Various locations, February 13-21
This story was featured in the February 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
When an artist experiences the Hawaiian island of Maui for the first time, its exquisite beauty is seen with fresh eyes. Ancient, forest-covered volcanoes, farmland, lush foliage and flowers, plantations and other remnants of the historic sugarcane industry, and pristine beaches and palm trees inspire creative excitement. That’s sure to be the case at this month’s Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational, which takes place February 13-21 in Lahaina, on Maui’s west side.
Now in its 11th year, the show is co-sponsored by the Maui Arts League, Village Galleries in Lahaina, and Islanders, an organization of Hawaiian plein-air painters. It offers art lovers an opportunity to meet a relatively small, select group of award-winning painters, watch them at their easels, and purchase works that reflect the beauty, history, and culture of Maui. For part of the week the artists are free to wander the island and stop to paint wherever the artistic urge strikes. In addition, three paint-outs provide designated locations and times for the public to watch and interact with painters: the Lahaina Harbor Kick-Off on Saturday, February 13; the Kapalua Bay Paint-Out on Wednesday, February 17; and the Ka’anapali Quick Draw on Friday, February 19.
This year’s 26 invited artists include nine who are participating for the first time, such as Mian Situ, Jim Wodark, Rick J. Delanty, Kenn Backhaus, James McGrew, and Andy Evansen. Hiu Lai Chong, a Hong Kong native now based in Maryland, participates for the fourth time. “I don’t usually plan ahead where I’ll paint because I just want to experience the whole look and feel of a place,” Chong says. In her wanderings last year, she came upon a historic sugarcane train, and her painting of it titled ALL ABOARD won the 2015 Best of Show award. Returning painters also include Brazilian-American Maui resident Ronaldo Macedo, who co-founded the event as well as the Islanders plein-air organization and who serves as artist liaison for the show. “Artists who come from the mainland have a fresh per-spective. Combined with the high level of skill, that produces an exciting body of work,” Macedo says.
On Friday, February 19, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Collectors’ Gala offers advance sales in a festive atmosphere at Village Galleries, along with gourmet hors d’oeuvres. The Gala is a ticketed event whose $100 price includes $50 toward the purchase of an artwork. All other activities are free and open to the public. A hundred freshly painted works will be available both at the Gala and at the Artists’ Aloha Reception on Saturday, February 20. Lois Reiswig, president of the Maui Arts League and an island resident for 17 years, notes that in Hawaii, the spirit of aloha contains layers of meaning, including a joyful greeting of hello or farewell, and that spirit permeates all of the show’s events. “We treat everyone with aloha,” Reiswig says. “It’s very welcoming.” —Gussie Fauntleroy
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