Talk story, paint a sugar skull at Painting Paradise

Dia De Los Muertos will come to life on canvas at Painting Paradise, but painting a sugar skull is just one chilling creation you can make at Marionette Taboniar’s Halloween open art studio meet-up.

Set for Saturday, Oct. 27 from noon to 2 p.m., the studio doors will be opened for art and crafting with spooky treats and haunting music in a open-form gathering for anyone.

“I do open studios every so often. Anyone can come and bring whatever you’re working on and talk story with artists,” said Taboniar. “Whether it’s jewelry or painting, or anything.”

Crafting and talking story is free at the open studio meet-up. But if you want to jump in on what Taboniar calls a side project, sugar skulls, you pitch $20 into the pot and grab a paint brush for some step-by-step instruction.

“It’s just a nice, quick project for people to do,” Taboniar said. “I have art classes throughout the week, that’s my main gig, but this is something fun for Halloween.”

Taboniar has been selling art and teaching classes out of Painting Paradise in Waimea for 12 years, and has lived on Kauai for 15 years.

Visitors and locals frequent her classes, and she has many return visitors every year who take some time to put a little paint on a canvas.

Watercolor and silk painting, reverse acrylics and traditional acrylic painting — Taboniar teaches a variety of styles and mediums and said she’s always looking for the next, most exciting art medium for experimentation.

Lately she’s been working with acrylic pouring, a technique that creates a fluid-like final product with multiple colors in different cells and odd patterns.

“It’s like chemistry and art combined,” Taboniar said. “I always say my favorite (medium) is whatever’s new and exciting and, at the moment, the acrylic pouring is the most exciting I’m working with.”

And while Taboniar likes being on the brink of discovery in the art world, she does have a tried-and-true, favorite medium.

Of course, the reason she loves it is that the medium is challenging and the techniques are changing.

“If I was stranded on a deserted island and could only pick one medium, I’d pick watercolors,” Taboniar said. “I’ve been doing watercolor 27 years and I’m still learning new things, discovering more. It’s a continual process.”

Taboniar is also passionate about people and cultivating relationships. That’s why she hosts open studio days as a way to connect the art community on Kauai and welcomes visitors.

It’s not the first open studio she’s hosted, and the Halloween open studio won’t be the last — Taboniar is already gearing up for a December open studio where she will have a Christmas-themed project.

“It’s a neat way to bring people together,” she said. “On Halloween, I’m encouraging people to dress up as little or as much as they want.”

The sugar skull open studio event is free for artists, but for those who want to paint a sugar skull the cost of materials is $20.

Info: Marionette, 631-9173


Jessica Else, staff reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or