Kamaipuupaa, the Prince Lot festival hula mound

22 02 2013
Painting en plein air

Painting en plein air

One of my favorite sanctuaries on Oʻahu is Moanalua Gardens where I went with my students to paint en plein air earlier this month. A pleasant place to rest, picnic, and entertain, it is privately owned but open to the public. I find it peaceful and healing to go there.

We can go there for free during daylight hours most days. It is popular with young families, pre-school groups, Japanese tourists, artists, and lovers. That sounds busy, but the park is large enough that you can find a spot for yourself. Lucky for us at least a bit of the area of the cultured Gardens remains, for it used to cover three times the area. Imagine the beauty back when.

Every July, the day-long Prince Lot Hula Festival draws an audience of about 10,000 people who relax in the shade of the trees and enjoy viewing the dance by invited hula hālau (troupes) on the outdoor hula mound. This year the event is scheduled for Saturday, July 20, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On three outings there this month, while busloads of Japanese tourists came to photograph the famous Hitachi tree (Hitachi, Ltd. pays for the rights to use the image of the grand, old monkeypod tree as its logo), while the gardeners operated their loud maintenance equipment, and while the elementary school children next door enjoyed their recess, I could still find my zone to paint the hula , romantically back-lit by the morning sun.

Japanese visitors come to see the “Hitachi tree” and have their photo taken in front of it.

Moanalua pond

A koi pond adjacent to a loʻi kalo (taro garden) attracts ducks, youngsters and photographers. The banyan in the background is just one of many mature trees here.

My finished painting “Kamaipuupaa,” 24″ x 18″ oil on canvas panel. The grassy hula mound is the venue for the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens in July. If you plan to go this summer, please verify the date in local news media.

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke



One response

11 07 2013
Up and coming, oh, it’s here! | Rebekah’s Studio

[…] Thirdly, please save July 20 for the Prince Lot Hula Festival, a day-long program of wonderful Hawaiian dance, arts, crafts, and food at the beautiful Moanaloa Gardens. I will have a booth there with my oil paintings and some lower-priced reproductions of “Kamaipuupaa,” my image of the earthen mound that is the stage the hula dancers perform on. Moanalua Gardens is one of my favorite places to paint. […]

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