Stories From the Summit: Moving On

Kilauea Eruption

It was an honor to be one of the storytellers at the Volcano Art Center at the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, ‘Stories from the Summit: Moving On‘. The program was about personal accounts of the 2018 Kilauea Eruption. I shared my story of how my art evolved while being displaced and how art helped me heal.

It was an honor to share my personal experience with such a captive audience, including Leilani and Volcano residents, and scientists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and The United States Geological Survey agency. Every presenter had such different experiences of living on an active volcano, it was a privilege to hear so many personal accounts. For myself, it was also another step for healing and processing.

What I shared was about the my work and style before the eruption, the days leading up the eruption, evacuation, and then over the next 70 days sought refuge in the homes of friends and family where my DISPLACED series began.

Due to the emotional and physical impact of the eruption my artistic style sharply shifted from impressionistic to abstract expressionism in order to properly convey the nuance of this experience. As time passed I developed a visual mark-making language that helped guide my process: bold marks of color translating as a mass of new earth, small hatches resemble the many earthquakes experienced, opacity of new marks covering old give a history of what once existed. I was able to convey this with a visual reference of my work’s evolution in a 35-slide presentation.

Hawai’i Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-charge, Tina Neal and Hawaii Artist Bailey Ferguson at Hawaii Volcano Art Center's 'Stories from the Summit'

Certainly the best part of this night, was the opportunity to share my work with Tina Neal. Tina is the Hawai’i Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-Charge, she was THE woman on TV and Social Media giving updates to our community during the eruption. It was an honor to meet her, I gave her a print of “Kīlauea Rising”.

It was such a pleasure being able to share my work and experience, I would be happy to give this presentation again, please contact me if you are interested.

“DISPLACED: The Day the Red Glow Stopped” Wins First Place

Kilauea Eruption

March 16, 2019

I am pleased to announce that my painting painting “DISPLACED: The Day the Red Glow Stopped”, won 1st prize in the Kahilu Exhibits Annual Juried Exhibition of Hawai’i state artists.

The exhibition call for entry was for “an exhibition that explores the dual forces of creation and destruction that shape our lives and the world around us.”

My painting, part of a larger series called DISPLACED, explores the dynamic movement of the lava below the surface and above, filling landscape and coastlines, altering neighborhoods, flooding the night sky. The title of the painting refers to the moment in time when the lava from Fissure 8 began to slow and the warming nighttime glow began to diminish.

I started this painting at the time when we were unsure what the volcano had in store for us next. I’m honored my work resonated with other people that also experienced this dramatic event.

“For Bailey’s piece […] to be the end of Fissure 8, I felt all that underneath the work. And there is that one little bit [of lava] that is still part of a remembrance of everything that happened. For me, it epitomized all the destruction and it seemed like a place for us to leave, to part, and look for other things,” said Carl F.K. Pao, Juror of this year’s annual show.

As an artist directly impacted by the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption, I had unanticipated and positive outcomes from a year of upheaval and evacuation. I have been a traditional oil painter for 12 years; when displaced, I embraced a new style of painting. This has been realized in the DISPLACED series, an investigation into the impermanence that comes with living on an active volcanic island.

During the 3 month eruption I stayed in eight separate residences, so I utilized tools and mediums that were easily assessable and transportable such as house paint, pencil, watercolor, paint scrapers and rollers. I shifted from impressionistic to abstract expressionism in order to properly convey the emotional and physical impact of the eruption. At the time it was what I needed to heal from the trauma I felt from experiencing the eruption.

Transformative Forces: Creation through Destruction” Exhibition runs March 14th – April 27th, 2019. The first, second and third place winners are, Bailey Ferguson, Dominic Tidmarsh and Gary Hoff. The Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Awards Acquisition Selection Committee selected works by Carl F.K. Pao, Margo Ray and Dominic Tidmarsh for their permanent collection. The show featured 24 artists from the state of Hawai’i in a variety of media and content.

Kahilu Theatre 67-1186 Lindsey Rd. Kamuela, HI 96743
Kahilu Galleries are free and open to the public Monday thru Friday, from 9am – 1pm, and during all performances. Kahilu Exhibits is the gallery division of Kahilu Theatre Foundation.

Big Island Now
Kīlauea Eruption Artwork Wins 1st Prize at Kahilu Exhibit
West Hawai’i Today
Big Island artist wins first place at juried exhibition with eruption-inspired artwork

New Work in Waimea Coffee Co.

