A family wedding took me to Maui last week. After a couple of days of festivities, I was free to explore the island a bit. One morning, I went to the top of Haleakala volcano to watch the sun rise and also search for the endangered Nene goose, the state bird of Hawai’i. I was not disappointed. There were also silversword plants in bloom at the peak but the cold temperatures and crush of tourists made it hard to draw them.
When we got back from Haleakala, there was an old sea turtle pulled up on the beach right where we were staying. It was kind enough to lay still while I painted. One of the first things I noticed were the large, knobby growths on it’s head and neck. A local told me that these are common in older turtles and are caused by chemical pollution in the sea water. The run-off from both agriculture and landscaping have been an ongoing issue that Hawai’i is working to address. The situation is improving by these old turtles still bear the evidence of the severity of the problem.
The next day, I hiked up the Iao Valley, where several rivers converge above the town of Wailuku. The wild guavas were hanging heavy on the branches and littered the ground. The whole park smelled like ripe guavas and I just couldn’t resist sitting down to paint the bright pink flesh inside the lemon yellow skin.