Plein Air Artists

Recently my husband, some of my family and I were camping in Kananaskis Country and on one of our trips in the area, we came across two ladies who were plein air artists. For those unfamiliar with that term, it means they were painting outdoors rather than in a studio. The ladies were very approachable and, because of my love of art, we got to visiting while they packed up for the day. They painted oil landscapes and from the few paintings I saw, I could tell they were accomplished at it.

After we finished talking art, we began to discuss other things, one of which was where they were from. It turns out one grew up not more than fifteen miles from where we live, and she and I had an artist friend in common. Cool. Anyway, because we hit it off so well, we became Facebook friends. I love it when I make an immediate connection with someone. Kindred spirits, as Anne Shirley would say.

There’s a video of plein air artists in which you’ll see my new Facebook friend, (she’s wearing the wide-brimmed, straw hat and teal jacket) and our friend in common, wearing a black jacket with a white scarf. Since I’m not certain if they’d like their name mentioned, I won’t. You should find the video easily: CTV Calgary: Plein Air Artists in K-Country. Of course you’ll have to put up with a bit of an ad first. Go figure.




The Road to Hana

Cruising around my newest addiction, Pinterest, I came across a picture taken along the road to Hana in Maui. And it brought back such vivid memories, though not necessarily all good.

A few years ago, I travelled that fabulous road with my husband, my two brothers and their wives. If you’ve never been on it, let me say it was absolutely the most beautiful, picturesque way to kill oneself I have ever experienced. Although it’s only sixty-eight miles in length there are about six-hundred turns, or if you’re the type to get car sick, about six-hundred opportunities to upchuck your last meal. To add to the enjoyment, at nearly every turn there is a one lane bridge, and a driver on the other side determined to beat you to it. The road is narrow, but as long as the ocean side vehicles drive with one wheel hanging over the cliff edge, and the hillside vehicles drive within inches of the chasm between the road and the rock face wall, there is no problem.

The travel guides say it is about a two and a half hour drive one way. Doing the math that’s about twenty-seven miles per hour, give or take a few white knuckles. We did it in a mere five hours because we stopped at every available touristy pull-off to do touristy things.

This is where the picturesque part comes in. The vegetation is lush, the ocean a beautiful sapphire blue, waterfalls everywhere you turn, lava tubes, water seeping out of rocks, black sand beaches. Truly, God created some of his most spectacular landscapes along the road to Hana.

Too bad the devil was in charge of the road to get there.

One would think, after risking dismemberment or death, that the destination, Hana, would be a fabulous resort town. No, it’s more like a last resort town. From what I saw, there wasn’t much more than a few houses and the Hana General Store. We dropped in, picked up a few refreshments and I bought a “I Survived the Road to Hana” bumper sticker, hoping later I’d be able to buy a sticker which said, “I Survived the Road Back from Hana.”

You’ll find, as we did, that the sun sets quite early in Maui. We drove back from Hana in the dark. Fortunately there was no oncoming traffic. The townsfolk of Hana were already home likely because the locals knew that only a fool would drive that road at night.

We weren’t the only ones. If you can imagine a long chain of cars, bumper to bumper, speeding along at about forty-five miles an hour, weaving left then right as the road serpentines along the ocean, you might be thinking of a Sunday drive. If you can imagine lemmings following one after the other over the cliff, you might have been sitting beside me in the car as I muttered something about updating my will. Surely if the lead car had gone over the edge, the rest of us would have followed quite happily into the deep abyss.

My oldest brother, hypnotized by the red tail lights before him, casually remarked as he drove like the other twenty madmen in our congo line, “You guys are sure quiet.”

My other brother responded, “It’s hard to chat while you’re praying.”

Amen to that!

Obviously the prayers worked, because we made it back from Hana safely. And in one and a half hours, to boot.

The oddest thing about the road–no, let me rephrase that–the oddest thing about me, is that I’d love to drive it again. It is undoubtably the most invigorating road I’ve ever been on. The views are spectacular. Plus you get to buy a neat little sticker, “I Survived the Road to Hana.” Everyone should have at least one of those!

PS. To the wonderful Hawaiian people living in Hana, my apologies if I missed the major portion of your town. Perhaps it was around the next bend or over the hill, but I don’t recall seeing it. And I will offer a prayer for those who travel that road to work everyday. You must have nerves of steel!