Noni was born in Sumatra Indonesia and in 1958 the family moved to the island of Oahu to the town of Kailua. She was nine years old. It was still a territory of the United States at that time, statehood happening the following year. Kailua was a sleepy town and Lanikai was a slow-paced bedroom community. Growing up going to the various beaches and driving through the Pali Tunnel to get to the big city of Honolulu gave the family the experience of the land and seascapes of Hawaii. Taro patches, Koolau Mountains, the ocean with its variations of blues and greens, sunrises and moonrises over the Mokulua Islands all were a part of growing up on Oahu.
Noni’s home was filled with Asian and Balinese art and furnishings. It was a part of growing up. Because of this, her land and seascapes incorporate her love for the Balinese and Indonesian unique style of painting. This is seen in the foliage in the Mokulua Island scenes, Manana Island (Rabbit Island) at midnight, and Olomana (our mountain that hovers over Windward Oahu just inside of the Koolau Mountains). Her flora and fauna images incorporate both the Asian and Balinese feel. Depth is not as important as light and shadows, and playful movement through brushstrokes that mimic a folk art style, typical of Balinese foliage painting.
Noni’s land and seascapes style has an antique look, with more subdued colors. How light hits and reflects, how shadows move you into the distance are intentional and meant to be calming and restful to the eye. By staining rag watercolor paper before the image begins to be painted, the result is a somewhat antiqued look. Someone recently said if you could compare it to music composition, Noni paints with “minor keys”. Her love is Chiaroscuro (light and shade).