Kilauea Eruption

Check out BAF Art Displayed in Waimea Coffee Co.  and here’s a little background keeping the work safe during the eruption: 

Since returning to the Island after the 2018 Kilauea eruption, I gathered the artwork that scattered across the island for safe keeping while we were displaced. When we evacuated we didn’t know where the lava would go, so I took everything that was irreplaceable. Some art was left in Kona, Hilo, Ocean View, and one traveled as far as Maui for safe keeping. I was humbled by my dear friends who reached out to help safeguard my work and my passion during this time of the unknown. 

My friend Crystal, who was also my evacuation buddy back on May 4th, kept the Red Road painting with her during her displacement. It traveled with her to 4 or 5 homes before safely making it back to Puna.  She told me, “It reminded me of home, and what I wanted to get back to.”


“Bridge over Honoli’i Stream” was selected for a show at the Wailoa Art and Culture Center.  I had evacuated just before this and a dear friend picked up the work in Hilo and kept it while I was away.

Another friend picked up an entire box of art as well as our surfboards (equally as important as the art) and kept them safely at his house in Ocean View while we were away. It’s all these acts of kindness that help build an artist up and affirm the importance of community. 


If you are in Waimea, Hawai’i please visit the coffee shop (they have amazing local coffee and make a killer acai bowl) and check out the work.  You’ll see mostly pieces from 2017-2018 that all have their own story during the eruption. All works are for sale and will be on display until November.  

SATURDAY 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
SUNDAY 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

65-1279 KAWAIHAE RD WAIMEA, HI 96743


Kilauea Eruption

I am starting my journey back home to Hawaii, more sound than 77 days ago when the earth split open and lava surfaced 4 miles away from my home. What a lesson. The Kilauea Eruption is a first hand look at impermanence.

After endless hours on social media it was necessary to unplug and be present with family, to cook — and make art.

Kilauea Rising, 2018 | Mixed Media on Paper, 23″ x 17″

Since I have been separate from my main medium of oil paint, I’ve embraced new mediums and create outside my usual subject matter. The work has become more and more non-representational and it became even more about the process of application, building compositions, and to my surprise to a reconnection to a self.

Each painting began without a clear definition of the outcome, only keeping a limited color palette in mind. Through instinctual mark making, I applied color to create a composition that evokes feeling and structural stability. As the composition forms, the paintings began to resemble something more representational – bold swatch of color translating as a mass of new earth. Small hatches resemble the earthquakes. The opacity of new marks covering old give a history of what once existed.

Laze II will was selected to be apart of the 2018 Abstract Only Exhibition at the Wailoa Arts & Cultural Center August 3rd – August 30th.


Kilauea Eruption

I don’t really know where to start. Everyone knows the story by now. It has been such an emotional week. After experiencing many earthquakes, lava eruptions and a massive 6.9 earthquake that resulted in emergency fleeing of the area of south Puna, returning home for a cat rescue mission and being totally absorbed in the news, lava updates and checking in with neighbors that are still in the area. I’m exhausted.

My evacuee group camped out at Pine Trees Surf Park in Kailua-Kona the night of the 6.9 earthquake. It was such a surreal time, we kept reviewing the day’s events. Trying to the best of our ability to explain our experience and to understand the implications of this eruption.

The next day after the evacuation I paused to surf, I paddled out and just wept.. I felt so grateful to be safe, supported and in excellent health, for the simple living Hawaii has shown me; while simultaneously mourning the potential loss of my community in Seaview, Kalani and the Puna/Pahoa area; of a lifestyle that supported creative growth, daily play, ocean swimming, hyper local cuisine; An area that is sans-billboards and skyscrapers, that is perfectly landscaped by nature; one of the most thriving community of environmental-conscious people that speaks the language of love.

The Red Road II, 2018 – The famous road along the Kalapana-Kopoho Highway is the epitome of picturesque beauty.

I am coming to terms with loosing my things… if that is our fate… a home with the most magnificent night-sky where I would indulge in full moon showers from rain we caught on our roof. The yurt dwelling and it’s skylight that was the perfect frame for passing clouds or shooting stars. We were building a hot tub and I was becoming very productive in the utility shed turned art-studio.. but this is a lesson of non-attachment to material things… and rather be grateful for the relationships in my life: to my peers, to self, and to nature. I’ve learned more in the past week than I have in past years, and it will probably take some time to sink in. But right now I’m going day by day to see what the lava brings… and just be present, conscious, and go with the flow.

Hoping to get back to the art soon, I think it will help as therapy. Pele has inspired.