The Molokai Hoe had a beautiful morning start. We found a view overlooking Hale O Lono Harbor with the sunlight on the canoes lined up on the beach. The escort boats idled in the harbor. The canoe team members huddled or milled about, little matching spots of color. I created a small painting as the pule (prayer) and last directions were given on the loudspeaker below. The first paddlers began to carry their canoes to the water, and I switched to a larger watercolor paper. Painting during an event requires alertness and quick action. The first paddlers rounded the harbor wall to their starting place. I dropped in their outline and color, adding more and more canoes along their arch to the starting line of buoys that bobbed beyond the harbor. An ocean swell followed the coast, pointing towards Oahu. It was a race on my end too. Speed was important because all could change in an instance, yet precision mattered as well. My brush and water, their paddles in the water, both finding their way. The paddlers lined up along the buoys, and at a signal beyond my hearing, took off for Oahu.
So many people were involved in this race, paddling, organizing, and escorting. They all made this incredible event happen. So, I have done something I rarely do. I have made a limited edition print of it, available here. Were you or a family member involved in the hoe? What is your story of the day? (Tell me below!)
Would having this print in your home bring you back to the amazing memory of the Moloka'i Hoe? US Shipping included!
I believe a painting holds something of the energy of where and when it was created, and in that case, this painting is special. I have been hiking through Haleakala Crater with my family since I was a child, and when we cross the Crater floor, there is an area where we pass closely through two cinder cones that seem to hold every color that can be fired out of the Earth.
"I am in this landscape as I put brush to paper. My love of this place, its silence, the crater wind, all find their way into the intention of each brushstroke."
We would often make this our lunch spot. I always feel conflicted about where exactly to stop and rest, though. Right in the narrow pass between the cinder cones you have the closest view of Pele's cinder painting, but a little further in either direction on the trail, you have some of the most expansive views of the Crater. Nearby there is also Kawilinau, or Bottomless Pit. This is a vertical lava tube that extends deep into Haleakala. Hawaiians consider the summit of mountains to be sacred. They are piko, or belly buttons, and serve as connections to their spiritual source. Thus, a newborn's umbilical cord is also special, and was often brought to Kawilinau. This place is the piko within the piko. Haleakala Crater is one of the quietest places on the planet, and this place seems to hold a subtle yet powerful vibration. Perhaps it is just that I am for once somewhere silent. I bring this quiet inside of me, and I carry it with me later when I return to the outside world. I come here to stop, listen, breathe, and remember gratitude.
This time, as I stopped here, my eyes fell on the trail just ahead, leading to Pele's Paintpot. I knew I had several papers prepared to create a vertical triptych. I could see the painting already. The trail winding among the cinder colors and native kupaoa, a close relative of the silversword. The cinder colors as seen both from a distance, and up close. Here is where I would paint. I am in this landscape as I put brush to paper. My love of this place, its silence, the crater wind, all find their way into the intention of each brushstroke. They become a part of the painting.
Each painting on this site has a story. There is the time I spend on location translating the energy of the place into a painted image. There is the story of all I have experienced at this location, the culmination of many days over different times in my life spent at that place. There is the story of the ecology, the plants and animals that evolved to live perfectly suited to the place, and as a result, exist nowhere else on the planet, and are highly susceptible to outside threats. There is the history of the Hawaiian culture on this spot, how this land was cared for over millennia, and the history of transition since other peoples have come to Hawaii. Often, there is the story of the hands and hearts that are now restoring and caring for a place, helping it maintain its uniqueness.
Here in this blog is where I will collect those stories, and I will link them back to the paintings, sharing the layers that exist within a single painting.
Mahalo for reading, taking in the art, and as a result, also becoming a carrier of the story and a caretaker of these special places.
Maggie T Sutrov
These are the stories of where I paint.