This past February, I sat on the banks of New Black Sand Beach, land barely 30 years old. The Kilauea volcano's eruption back in 1990 destroyed the towns of Kalapana and Kaimu and also the beloved black sand beach there at Kaimu Beach Park. 11 miles down The Red Road, Isaac Hale Park experienced a bit of creative destruction from the most recent eruption in 2018. Some of the park remains. There, I stood on new land, not even 2 years old. I was on the Big Island of Hawaii for a tropical art retreat www.abbierabinowitz.com/tropical-art-nature-retreat/ I was drawn to stand upon the new black lava rock. It was a mysterious and awesome feeling for me. The event of a volcanic eruption, lava flowing downward toward the ocean destroying all in its path, and then creating new land now ready for exploration was felt in the core of me. Whenever the group on the retreat went out to plein air paint, I found I wanted/needed to stand upon the lava rock. I am an abstract painter and am guided intuitively to paint what I feel. This retreat was a first time for me to experience plein air as an abstract artist. Above is "Creative Destruction." It is acrylic on 14" x 10" water color paper.
This idea of creative destruction seems to be expressing in many facets of life these days. The original term came about to describe an economic circumstance, but I think it applies to nature and, well, everything. The force of the earth's power destroys and creates. The force of humanity has the potential to do the same thing. The force of my own desire for personal growth experiences this. Some things in my life are being destroyed, less intensely than a volcanic eruption though. However, if I can practice gratitude for its presence in my life, then release and let go, I experience a peace about it and am more aware to the "new" being offered. If I resist, well...I can create so much unnecessary challenge and struggle it's almost silly when I look back after some time passes. So, with this fresh perspective on life, I witness the new and unknown being created in my life. It's a mysterious, and awesome feeling for me!
This February, I spent a wonderful week painting in Hawaii* while standing on some of the youngest land in the world. The 2018 Kilauea volcano eruption created a brand new black sand beach along the coastline near Isaac Hale Park on the Big Island. When I returned home and began researching Ireland to prompt inspiration for a painting for the "Luck of the Irish" event** at The Grange** in Broomfield, I learned Ireland was also formed by volcanic activity, yet this land is over 60 million years old! The Giant's Causeway*** was created by lava and the rock formations are beautiful and so unique. What might less than 2 year old land and 60 million year old land teach me? What might their inhabitants teach me?
"Luck of the Irish" celebrates a characteristic of Irish people. Although it implies they are a lucky people, my research reveals it is more that they have a quality of remaining positive in times of difficulty. They stand up to discouraging circumstances using their sense of humor. And, they persist as long as needed in order to manifest their unique goals and dreams. When the Irish arrived in America, they worked hard and had a right attitude in mind. These qualities created their success. It only "looked" like luck to others.
While walking along the new black sand beaches formed by the Kilauea volcanic lava flows, I saw coconut, palm, tropical grasses, mango, and even a banyan tree planted in the cracks of the hard, black lava rock. The Hawaiian people know it will take many, many years for the tropical forest to be established and so, they help it along by planting seedlings of native plants. They are connected to their land. They are ONE with it. The Hawaiians understand the lava rock need plants to live, die, and decompose to make soil so that the forest can eventually become prolific in growth and benefit all island life. It is a necessary relationship. They understand they can help the earth heal from a natural tragedy. They also understand it is a process that takes a long time and so they do it for their children, and the generations to come. Their respect and nurturing approach to their land is key to their own healing.
Two cultures inhabiting lands half the world apart in time and space...both living examples for me to follow. Thank you to the Irish! And, thank you to Hawaiians! May I live with as much intention and action as you model!
** https://www.crescentgrange.org/luck-of-the-irish/ and https://www.crescentgrange.org/
Lisa Tousignant is a local artist in Broomfield, Colorado. She considers herself an intuitive and experimental, abstract artist working in acrylic and mixed mediums.