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Maui

Georgia O’Keeffe on Maui – Who Knew?

In one of the iterations of my life, I was a design major at the University of California at Davis. Of course, I took a bunch of different art classes, as I expected to be the next Georgia O’Keeffe of California. I had fallen in love with her work after a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico where her life’s collection is on display. I loved her use of bright color, exotic plants, and marveled at how she could define the shape and form of a plain white flower on paper. I could identify her flowers; hibiscus, plumeria, poppy, even the blossom of a budding banana tree. They grew in California. However, there was always one painting that always puzzled me. What was the name of this strange flower that I had never seen before? I thought it was some type of lily. It’s posted below.

Time passes, I move to Maui. We buy a house in Wailuku Heights, next door to Iao Valley. The Valley seemed so friendly to me. The foggy valleys, the constant cloud cover, and Pu’u Kukui pushing its head out over the clouds, looking so familiar. I just thought these feelings were part of my romantic crush that I have on the island. I have lived many places in the world, but Maui’s beauty is magical.

So, August rolls around and I decide to write a blog on one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keeffe. She painted all those wonderful flowers that I remembered from my childhood. I’ll do a little research on this lady and find something interesting to write about her work. Interesting? She came here to Maui to paint in 1939!!! Who Knew? Those lovely flowers she painted were painted on Maui. She had been commissioned by Dole Pineapple to produce two canvases of pineapples.

O’Keeffe travel to Hawai’i from New York visiting different islands. On Oahu, she was not allowed to stay on a working pineapple plantation. Women didn’t do that kinda thing then. So, she left for Maui where she went directly to Hana staying on the Kaeleku sugar plantation. Hana at that time had a population of 3500, two cinemas, three barbershops, restaurants, and even a pool hall. Not so today, but Hasegawa’s General Store, where she bought her famous straw hat, still stands.

From Hana, she explored sea caves, ruins, beaches, and Haleakala Crater. She visited Oheo Gulch and it’s Seven Sacred Pools, swam in a cave near Waianapanapa Beach, and painted two lava bridges. One of the lava bridges is just south of Hana on the Coastal Trail. After nine weeks in Hawai’i, O’Keeffe returned to Manhattan where she finished her works on papaya, heliconia, a fish hook, but no pineapples. Dole was a bit upset but had a whole pineapple couriered to her by seaplane. Pineapple she did then paint.

Her trip was a success and Stieglitz’s Maison Avenue Gallery showed her works of Hawai’i. Fans loved the new collection. A critic claimed that the works, “testify to Miss O’Keeffe’s ability to make herself at home anywhere.” Oh, and that strange lily painting that had captured my attention in art school, it’s a painting of Iao Valley, my home.

Please contact me at LindaMcCormick@HawaiiLife.com if you would like to make Maui your home too.

Aloha

About the Author

Linda McCormick

Linda McCormick is a REALTOR Salesperson with Hawai'i Life. Presently I work as a Sales Agent for Hawaii Life on Maui, Hawaii, selling primarily residential properties. I have bought and sold homes for remodel and renovation in both California and Hawaii for over 20 years. In a past iteration of my life I taught Business Classes at the UH Maui College and also at various universities in Barcelona, Spain. However, after graduating in Environmental Design from UC Davis I started my own Reconstruction and Renovation Company, IDI by Design. And here is where I got my “street shoes on.” I purchased homes for resale providing: design, construction plans, project management, fiscal management, with budgeting over $1 million in renovation work. I secured loans, made payroll, released bids, hired and scheduled sub-contractors, and met with inspectors for final sign off. I marketed the newly renovated homes by giving walking tours of the interiors, designing and publishing PR brochures and flyers, and holding open houses. Lastly, and best of all, I negotiated contracts for the sale and purchase of the residential properties. You can email me at LindaMcCormick@HawaiiLife.com or via phone at (808) 359-3227.

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