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  • Writer's pictureSarah Taylor Ko

Crossing Over

Ever a land of contrasts, nowhere is the chiaroscuro of Hawai'i more evident than on Saddle Road aka Daniel K. Inouye Highway. It rises from sea level to over 6600 ft in elevation as it crosses the entire Big Island from Hilo to Kona, like a saddle. The road is rough, narrow, often obscured by fog, and surrounded by volcanic cones. It feels like another planet entirely. It was built in 1943 after the attack on Pearl Harbor as a military access road. We use it to get to the only Costco on the island.

In my painting Crossing Over I wanted to capture the feeling of the place, bright and dark, simple and mysterious, ancient and new. I chose the title not only because "crossing over" is the only way to get to the other side of the island, but because it references spirituality, the death and life cycle so apparent in Hawai'i. Everything gets covered over in 80 feet of lava, and then life grows again.

It can be difficult to know when to stop working on a painting. I liked the texture I had created (see bottom left.) I sanded through the many applications of paint to access hidden textures and colors from previous layers. This process is much like the land itself, laid down in successive magma flows from the volcanoes and worn down by the wind and rain. I was reluctant to loose the texture, but I continued to increase the value contrast between the cone and the sky, alter the sunset color, and simplify the cloud structures until the composition felt balanced.

Crossing Over is now available in my store online, click here for more details:

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