Tonia Marks Baney  


Frank Lloyd Wright
40” x 40”
Client: Waikapu Partners Hawaii


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Frank Lloyd Wright was always a force in my life from childhood. Growing up in the Wisconsin, Spring Green Valley my Grandmother used to talk fondly of him as he was her distant cousin and friend. He used to drive through town in his buckboard with great cape flying behind, or so she said. My mother on the other hand would not allow us to go down to the river where the “students” swam for fear of nudity. It was typical to go to Taliesin for a picnic at the nearby park or visit our family graves at the cemetery across the road; and at a young age our school took us to outings through Taliesin or The House on the Rock.

It therefore was a pleasant surprise when the Waikapu Partners decided to build a 70,000 square foot Frank Lloyd Wright designed golf clubhouse on the slopes of the Waikapu Valley on Maui and chose me to paint Mr. Wright for their new building.

Mr. Wright died in 1959 and the architect for the project was Mr. John Rattenbury and his wife Kay. Both are architects and had been with Mr. Wright at Taliesin East. They then traveled across country with Mr. Wright and other students in an historic journey to find the Scottsdale property which became Taliesin West.

Upon the commission approval I was invited to stay at Taliesin West and peruse the archives for photos which could be used to portray Mr. Wright. I chose those where he was seated working at his desk so that I could then draw the final architectural plans upside down and foreshortened.

Through John and Kay’s constant direction I was able to achieve the representation of his eye color, the old swelling from a break in his wrist; the proper color of his skin and the direction to make him younger then the photos I was using: This would represent his age when he designed the buildings used to make up the final configuration of the clubhouse.

The painting continues to hang in what is now called the King Kamehameha Golf Club and I am told it draws many visitors.

Quote from John Rattenbury: “Tonia, God gave you a great talent…you have a true sense of beauty and great skill” —John Rattenbury, Co-founder and President, Taliesin Architect, Scottsdale, Arizona

"Long, Hard Journey: From the Pen Of Frank Lloyd Wright to Hawaii"
By BRETT CAMPBELL - April 19, 2007 - Wall Street Journal Click Here to See Article

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    © 2012, Tonia Marks Baney