Story by Diane Haynes Woodburn
It’s summertime. The sun is brighter, the days are longer, the kids are out of school. Time for growth, recharging and just plain enjoying life. Time to try something new.
“First thing you have to do,” says artist George Allan, “is get a lot of paint on your palette.” We’re a small, beginner’s plein-air painting class, gathered around George’s easel to watch him demonstrate amid his lush Kula garden. “You can’t be an artist if you are afraid to use the paint,” he advises, and begins to mix the vibrant colors of his palette into the glistening life-filled hues of summer. The names of the paints themselves inspire creativity: Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Orange, Cobalt Blue, Viridian Green. This is my first painting class, ever. I watch with both trepidation and excitement as a garden seems to blossom on his canvas.
Summer is a force. You can feel it in the warm air, and smell it in the sweet floral aromas. You can also see it in the pages and stories of this issue of Maui No Ka ‘Oi. From the kids at Pa‘ia Youth & Cultural Center who skate, paint, cook and surf the airwaves of their own radio station; to the brilliant lavender fields of artist Andrea Razzauti, color and energy abound. Paul Wood brings a passionate voice to the powerful story of Na Wai ‘Eha, Maui’s four great waterways that provide not only our island’s life-giving water, but are the subject of a continuing struggle to balance responsible management with indigenous rights. Trade winds kick up as well, taking us into the world of sailmakers, an island-grown business that shows its prosperity in the hundreds of brilliantly colored sails that flit and soar across the North Shore on any windy day. We even take you to the forbidden island of Ni‘ihau, where coral sand offers tiny shell jewels that are painstakingly gathered and sewn into lei so valuable, they are used as currency, and handed down from generation to generation as treasured heirlooms.
Summer is renewal. The theme resounds at the office, too, as we welcome two new staff members, Ari Peralta, marketing director, and Barbara Geary, advertising executive. And sadly, we say aloha nui (but not goodbye) to Sara Smith, who will be leaving her position after eight years at Maui No Ka ‘Oi. Her contributions and signature style have been a tremendous influence on the growth and voice of our magazine, and appreciated by every member of the staff. She will be missed as associate publisher, but, I am happy to write, we will continue to see her name as a contributing writer and consultant.
George has finished his demonstration. It’s time now for each of us to set up our own easels. A warm breeze awakes a new perspective to the scene before me. “Look carefully,” George advises. “You have to find the light and the dark, try to see how many colors you find in the smallest of places.” Paint is pushed out of shiny new tubes with exotic names, and a palette filled with glossy colors shimmers in the sunlight. I practice mixing my colors, remembering that green is not green, it’s Viridian Green, and Cadmium Yellow with tiny bits of Alizarin Crimson mixed with bits of Cadmium Orange and—oops. It’s a bit intimidating, dipping the palette knife into a lump of clumsily mixed color; then I remember, “You can’t be an artist if you are afraid to use the paint. . . .”
This summer, I’m taking George’s advice. I intend to use all the colors in the box.
A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn
Publisher, Maui No Ka ‘Oi