Artist who chased Maui landscapes opening reception

Cathrine Prose chalk pastel drawing of a landscape in Maui. Photo contributed by Cathrine Prose

The opening reception for “Landscapes from Maui” by Catherine Prose, professor in Jaunita and Ralph Harvey School of Visual Arts, will be held in the Moffett Library at 4 p.m on Friday Oct. 6.

Prose will display 14 chalk pastel drawings, on black paper, that she completed on the Paul Bice Sabbatical.

“The biggest point of this trip was that it was funded by a new grant,” Prose said. “Dr. Paul Bice funded a faculty research grant and I was the first faculty member to be awarded that.”

The grant was an avenue for a faculty member to use for any sort of creative project the faculty member wanted to pursue.

“I wanted [my project] to be specifically about Maui in that environment,” Prose said. “It is a very unique environment because it was so isolated from all those Hawaiian Islands or isolated from everything on this planet.”

All her drawings are done in plein air, French for ‘out in the open air.’ She says it was to capture the scenery and landscape of Maui.

“[Drawings] are all done plein air and it was really central to the impressionist movement, that they were outside capturing the effects of light and color in landscape in the real,” Prose said.

Her drawings are done in a gestural style and due to them being plein air the drawings were finished in one sitting getting roughly two to three done a day.

“Some of the drawings might have taken one hour and others took more like two and a half hours,” Prose said. “On a good day I would get three done and other days I would get just about two done.”

Prose was able to get a total of 19 drawings completed, with only 14 in the show, in a 14 day time span.

“We only have 14 on display but I ended up with about 19 drawings total,” Prose said.

Prose’s initial idea was to work with some nature conservation commisions on the island and due to the timing not being right resulted in the plein air and document as much of the landscape she could.

“The timing wasn’t right when I was scheduled to go to Maui, most of the people were on vacation,” Prose said. “I went on the high season, the touristy season, so they were all gone.”

Prose stayed in the private residence of Bice, in a fairly isolated area in which she wasn’t in with other tourists and says it was easy to be anonymous and hop around.

“While I was there I ended up chasing landscapes,” Prose said. “I would follow a part of a landscape through different areas of a beach all day, catching the same landscape but in different perspectives.”

Prose wants people to look at these documentations of the landscape taking in the line work and the colors used to create the vistas, and become curious about Maui.

“At the end of the day because these are plein air and because they are all just produced at that time based on esthetically what I’m viewing, it’s really about beauty,” Prose said.

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