Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It’s Day Three of our Hawaii week. And fasten your seat belts – today we’re visiting with someone with so much energy and love of life that her delightful personality just jumps off the page!

Say hi to Dava Shepherd, of TreasuresfromHawaii.

FK: Aloha Kakahiaka, Dava. I must have my coffee in the morning. What are you having?

I drink chocol8 soy milk in the morning with some yogurt.

FK: That must be an excellent energy drink because you are involved in so many activities. Let’s list them:

FK: Tell me about the Women Artists of Kauai.

It’s a wonderful, supportive and giving group of women artists founded by my friend, Marionette (featured yesterday here). WAK takes part in art festivals/events all over the island and gives back a portion of proceeds to charity.

FK: Do you live fairly close to Marionette?

I live about mid-way on the island of Kauai in Kapaa.

FK: Are you from Hawaii originally?

I was born in Winterhaven, Florida and raised in Plantation, Florida. I'm a native Floridian, however, my soul belongs in Hawaii. I visited Kauai in 2004 where I fell in love with both the island of Kauai and my husband, Josh ... Josh moved to Florida to help me tie up loose ends(selling of my home, etc.) and we moved back to Kauai in 2006 and were married here, a year later, barefoot on Kalapaki Beach.

FK: How sweet is that!?! So when did you get involved on Etsy?

Funny coincidence in that I opened my shop on 2/10/09 - which also happens to be my birthday - was looking for some kind of fulfillment in life, happiness I'd never experienced in a career(having spent 20+ years in the field of law), and I found my soul's craving in photography...

FK: Since you live in Paradise how do you decide on which subjects to photograph?

It's always been a personal joke to myself to try and figure out my favorite "genre" or "subject"...This changes from one photograph to the next...I'm so passionate about what I do and Nature itself that whatever I'm photographing or editing becomes my favorite at that moment ... I adore photographing rain and things with raindrops or dew on them ... I love chasing a butterfly, rooster, chameleon or bee around for a couple of hours trying to get just the "right shot"...

The ocean has a plethora of never-ending emotion-filled sights(from dark, turbulent and stormy to light splashes of whimsical delight in the waves) ... editing photographs - inverting the colors and seeing what new "Ethereal Series" creation I come up with - I get lost in pure joy! So, I guess, my favorite is the act of being surrounded by Nature and being able to capture even just a fraction of its awe-inspiring essence - it's a gift from God!
8x10 Matted Fine Art Photo - Stained Glass, Kauai, Hawaii

FK: Wow! What a delightful and colorful way to describe the creative process!
There are several artists on Etsy from Hawaii. How do you think your work sets you apart?

There are so many talented, gifted artists/photographers here on Kauai it's like there's something magical in the water! I'm so humbled by others' visions and works - they inspire me to better myself in my own ... My work differs in my vision - it can change from haunting and dark to child-like, breezy and free depending upon my mood ... I also get a kick out of giving my viewers a glimpse of different, unusual parts of Kauai - the worn, antique alley door in Hanapepe; the sarcasm in some of my "Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign" series ... I guess I like to go against the "norm" sometimes - I've always been somewhat of a rebel with a little kid's sense of humor!

FK: I understand that – I’m the same way sometimes. So what are your personal favorites among your own work?

Personal favorites, personal favorites, hmmmmm....(you know you're KILLING me here, right Felicia - mischievous grin) - my monk seal photos (I'm blessed by God to have captured so many, they are endangered) - "Seaside Situps" for example, were sooo much fun to capture ... Seals are such passion8 creatures - in playing, fighting, etc., and they exude this while watching them ... I know, to some, it seems as though they're just laying on the beach lounging in the sea and surf - but, when you look into their eyes, you see their joy or their exhaustion - they are amazing!

My "Ethereal" series(where things live in a color-inverted universe - broody and menacing or peaceful and otherworldly) is also held close to my heart and my favorite "plaything" in my photo cre8ng world ... Just like with the whole of my work, there are different moods that come to light in this series - In photos such as "Fairy's Hidden Treasure", "Royal Purple" and "Green Leaf in an Ethereal World" nature is at its lightest and best - lush and light, faerie dance and dreams are spun...Yet in works such as "The Other Side", "Flying Through the Outer Limits" and "Last Stop Before Hell", life in "Etherealville" is menacing and not for the faint of heart...(evil grin)...

