Maui Arts & Entertainment

Watch Artists Create at 9th Plein Air Painting Invitational

February 16, 2014, 3:01 PM HST
* Updated February 20, 11:01 AM
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By Vanessa Wolf

A model poses for plein air painters at a prior invitational. Courtesy image.

A model poses for plein air painters at a prior invitational. Courtesy image.

Maui’s 9th annual plein air painting invitational takes place in Lahaina and encompasses an entire week’s worth of events.

We spoke to Event Co-Sponsor Lois Reiswig to get the details.

Maui Now: What is “plein air” painting?

Lois Reiswig: Basically it means painting outside. This is a special talent and the artist has to contend with Mother Nature and all she presents: wind, rain, too much sun, etc.


The images the artists paint tend to focus on our ‘aina, our oceans, our mountains and our people. The Hawaiian culture is at the base of our community and we always have Hawaiian models at the Kamehameha Iki Park Paint Out event.


MN: I understand this is the 9th year of the event. How did it get started?

LR: Painting on location is one of the purest forms of recording the culture and landscape of a particular place. Plein air painting has taken place in Hawaii as far back as the late 1800s, when D. Howard Hitchcock prolifically painted the island scenery.

There is a free lecture that explains ‘plein air’ paintings by Jean Stern, executive director of The Irvine Museum. This is the best thing to attend to learn about the art form from a seasoned professional.


As for the event itself, the idea evolved from a conversation in 2001 between California painter, John Cosby and Maui painter, Ronaldo Macedo. The idea of holding a plein air event on Maui was to unite some of the best island plein air painters with some of the best mainland plein air painters into ‘one’ event. Consequently, the public would be able to watch 25 artists working on location and then experience the unveiling of 100 paintings created during the week.

Mike Carroll at work in 2013. Courtesy image.

Mike Carroll at work in 2013. Courtesy image.

MN: Invitational usually means a competition open only to those who are invited: are their prizes or other incentives for the artists?

LR: Yes, we invite the professional plein air painters that participate. We have always had rewards: Best In Show, Artists’ Choice, The Irvine Museum of CA and key sponsor awards.

Last year was the first time we introduced monetary awards and the BIS receives $1000.

This year added a new award by sponsor, SourceTek. They are giving a $250 gift certificate toward canvases. We are getting this type of support because the ‘art industry’ recognizes the significance of our art event. My goal is to help put Maui on the map for art destinations for travelers

MN: There are 25 artists involved this year: what’s the criteria to be involved/invited?

LR: There are always 25 – they come from the islands as well as the mainland – and to be selected one must be a professional plein air artist, meaning they make a living by painting – have a studio and a website – and it is NOT a hobby.

Artists contact us and send us their website link and the selection committee assesses their work, researches their ‘standing’ in the plein air artist industry, and selects artists that we think will paint images that will sell.

MN: Is artists’ work available for purchase at the event?

LR: Yes, there will be 25 small paintings on sale Tuesday at the Pioneer Inn and 100 paintings at Village Galleries on Friday, Feb. 21.

All events are free with the exception of the $100 Collectors’ Hour. However, if you buy a ticket and purchase a painting, this $100 goes towards the purchase of the painting.


Jacobus Baas' 2007 Best in Show winning painting, Courtesy image

Jacobus Baas’ 2007 Best in Show winning painting, Courtesy image

There are events just about every day of the week, starting with Jean Stern’s lecture, “Masterpieces of Plein Air Painting” and the Artists’ Mini-Paintings Silent Auction at the Pioneer Inn on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. is the Pacific’O Sunset Paint Out at Kamehameha Iki Park. The artists will gather at the beach park (located next to 505 Front Street) to find inspiration in that evening’s sunset and beach scenes.

On Friday, Feb. 21, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Pioneer Inn is the Lahaina Harbor Quick Draw Under the gaze of hundreds of onlookers, the artists will have just two hours to complete a painting. The public has an opportunity to watch a painting being created from start to finish.

Later that day –from 5 to 6 p.m. – Collectors’ Hour is held at The Village Galleries (120 Dickenson, Lahaina). This is an opportunity for art collectors wishing to buy paintings priority viewing and the $100 admission fee can be applied to your purchase.

At 6 p.m. is the Gala Reception at The Village Galleries. Three of the best paintings from each artist plus the Pioneer Inn Lahaina Harbor Quick Draw paintings are unveiled and available for purchase.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m, enjoy coffee and pastries with the artists at The Village Gallery. The public has one last chance to interact with the artists and see new paintings chosen to replace any sold the night before.

Sunday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. marks your last chance to purchase work at the final sale held at the Village Galleries.

Please note many events take place outside and attendees should plan to dress and slather on SPF accordingly. Also, be sure to pick up a postcard and event map from volunteers at the various activities.

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