homepage logo

They create masterpieces outdoors in a few hours

By Staff | Feb 11, 2016


LAHAINA – Artists Jason Sacran, Carleton, Debra Huse and Aaron Schuerr are among 25 plein air landscape artists who will be painting at three West Maui locations – Lahaina Harbor, Kapalua Bay and Canoe Beach – from Feb. 13-21. The Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational (MPAPI) invites the public to come and shadow your favorite artist or discover a new artist who captures your interest. Watch them paint life at Lahaina Harbor, a Hawaiian model at Kapalua Bay, or the surf, sand and canoes at Hanakao’o Beach.

Almost 150 years ago, impressionists like Monet and Renoir perfected this amazing skill, seeking to express “time of day,” seasons and weather by duplicating subtle effects these elements produce on color, intensity and visibility of objects in a landscape.

The quest for a “real” expression of nature took the artists outdoors, on location, and required them to rapidly capture dynamic light patterns and trace the angles and shapes of shadows before the sun’s position and weather changed.

Here are a few of the talented professional artists who will be on board at the MPAPI this year.

Nationally known for his figurative and portrait work, Jason Sacran solidified his stature as a plein air painter with a grand prize win at the 2015 Plein Air Easton Invitational in Maryland. MPAPI attendees will want to check out Sacran, who is new to this Maui event.


He calls himself “a contemporary representational painter,” adding that he paints what catches his interest “at the moment.” He treats a plein air session like a classical study, focusing on a subject or a mood. Many of his paintings cast a fresh perspective on an overlooked detail or a forgotten place.

Sacran studied at Tennessee Tech University and San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. He lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas and is the Arkansas state ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.

Carleton is a successful Maui artist who enthusiastically seeks out island life, expressing the natural drama of Lahaina Harbor, landscapes and homesteads. He paints the “richness of the day” in Lahaina from sunrise to sunset.

In 2012, Carleton won “Best in Show” at the MPAPI with his exquisite “Shady Palm” landscape in oil of a Lahaina plantation house. Carleton returns this year to compose new scenes that capture the light and feel of outdoor Maui.

Also returning is Debra Huse, an acclaimed plein air artist from Newport Beach, California, whose passion for oils, color and atmosphere were featured by Plein Air Magazine in 2015. In the July/August 2015 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur, Huse was featured as a promising artist in “Three to Watch.”

While a majority of her time is focused on portraying everyday life in Southern California, her paintings of West Maui beaches, harbors and landscapes tell the story of our island, too.

Huse describes her gift as “the talent of seeing… The artist’s eye searches dancing shadows and delicate nuances of color to capture the beauty of the moment, the poetry of atmosphere and notes of colorful light…”

Aaron Schuerr is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and an enthusiastic plein air painter in Livingston, Montana. In both oil and pastel, he achieves a novel softness to his landscapes of sunlight tracing the rugged Rocky Mountain West.

He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, completing his last year in Dundee, Scotland, where he discovered the “honesty” of drawing outdoors in the Tay Valley and the heathered Highlands – his pathway to the great studio of the outdoors.

“My art is born of an ability to absorb, comprehend and understand the natural world… and to share the ineffable mystery of beauty. Actors talk about being in the moment – my stage is the open air, and in the best moments, I am lost in it,” he said.

New to this Maui event, Schuerr will dazzle spectators and collectors.

Art enthusiasts who want to watch a blank canvas develop from sketch to masterpiece are encouraged to dress for the sun; wear a hat, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes; and bring a water bottle.

For dates and times for viewing live painting and gallery exhibits on Feb. 13-21, visit www.mauipleinairpainting.org. For those wishing to attend the Friday, Feb. 19, Collectors’ Gala, tickets are available online and at Lahaina Galleries in Lahaina. For other requests, e-mail info@mauipleinairpainting.org or call Una Somerville at (808) 214-5294.