FK: Your Ethereal World series is beautiful!  So how do you decide which medium to use for your vision – you do so many different things …

Photography is my main passion and genre - self-taught and constantly learning and improving...However, acrylic painting is fun(also self-taught), have dabbled in watercolors (thanks to the talented guidance of my friend/Kauai artist, Marionette) and I enjoy gathering treasures from Kauai's shores to cre8 my "Beach-in-a-Bottle"/"Message-in-a-Bottle" gift vials/pendant-charms and hand-embellished photo matting...

FK: I love those little bottles! With all that activity you must have some moments when you have to go to your “quiet place” to rest, refresh, meditate. Where do you go?

My "quiet place"- (I giggle at this as my brain is over-analytical and very difficult to shut-off - my hamsters LOVE running on their wheel "upstairs" if you know what I mean *wink*) - is anywhere Nature is - The feel of the trade winds and sea's mist on my skin, gulping down deeeep breaths of fresh air, gazing upon God's beauty in the mountainous terrains or feeling the grasses under my bare feet, smiling at the cow in the field as we have a staring contest ... Ahhhh, naptime for my hamsters and their incessant wheel-running! :D

FK: Hamsters on the brain! Funny but I know what you mean – my mind is always racing too. What’s most gratifying to you as an artist, and what do you dislike the most?

The most gratifying part of being a photographer is two-fold - the "selfish" part, in that it fills the small parts lacking in my soul, and the giving back to others part - spreading joy and smiles to peoples' hearts, passing on the Aloha spirit - brings it all full circle...

The part I dislike most is easy for me to answer - The constant personal battle with my own self-confidence - The days I don't feel "good enough,” pushing myself through uncomfortable situations to better myself and my work....

FK: Amen to that! What do you do when you’re not creating? How do you relax?

When I'm not snapping photos like a fiend (I carry my camera almost everywhere - even to church!) my husband and I take drives all over the island and soak in God's glory ... We end up doing different things like walking on the beach or collecting shells, light hiking or just sitting in our "backyard" where we have views of both Kong and the Sleeping Giant mountains and a huge parcel of untouched land (except when the cows come about once every other month to "mow" the grasses) - Reading is another escape of mine and has been since I was little ... Gardening, I love to get my hands dirty! While living in South Florida I worked at a wildlife sanctuary for about 2 years where I had the blessed experiences of hand-feeding and caring for such animals as tigers, cougars, a black bear, a three-toed sloth, prairie dogs, coatimundis, and so many more, cleaning their cages (hey, you can't complain about cleaning until you've scooped tiger poop!), getting sprayed - from the chin down - by a friendly tiger named Darlene (you've never screamed with simultaneous disgust and delight until a tiger claims you as its own by spraying you!) and witnessing a 4-hour-old llama take its first leaps around its mama ... (sighs in peace at the memories) ...

FK: How absolutely funny and sweet at the same time!

FK: I really must get to Hawaii. What should I not miss seeing?

While visiting Kauai you should experience everything you can! To suggest one thing or place you shouldn't miss is like trying to tell someone about one place or thing not to miss in Disneyworld - you have to soak up the entire experience and then go back and see your own personal top 3 to 5 (or 100 if you're here as a snowbird!) again before you leave! A few of my favorite spots of delight, however, are Spouting Horn, Waimea Canyon/Falls, Opaekaa Falls, westside sunsets, whale-watching during the season and finding monk seals napping when and where you can!

FK: Do you have a favorite Hawaiian saying?

My favorite is Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) - just because the way it sounds makes me smile!

FK: Funny, that’s about the only Hawaiian phrase I've known since I was a kid because my oldest sister’s Marine boyfriend was stationed in Hawaii and taught me that one.

FK: Dava, it has been an absolute pleasure to visit with you today! Didn't I tell you, everyone, how delightful she is?
Dava, tell us about your giveaway.

I will be giving away one free 8x10 of the winner's choice from these three prints:

K: That's a beautiful and generous giveaway. Mahalo, Dava. I truly enjoyed visiting with you!

