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,