how
different each perception varied from the next.
Clients can also book Pineapple Painting Tours’ excursion to a
hibiscus farm on the North Shore. Each participant picks a flower
to paint while sitting under a mango tree, followed by lunch at
Wailua Bakery, a local favorite.
Along with their two standard tours, Kane and Mitchell can
customize sessions for individuals and groups, such as executives
who need an artistic break between meetings.
“We have equipment for up to 30 people,” said Kane, “but we like
to keep the tours smaller and more intimate, so that people can
meet each other and chat while they’re painting.”
Agents will do well to pitch Pineapple Painting Tours to nature
lovers, retirees, return visitors and less physically active
At the end of the morning, Kane and Mitchell provided protective
sleeves for our masterpieces, each a one-of-a-kind vacation
souvenir. My panoramic Diamond Head watercolor now sits on my desk,
reminding me of a relaxing and eye-opening morning of painting in
Pineapple Painting Tours
91-1000 Uouoa St.
Ewa Beach, HI 96706
The four-hour Diamond Head painting class is offered daily at
8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The rate of $99 per person includes
transportation from area hotels, supplies and snacks. The six-hour
North Shore hibiscus painting tour costs $145 per person, including
transportation, supplies and lunch.
Clients can meet the artists behind Pineapple Painting Tours by
painting with them in the lobby of the Outrigger Waikiki. On the
second Monday of each month from 2-3 p.m., they run a program
called Postcards From Paradise, free for hotel guests.
Commission: 10-30 percent