| 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