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mattmorris

Watercolors from the Island

Posted by on 11/16/11 at 02:30pm

I feel like sharing a few watercolor sketches from my recent travels to the island of Maui, Hawaii. For those who dont know, Maui is the second largest and second youngest in the string of islands of Hawaii with the island of Hawaii being the youngest, largest and with the most volcanic activity. This island is probably the most diverse ecosystem I have ever seen. Only about 50 miles long from tip to tip it has two volcanos with the dormant Halleakela being the largest at 10,023 feet. Measured from the seafloor it stands close to 30,000 feet making it one of the largest single mountains on the planet (taller and more massive than Mount Everest by the way). Walking around on top of the volcano must be like the surface of Mars. The island has extreme climates due to the islands physical makeup and the fact that it sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Prevailing winds pummel the northeast side of the island dumping on average 300 inches of rain annually with one spot measuring nearly 425 inches of rain. The shape of the land and vegetation reflect those heavy rainfalls. This spectacular place boasts countless plants and trees on the rainy side making one feel like they are swimming in a sea of chlorofil. The leeward side drops to below 20 inches of annual rainfall looking a little like the environment of Big Bend with prickly pear, century plants and acacia trees. Unfortunately, good thoughtful architecture is rare, reserved to historic, indigenous buildings; those that work with the vaying climates and past cultures. Sadly, newer buildings dont acknowledge those precedents and are much like new buildings in most American cities (ignoring climate, geography, culture, so on). As a result I chose to focus on the remarkably beautiful environment and less on architecture. Below are a few watercolor sketches from this trip.