About Shay Niimi Wahl

About the Artist

Hi, I’m Shay! Here is a little bit about me.

The once-thriving sugar plantation town of Paauilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is where I grew up. Except for the first years in Honolulu, it was country upbringing that made me aware of the beauty and diversity of the island that I tried to copy in drawings and simple paintings. My mother’s love for flowers and my father’s respect for nature still live in me, along with a carefree country lifestyle.

In college I double-majored in International Studies and Sociology. I loved learning the cultural aspects of various nations, especially their art. I then went into public education and upon retirement from a career in teaching, where I integrated art in the elementary classroom as much as possible, I began life as a full-time artist, a dream come true! I painted to my heart’s content.

What I hadn’t expected in retirement was to make many new friends and resume teaching as an art teacher to adults for the following twelve years. I hope I’ve left many with a love for painting with watercolors and a method to get started and continue on as artists on their own. In teaching, the teacher always learns more than is expected and that is what occurred with me. I am so very grateful for the unexpected.

I paint mainly with watercolors on silk and paper, often with sumi ink and acrylic paints, always beginning with the traditional Asian method of gongbi, which is a meticulous detailed style of painting originated in early China. I like to include strokes of the spontaneous style of Chinese painting, xieyi, resulting in a painting with a combination of styles and also a combined flavor of the east and west, the way it’s like to live in Hawaii, known as the melting pot of the Pacific where many cultures meet and mix and share Hawaii’s aloha. My paintings are an expression of that aloha and a deep appreciation of the boundless beauty found in nature. Our beautiful surroundings inspire me to worship the Creator by way of a brush and a rainbow of colors.

I live in Waikoloa Village on Hawaii Island with my happily retired and very supportive husband, Ric, and our sweet Border Collie, Hoku. I have a very small studio in our home. This website is a portfolio of my paintings, many of which are in galleries. I hope you enjoy it. Please visit the Wishard Art Gallery located in Hawi and the Gallery of Great Things in Waimea, both on this island. Prints are also in the Gallery at Bamboo in Hawi and Kilauea Kreations in Volcano. I also paint by commission either through the galleries or by directly contacting me.

Thank you for visiting!