LAHAINA - The largest art festival in West Maui is underway, with a roster of 21 artists from 12 states and Australia joining five top Hawaii painters to capture Maui scenes in oil and pastels.
Art lovers should look for umbrellas, easels and paint boxes when they want to watch these professionals in action. Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational artists will display nametags and easel signs.
They are used to onlookers and may answer questions posed by polite art students.
The Hanakao‘o Beach Park (Canoe Beach) Quick Draw, a Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational event, will be held on Friday, Feb. 24, from 9 to 11 a.m. This is a timed event in which artists have just two hours to complete a painting. Artist Jason Sacran is pictured answering questions at last year’s quick draw. PHOTO BY BRAD PAULSON.
On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the Kapalua Bay Sunset Paint Out sponsored by Montage Kapalua Bay is slated for 3 to 6 p.m. The artists will gather in Kapalua to find inspiration in the sunset and beach scenes.
The artists' paintings from this day will be on display and available for purchase in the Montage Kapalua Bay Sunset Room from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
On Friday, Feb. 24, from 9 to 11 a.m., the Hanakao'o Beach Park (Canoe Beach) Quick Draw is set. Sponsored by Mala, Honu and Frida's restaurants, this is a timed event where artists have just two hours to complete a painting.
The public has an opportunity to watch a painting being created from start to finish. This beach area is home to several local canoe clubs; their canoes, along with the surrounding beach, ocean and island views, will provide for interesting imagery for the paintings.
On Friday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m., the "Art to Heart" gala and art sale will be held in the Royal Lahaina Resort Ballroom. Tickets are $175.
Come meet the 26 MPAPI participating artists, view their paintings and take one or more home with you. This is an opportunity to own original paintings at affordable prices.
This ticketed event also features a Hawaiian welcome, opening remarks, awards presentation, four-course dinner, entertainment by the Gina Martinelli Jazz Combo, and live auction highlighting the "Best In Show" Award-winning painting.
The event provides an opportunity for art collectors wishing to buy paintings a priority viewing before the Artists' Aloha Reception the next day.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Royal Lahaina Ballroom, the Artists' Aloha Reception & Art Sale provides an opportunity for the general public to view and purchase paintings.
The artists will replace paintings sold on Friday night with new paintings. A highlight of the reception is to view the 2017 award-winning paintings.
The public has this one last chance to interact with the artists, view and purchase paintings, and bid them a safe journey home. The event is free and open to the public.
The Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra & Friends will play classical music as background during the day and debut a new score written specifically for Maui Arts League. The new composition called "Palette," composed by Siuai Laufou, will be performed at noon.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public can view and purchase paintings in the Royal Lahaina Resort Ballroom Gallery.
Jason Sacran of Arkansas, awarded 2016 Best of Show for his painting of Lahaina Harbor viewed from Lahainaluna at dusk, is back this week.
He and John P. Lasater will teach a four-day adult workshop called "Finding Your Edge" for artists and art students from Feb. 28 to March 2, after the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational is over.
Painting "en plein air" is French for "in full air" or outdoors on location. Invitations were extended to artists who are popular with collectors.
New-to-Maui artists are eager to come because of the fine reputation this event has developed.
Painting in the elements can be tricky at best - capturing a subject and the shadows that define its form and perspective before the sun moves on. Maui winds, surf and mauka showers present additional problems for outdoor artists.
Painters often use an umbrella to shield their canvas from direct sun. It is difficult to correctly create colors and values in bright sunshine or ocean glare.
More than a local event, the MPAPI has become prestigious among nationally ranked artists.
Sacran said, "The event is very well organized and geared to help us sell our paintings. Making a living as an artist can be challenging, and Maui people get that. We get a lot of support. This is a plum event, even though the airfare is expensive."
Lois Reiswig, president of Maui Arts League and an avid art collector, said, "Our West Maui community is an 'Art Mecca.' Visitors expect great galleries and top-rate art events."
Maui art enthusiasts and collectors will be happy to hear that present on Maui this week are Mark Brown (Oahu), Hiu Lai Chong (Maryland), Josh Clare (Utah), Rick Delanty (California), Debra Huse (California), Greg LaRock (California), James McGrew (Oregon), Jim McVicker (California), Mary Pettis (Minnesota), Lori Putnam (Tennessee), Aaron Schuerr (Montana) and Randy Sexton (California).
Maui art icons Carleton, Mike Carroll and Michael Clements will join event co-founder Ronaldo Macedo.
New to the 2017 event are Joe Anna Arnett (New Mexico), Greg Barnes (North Carolina), Carl Bretzke (Minnesota), Katie Dodson Cundiff (Florida), Leon Holmes (Australia), Terry Miura (California), Rita Pacheco (California) and John Poon (Utah).
The Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational is a community event presented by Royal Lahaina Resort, which will also host a "Color me Happy" youth workshop on Sunday.
For more information on MPAPI events, and for tickets to the "Art to Heart" fundraiser, visit www.MauiPleinAirPainting.org or call Reiswig at (808) 665-1491.