Maui artist Kit Gentry talks
about his blessings: "I've been greatly blessed with a life full of fortunate
events. The circumstances which have allowed me to develop my skills to
the fullest, and to eventually settle in Hawai'i on a permanent basis, have
been so advantageous that they must be a reflection either of extremely
good luck or of guided providence. None of this could have occurred without
constant support, both financial and emotional, from my parents, family
members and friends - to them I must extend my heartfelt thanks for overwhelming
gifts far beyond my ability to repay."
Rapids - Oil
For a Larger View, Click on Image
Kit has lived in the Upcountry district of Maui, on the high slopes of Haleakala
volcano, ever since moving to the island from Michigan in 1993. This location
has a unique charm which he finds especially intriguing. According to Kit,
"It could hardly be more different from the expected quality of a tropical
island. The cool air, the smell of wood-smoke from a fireplace, and the
giant trees with branches rising against a brightly moon-lit sky - these
are the types of elements which contribute to the rich character of Maui's
of Haleakala - Pastel
The ancient Hawaiian forest is one of the great attractions of this mountain
region. For a variety of reasons, Hawaii's forests have been greatly reduced
during the past two centuries, and many of the native trees are now quite
rare. Fortunately, significant portions of this unique forest still exist
on Maui in various places, but are mainly restricted to the high country
above an elevation of 3,000 feet. Kit spends much of his time in the forest
where he does many of his drawings. This requires a lot of hiking, while
carrying a backpack loaded with food, water, warm clothing and art supplies.
Inclement weather is common in the forest, and rapid weather changes present
a constant challenge for him while working there - surprisingly, some of
his best drawings have been done under the cover of an umbrella.
The highland forest is a source of endless fascination for Kit, and the
experience of spending time there is greatly tied to the value of the drawings.
It is a deeply mysterious and haunting place - the cool atmosphere is one
of eternal autumn, where clouds often encircle the mountain, brushing against
the land and embracing the forest in a dense, swirling fog. The ancient
trees are extremely gnarled and weathered, and many are of such fantastic
shape and size that they seem capable of coming to life and marching across
the landscape. It is an environment in which odd, magical events seem almost
possible, and he tries to get this quality into his drawings. Kit says he
would be quite satisfied if people thought that the drawings were based
on strange characters and places which he had merely dreamed about or had
recalled from some childhood story. But it's all very real.
View of an Ancient O'Hia Tree - Pastel
In his artwork, Kit strives
for strong realism through accurate observation and drawing. Although he
occasionally paints still-life subjects during times of inclement weather,
most of his work is concerned with landscape elements. In this pursuit,
He spends a great deal of time working outdoors in his attempt to capture
genuine effects of light and color as they appear in the natural world.
To him, there is no greater standard of beauty than the daily occurrence
of light radiating from the sky and reflecting from the surfaces of land
and water. But this same belief can be extended to the effects of light
on the surface of something as simple as a piece of fruit resting
in a wicker basket. "The greatest achievement of any painter," says Kit,
"is the sensitive capture of the subtle and amazing behavior of light."
It seems to Kit Gentry that the great volcanoes and valleys of Hawai'i are
begging to be portrayed in a grand, panoramic format capable of presenting
their sweeping and breathtaking views. He is just as happy to work after
sunset, finding an equally beautiful and dramatic world under the light
of the moon or in the glow of urban development - night scenes represent
some of his most intriguing pictures.
The majority of Kit's color work is done with oil on linen canvas or with
pastel on black paper. He also does many charcoal drawings, using an unusual
technique in which he tones his paper with two layers of pastel - the upper
layer can be erased away to reveal the brighter layer below, which is treated
to prevent erasure, allowing for a greater degree of subtlety in shading.
He gives attention to the use of reliable materials which artists have used
confidently for centuries. assuring that his artwork is of the highest archival
durability possible. Want more info on Kit and his work? Click
Over Makawao - Pastel