When I finished my Peace Corps service in Tonga last year, I wanted to give some of my best friends something special from me, so I painted these cards as gifts. They’re all significant in some way and depict memories of my service and time spent with my friends there.
I painted this one for my friend and fellow volunteer Blair. It’s the view looking out of her front door, and I painted from a photograph I took during an amazing trip visiting her on her beautiful outer island of Ha’ano.
I painted this one for my friend Marie. It’s a picture of all the shells I loved to collect on the beach. Marie was well acquainted with my shell collecting and we took many trips to the beach together over the two years there.
This is a hibiscus flower I painted for my friend Juleigh, You can see these red hibiscus growing all over Tonga, and girls love to pick them and wear them tucked over one ear.
I made this one for Farfum. It’s based on a tapa that was hanging in my house that he said he liked. Tapa and the kupesi designs are seen all over Tonga, in handicrafts to woodcarvings to tattoos to clothing.
This one was for my Japanese volunteer friend Toru. It is supposed to be a picture of the blowholes on the southern side of the island. They were one of the most amazing things I have ever seen- gorgeous and powerful and totally mesmerizing to watch. Toru would bike there all the time to watch them.
Disclaimer: I’m no professional artist, so don’t judge me too harshly! Regardless of that fact, I had a lot of fun making these cards and it felt good to give a handmade gift to some special people.