Michael Clements

Summer Upcountry Maui, July 2020
Soft Pastel on Paper
12 x 18 in
Living on Maui in the Hawaii Islands for the past 33 years has been a beautiful experience for me. Growing up in the Midwest, I never contemplated where my life’s journey would take me. As fortune would have it, I have been blessed to live in some beautiful places, but nothing compares to Maui, my island home.

My art career started late in life and I’m happy to say that it is never too late to fulfill your passion. I have been surrounded by a very encouraging and fraternal community of artists and a vibrant community of art galleries catering to visitors, of which we have many, and residents alike. Until recently, that is. After COVID-19 spread throughout the world, we here in Hawaii have been affected in ways that most States have not.

Being the most geographically isolated place on the planet, we are dependent on ships and aircraft for nearly every essential item. Our economy is nearly 70% dependent on tourism. As expected, the shutdown of the economy has had tragic consequences for many businesses.

The good news is that the island’s natural beauty has not diminished one iota. Being a plein air painter by choice, I have the uncommon opportunity to paint outdoors all year long. I eagerly and passionately do just that. The locale where I live is at a 3,000-foot elevation on the slopes of a 10,000-foot volcano. While most of the area we refer to as “upcountry Maui” is rural farm and ranch land, it is also home to Haleakala National Park. I wander the roads and pastures looking for scenes to paint and find more inspiration and compositions than I have time to paint. Deep gorges, green pastures, forests, horses, farms, ranches, and livestock, all complemented by spectacular views of neighboring islands and the blue Pacific ocean are enough subject matter to last me a lifetime. If I tire of that, minutes away lie the beaches, cliffs, crashing surf, waterfalls, palm trees, and historic island architecture. Everyone comments how beautiful the sunsets are where they live, but trust me, ours are just a touch more magical.

So, while the world now is surely in a different place than it was at the beginning of 2020, I remain optimistic that brighter days are ahead. As a representational landscape artist, I feel compelled to record the beauty and tranquil serenity that nature provides me on a daily basis. It feeds my soul. If my paintings evoke that feeling in you, then I’ve accomplished my objective.