Making the West Maui Mountains

Driving down the Haleakala Highway into central Maui is a beautiful scene.  Ahead of you the West Maui Mountains spread along the central valley, the ocean is to the north, and you are surrounded by sugar cane.  I snapped a quick picture one day, and decided to paint it.

Down the Highway

I started by transposing the photo to a sketch book so I could get the proportions right for the canvas.

From Photo to Drawing

Next: starting with a fresh, blank canvas, one of the most exciting parts of the painting process!

Blank Canvas

I always use a few background colors that I think will offset the colors in the image and add depth. In this piece I ended up letting a lot of the red show through in the cane fields.

Background Colors

Next I added the sky…smooth and clear, just like this day.

Blue Sky

I added the clouds that lingered behind the mountains.


As I put in the mountains I paid close attention to the proportions and specs from my drawing.

Added Mountains

Added the sugar cane and other details.

Added Green

Comparing the painting to the drawing I was pretty happy with how the accuracy and detail of the mountain range turned out.

Compared to Sketch

And it’s finished!

And it's done

Available on the Mamala O Maui Etsy site.