It is DAY 2 after The Annual Maui Open Studios Event (MOS), and I am taking a moment to reflect on the past couple of months. If you’re a mother, a project manager, or another creator you are well-aware of the preparation leading up to the moment. Equally, you may feel the crash when it’s over.

The event started back in October when I began preparing for this event. I noticed from last year, that there is no telling what people will be drawn to (“drawn to” get it), so I worked in and out of my studio passionately creating a body of work that included a variety of sizes; framed and unframed in watercolors, encaustics, oil paintings, and pastels.

Original watercolor painting "Hidden Gem" of crab claw heliconia by Maui artist Christine Waara

“Hidden Gem” Original Watercolor

Many, if not all, of my pieces shine a spotlight on the well-being of our planet. I paint what makes me joyful – plants, clouds, reflections in water, places I’ve visited, color. Not only does it help guide ME toward becoming a more joyful being, but I hope that it brings YOU the same feeling. More than anything I want to project a JOYFUL feeling into the world. That doesn’t mean every moment is joyful, but that’s genuinely what I want to project. The passion I create paintings with is the same passion that drives me to always do my best in whatever I’m doing, be it listening, writing, gardening, or yoga.

Printed guidebooks and posted signage led people to my MOS venue where I also teach classes at the Uaoa Art Barn. I had the opportunity to talk with many visitors and residents. All of them art-lovers – so we immediately share something in common. It humbles me to see supportive friends, students, and followers of my work show up and learn about what inspires my artwork, talk story, and sometimes purchase directly from my collection. Suffice it to say it was a successful weekend!

After the artwork was dismantled and the signs were taken down, I got home, collapsed in a chair, and wanted to sob. It’s over. MONTHS of painting and preparation and not for nothing – hard work. I don’t do this for the money (although it’s necessary), or the positive feedback (but it’s nice to hear). The reward for being an artist – for me — is an intrinsic one. It comes from the bliss of experiencing a well-lived day, co-creating through my hands, delighting in my environment, and the brilliance reflected in the eyes of all I meet.

"There Was a Frog Here Somewhere" original watercolor painting by Maui artist Christine Waara

“There Was a Frog Here Somewhere” original watercolor painting

That exhaustion I felt from not getting much rest the last few days and by wearing my art on the walls (feelings on my sleeve) made my mind vulnerable to feeling unworthy of receiving joy, money, and praise.  I was on such a “high.” Then it was over, and the “low” came to visit. After a good night’s sleep and some good conversation and laughter with family and friends I realize that yes, I am deserving of all the goodness and happiness that I attracted this past weekend. I deserve to be joyful and take pride in the work that I do. I CAN be happy. It’s allowed!

I want to express my sincere gratitude to you all for taking this journey through life on this planet with me. It may sound strange to say it this way, but we are all here together. We affect one another with what we project into the world. May you feel the blessings of life in thought, word, and deed. May you see the gift in every challenge and the sacred in every step and every face you meet today. And most importantly, may you remember that you make a difference. I hope you allow yourself to feel more joy. It may mean doing more things that bring you joy. Just do it. And do it with passion.

Many blessings always,


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