Here’s how to enter:

I will use random number generator to pick a winner of the giveaway from all comments posted here between now and a week from today at noon.

I will also pick a second winner to receive a selection of “I’d rather be in Hawaii” bookmarks and/or magnets from me.

You have several opportunities to enter your comments:

1. Enter a comment about your favorite piece of art by the artist.
2. Enter a comment if you signed up to follow her blog (or comment that you already follow)
3. Enter a comment if you signed up to follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter (or comment that you already follow)
4. Enter a comment that you signed up to follow MY blog (or comment that you already follow)
5. Enter a comment that you signed up to become MY Facebook fan (or comment that you already follow)

(And – please – if you say you signed up, be sure that you DID sign up!)

Another island artist will be interviewed each day for the rest of the week. You will need to comment each day if you want to be entered into that day’s drawing. Your comments for this post will NOT carry over to the next day.

NOTE: As the week's giveaways are posted, I will list the ending dates on the right-hand side of my blog under "current contests and giveaways."

Mahalo and good luck. Come back tomorrow to meet yet another artist!


  1. That was such a fun interview! Dava is so upbeat, I had a smile on my face the entire time reading about her. I love "God Always Leaves A Window Open". BEAUTIFUL!!

    And I can personally say that her "Beach In A Bottle's" are such a fun way to bring a bit of Kauai into your own home!!

  2. WOW! What a wonderful artist! Felicia thank you for featuring Dava ...I'm now a fan of her work and I have to agree with Lisa...I love "God Always Leaves a Window Open." It's so's just gorgeous. I was in Hawaii about 5 years ago and I LOVED every bit of it..Dava made me want to go back!!

  3. I can personally say that Dava's energy as a person and photographer is truly unique and upbeat! We recently spent a "photography" day together and it was exhilarating! She definitely sees things in a very unique way and has such a passion about her photography.

    One of my favs is "God Always Leaves a Window Open" too, but I also LOVE her hibiscus photos! I also enjoy her sense of humor with the "signs" series!

    Dava is a very spiritual person and a lover of all things in nature, and I believe one can see this in her art. Look for more amazing work by this artist in the future :-)

    With Love and Aloha to my Kauai "Sistah",

  4. Thanks, Lisa and Marionette, for confirming what I thought - Dava's such an energetic mile-a-minute person!

    Natasha, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the plug on your blog.

  5. I've actually managed to get to Hawaii twice (mostly Kauai) and it was so much fun to travel back on this blog with the snow falling outside! I love "Rough Road" best of these though I think it's hard to take a really bad photo in Hawaii!

  6. I love all of Dava's work...this is going to be hard to pick one. "God Always Leaves a Window Open" really stood out, but the Ethereal Series is spectacular, and the Seal photos make you feel as if you're right there on the beach. What an inspiration Dava is to have so much self-taught talent. Makes me want to pursue my interests further in photography even more so than I did before I really got to know Dava more (on facebook), even though Dava is connected to my family in other ways. :D

  7. "God Always Leaves A Window Open" is very beautiful, I would love to look at that photo's a very special message, especially today...

    Mahalo for the giveaway,

  8. Hmmmm - I've very curious who "anonymous" - send me a note on Facebook and "reveal yourself" will ya?! :D

    I just want to thank evy1 for their thoughtful words and comments...It means so much to hear positive things about my work...

    This has been a gr8 experience and Felicia a real inspiration to do something like this on my own blog! Thx again Felicia xoxo

    Mahalo for evy1's support and kindess - can't wait to see what Felicia has up her sleeve for the rest of "I'd Rather Be In Hawaii" week!! God bless....Dava

  9. Absolutely beautiful photography of the most beautiful place on earth!! Been there 4x and yearning to go back. I love "God Always Leaaves a Window Open". Dava, thank you for sharing your talent with us all. Blessings, Monica

  10. I love the God always leaves a window open print. Thanks for the chance. ladyvdzine[at]yahoo[dot]com

  11. I love the Hibiscus Dew photograph. Thank you for the interview! I wish I was in Hawaii now too :)
    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

  12. I follow your blog.
    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

  13. Just checking to see if the new Thursday interview was up yet. Heading for the Utah slopes all day, but I will be sure to check back again when I return this evening. Can't wait! ALoha!

