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Performances Maui Artists Art in Action Galleries

Arts & Culture
Maui Artist
Oils, Pastels, Drawings

Iao Rapids - Oil
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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."
Panorama of Haleakala
Panorama of Haleakala - Pastel
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 high country."

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.

View of an Ancient Ohi'a Tree

View of an Ancient O'Hia Tree - Pastel
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.

Lilies - Oil
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.
Moonrise over Makawao
Moonrise Over Makawao - Pastel
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 here.

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