Formerly known as a doll maker, Linda Stevens is now recognized for her reverential paintings of Hawaiian themes. Most of her paintings are inspired by her love of Hawaiian myths, legends, and of the land itself. In 2003, her “Pele” was honored as one of the finalists chosen from over 140 paintings entered in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s competition for a painting of the volcano goddess.
After college, Linda took a cross-country trip from the East Coast. She visited Hawai‘i and, like so many others, decided to stay, settling in the Puna District. For many years, Linda was a well-known doll maker, regularly appearing in Pacific Handcrafters and Hawaii Craftsmen shows. She researched her subjects, designed and sewed the costumes as well as the bodies, sculpted the heads and hand-painted each one. Among her more important dolls were meticulous representations of King Kalakaua, Princess Kaiulani and Queen Lili‘uokalani, all now in private collections.
Apart from her dolls, Linda did little painting before she read the book Painting Techniques of the Masters around 1998. She experimented with the various layers of glazes and underpaintings that the old masters used and found that she got the effects she wanted. Since then, Linda has happily painted almost every day, and plans to do so for the rest of her life. Although her paintings feature the human form, she doesn’t use models or photographs. “I just draw until it looks right,” she blithely says. Don’t we all wish we could say that!