  14. I love the Ethereal Series Green Leaf in an Ethereal World. Beautiful!
    bethnaf at hotmail dot com

  15. I really enjoyed this interview with Dava... she's a good friend online, but now I got to know her even bette :-)

    My favs of hers right now are the "OhtobeLily"

    amd I love the "Green Leaf in a Ethereal world" and the "Rough Road Sign" that you have shown here.


  16. Wonderful interview - Dava always has a kind work for other's work so I will say that I just Love Green Leaf In An Ethereal World and that is what I would pick if I win!

  17. I am already a fan of Dava'a facebook page!

  18. I am also a fan of Felicia on Facebook.

    another photo I like of Dava's is "Witness to Earth's Birth "

    I also love the Hibiscus Dew

    Dava's work is gorgeous

  20. FB fan of Dava-Julie A Scott Laws

  21. FB fan of yours-Julie A Scott Laws

  22. I follow your blog-jelaws5

  23. I love "God Always Leaves a Window Open." I love stained glass, and this picture is just stunning!

  24. Hi! I absolutely LOVE the photo, "God Always Leaves a Window Open". It drew me in immediately when I first saw it!

  25. I just signed up to follow Dava's blog.

  26. Hi! I also just signed up for Felicia's Blog. :)

  27. I just became a fan of Dava's FB Fan page too!

  28. I also became a fan of Felicia's FB Fan page. Thank you for this opportunity! Have a great day! :)

  29. I love love love God always leaves a window open!!!

  30. I am now a fan of Dava on zazzle. And by the way I (GodwinsEnterprises) joined zazzle this week and am having a great time creating products!

  31. oops, I'm sorry I just noticed that zazzle doesn't count.
    But I am now a fan of hers on facebook. I started a fan page this week (GodwinsEnterprises). I have been very busy this week. :=)

  32. So nice to see all of you here. Isn't Dava delightful and her artwork stunning? Mahalo to all of you for supporting this effort to bring these wonderful artists to your attention! Tell your friends!

  33. Still blushing and humbly grinning at all the wonderfully kind comments evy1 has made - I'm kind of overwhelmed :D

    Have a joyous day and, if any of you are ever on Kauai, please give me a shout! God bless....Dava

    p.s.: more thanks to you, Felicia, this week is amazing xoxo

  34. ( A lady of few words here).
    Dava is an INSPIRATION. I feel I know her not only through her amazing work but I feel a real kindred spirit with her. I would LOVE to meet her and feel I've come close by reading this great interview Felicia :)
    Dava is one of the loveliest people I have come across through Etsy and now Facebook too.
    God Bless her and Josh and may she keep creating in her special way.
    All her photos are my favourite !
    Vicki (ok I got carried away )

  35. What a beautiful, inspirational photo!


    abstoner at comcast dot net

  36. Dava's interview has the energy that she has in person as well. My favorite is her Etheral series!

    Much aloha to another wonderful Kauai artist!


  37. My favorite is God Always leaves window open...absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!

  38. I like the "God Always Leaves A Window Open" picture

  39. follow your blog

  40. Facebook fan of yours (lena naef)

  41. All those pictures made me want to go back! I really liked the Stained Glass picture, so pretty. That was a great interview! ambrerose(!at)

  42. Ethereal Series Green Leaf In An Ethereal World is my fave! It reminds me of Avatar!

    reviewsbyabby at gmail dot com

  43. I like the Hell Reaches Toward Heaven Ethereal Series

    tiramisu392 (at)

  44. Thanks for this chance.
    I like 4x6 fine art photo...FruitStand,Puhi,Hawaii.


    ale84.vercelli at hotmail dot it

  45. I follow her blog.
    ale84.vercelli at hotmail dot it

  46. I follow her on fb.
    alessandra lalla vercelli
    ale84.vercelli at hotmail dot it

  47. I follow your blog.
    ale84.vercelli at hotmail dot it

  48. What a fantastic series, Felicia! You are putting a lot of work into this, and it is fascinating. LOVE these amazing photos--a true reflection of a lovely soul, the artist, Dava.

  49. Love Hibiscus Dew!! Really Pretty!! Keep up the good work!


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