Monday, August 31, 2009

Malama Wao Akua 2009

Connie Adams painting in a Maui forest.


Recently, I had one of the best days I can remember. I had the great fortune of combining two of my favorite passions: art and nature.

The art was a plein air session with a wonderful watercolor teacher, Connie Adams. Connie helps me to loosen up, get bold and better understand the movement of paint and water. She is positive, a great teacher and alot of fun to work with.

Ferns in the forest on Maui HawaiiThe nature part of the day was sublime. I do not remember ever feeling as connected to nature as I did on this day. We were taken up into the Waikamoi Preserve with East Maui Watershed Partnership. Our lovely guide, Cat, was a fountain of knowledge. I was able to ask a lot of questions to identify plants and took notes as we hiked.

At one point, we all found our quiet zone to observe and experience the amazing native forests of Hawaii. I felt ancient, like I had gone back in time. Nothing else existed on this peaceful and sunny day in the forest of Old Hawaii. I heard and saw the Apapani bird flitting around in the Ohia trees with the forest floor covered in inches thick of brilliant colored moss. The only sounds were the buzzing of the insects and bird songs. This rich experience really brought home why so many folks dedicate themselves to protecting our forest preserves. I do understand this passion and want to do what I can to support these efforts.

Connie Adams, painting teacher and guide on Maui Hawaii Cherie next to a Koa Tree on Maui Hawaii

The East Maui Watershed Partnership sponsors an art show every year, the "Malama Wao Akua " show. It hangs at the wonderful Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao. The theme and subject matter is "the protection of Maui County's native species and native habitats from ridge to reef and the efforts to protect them."

I am inspired and have been working on a piece for a few weeks now. A small group of artists were taken up into the Waikamoi Preserve for inspiration and to experience the forest. I feel very grateful and privileged to have participated in this day.

Twin trees in the Maui forestThe native forests of Hawaii need our help and protection. Remember all the volunteer opportunities available to preserve our unique aina. Visitors to Hawaii will be able to go to places few can go in these environmental volunteer programs.

I hope to be able to go and paint in another special gem of Hawaii's flora and fauna this coming weekend.

Here's to finding your passion!!!, and making the most of it.........

Aloha for now,


Monday, August 17, 2009

Maui Tahiti Fete '09

Musicians at the Tahaitian Dance and Drumming Competition


Heiva I Maui was even more fun that I thought it would be. I had a great time at the 12th Annual Tahaitian Dance and Drumming Competition held in Wailuku this past weekend. The dancers, adorable age 3 to elegant Kupuna over 50, were vibrant and very entertaining.

Costumes of the competitors were captivating and colorful with peacock feathers, flowers, and bright prints. The headress were over the top with the shredded Niu, coconut fibers crowning long and wild flowing hair.

Hawaiian woman dancer at the Tahaitian Dance and Drumming CompetitionOne of the dancers looked like she was standing under a waterfall with her headress fibers. I especailly enjoyed her beautful smile and ocean colors.

The beating drums and wild hip shaking certainly set the mood for good time. Tahitian dancers must be quite strong, the blur of hip shaking while raising and lowering is not something everyone can do. I imagine a fair amount of training is involved.

Male Dancer at the Tahaitian Dance and Drumming CompetitionI don't know all the critera for judging, maybe how much you smiled and blushed? The male dancers do a lot of jumping and chest thumping, and they were pretty easy on the eyes. The solo competitors were rivetting, and I really enjoyed the music for the groups. It was exciting and uplifting. I'm going music hunting as soon as I get a chance.

Crafts for sale at the Maui Tahiti Fete 2009Polynesian crafters were selling their wares outside the competition. Wooden drums, Tahitian black pearls, shell belts, coconut earings and beautiful Polynesian clothing enticed everyone to pull out their wallets. Unique quality crafts at excellent prices were certainly crowd pleasers at this event.

I had a great time, and I know I'll make it a point to come down to next year's Tahiti Fete.

A Dancing woman at the Tahaitian Dance and Drumming CompetitionWe're moving towards the close of summer....seems to be flying by now. Here's to enjoying the last few weeks of soft summer season. Hope the weather is beautiful, wherever you are!

Aloha for now,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Protea Flowers

Protea Flowers on Maui Hawaii


Protea flowers are some of the wildest looking and longest lasting flowers grown in the islands. Today I want to share some photos and information about my favorite protea farmers from Anuhea Farms.

The woody stems and hardy blossoms of the Protea flower will also dry well for longer lasting arrangements. I sometimes use them in holiday wreaths. These are the flowers to bring or send home when you want to make a good impression.

Bill of Anuhea Flowers, Makawao, Maui, HawaiiThe soil and weather conditions of upcountry Maui, much like their native habitat of South Africa, is ideal for growing crops of protea. Dry, windswept slopes of Mt.Haleakala, from Kula through Makawao to Olinda are dotted with the explosive pinks, oranges and yellows of these other-wordly flowers.

Bill and Judy Mertins have been farming proteas in Olinda on the slopes of Haleakala since 1993. Their farm is 15 acres, with over 30 varieties of protea. Judy runs a sweet little retail shop called Anuhea Flowers in Makawao. Their flowers are also available on line, they ship all over, and Hale Ho'okipa Inn site has a link for ordering flowers as well.

A Protea Flower plant grows on the slopes of Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiMy favorite are the bright pink Minks, called Duchess, talk about a sexy flower!! I also like the Maui Gold of the Pincushion variety. Their color is so vibrant, they really brighten up an arrangement...and look great standing alone. These are the King variety, the largest blossom.

Aunhea Farms has offered a farm tour in the past, including a historical presentation by Dorothy Pyle, professor of history at MCC. Dorothy is a treasure trove of local historical information. They are prepared to offer a tour if a group of 12 or more are interested with advance notice. It's a great tour.

Many wonderful books are available on the flowers of Hawaii. Proteas in Hawaii by Paul Wood and Ron Dahlquist is an amazing photo journal and story of these colorful wonders. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in botanicals.

It's evident I love promoting our local farmers, merchants, authors and artists... Maui produces the "cream of the crop" and Anuhea Farms is another fine example of "All Things Maui"!

So, brighten up your day, several actually, with some protea from the sunny slopes of Maui.

Protea flowers in a field of protea flowers on Mount Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiAloha for now...the trade winds are blowing today, keeping it fresh!