Acrylic 12 x 16
on gallery wrapped canvas.

Once in a while, when I am painting on location, a place opens up and shares a tiny bit of its story. I went to the Old Airport park 3 times to finish this painting. The first time was all about the clouds, the ocean, and the distant Mauna Loa. That first painting day, back in May, was the only time when Mauna Loa was clear and crisply visible. The second time was mostly about the tide pools. I had an interesting conversation with these two girls who were sitting in the water. One of them turned out to have a family historically involved with fishpond preservation, and I enjoyed talking to them immensely, so I put them in the painting.
The third time I went, I was really unsure what the painting needed. I just knew it wasn’t finished and hoped something would come to me. I set up my easel and had not even started putting out the paint when it happened! I was approached by a lovely gentleman who had seen the painting and said he wanted to show me something his great great grandfather (there might have been more greats) had passed down to his family. I followed him South about a hundred feet from my location and he pointed and said “can you see the faces?” I could see nothing that far away - my eyes aren’t that sharp. I took out my phone and asked if I could take a zoomed in picture, and he could show me. He was fine with that and there they were. I could not believe I’d been standing there painting those rocks for 3 separate times and not noticed. I do love discovering things like this. I told him about the faces I’ve seen in North Kohala on the cliffs, and he said he didn’t know their stories, but he did have a story for these:

He told me his great great grandfather shared with his family that this was “Auntie Pele and her mo’opuna, looking back towards Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Since that rock is sometimes popularly called “shark rock” I asked about that and he said, no that is just a modern thing.

I am naming the painting “Mo’opuna” which means grandchildren. I am deeply grateful for moments of connection like these, and that he was willing to share.

Comments are coming in. This unique place is special to people for different reasons. The following comment recently came in:

Aloha Jane, Wonderful painting. I sent your post to my former foster daughter who now lives in Arkansas. She is Hawaiian, descended from Alii on both her mother and father’s side. She told me about the rock formation when we were at the Old Airport about 20 years ago. Said the area from sea to mountain had been the ahupua’a of her family. She called it the pico rock (belly button rock) as it was the tradition to place the umbilical cord on the rock each time a baby was born in her family. Thought you’d like to add the story to the lore of your painting.