I chose to paint Mauna Kea in my painting, Before They Touched Mauna Kea, because the view is actually from my family’s farm. When I was younger, I would wonder what Mauna Kea would look like without the telescopes, and with this project, I was able to see for myself. On the left side of my painting, I included persimmon trees and a patch of romaine lettuce my family grows. Next to that is their neighbor’s farm and their white fascia house. The white flowers that border the romaine patch are Spanish needle weeds, not to be confused with daisies. The girl in the front of the painting is my cousin, Ruby, who lives in the Big Island and often visits the farm during school breaks. She has an amazing personality-one that isn’t afraid to make new friends, always puts a smile on everyone’s face, and tries to help everyone as best as possible. I’d go to that exact same area I painted whenever I go to the Big Island because I find it relaxing to be surrounded by nature. My great-grandfather loved that area because if you were to look to your right, you would see the ocean and Waimea’s rolling hills, and on clear days, sometimes Mauna Loa. Today, his ashes lie beneath a tree that was planted on a nearby hill that captures the same view. While I was painting this project, I got more experience using different paints and materials. For example, I found that I have an easier time using gouache paints since I can control the texture easier compared to acrylic paint. So, I ended up using gouache for almost the entire painting. I only used some acrylic paint for the dirt/brown areas, but avoided using it for detailed places. The only times I used pencil was when I was making a rough draft of my painting and outlining the edges of the neighbor’s house in the background. Overall, this was my favorite art project that I’ve ever worked on. After working on it for hours at a time, and sometimes even taking it home, I’m proud of what I made. After adding final touches to this painting, I was surprised at how capable I was to create the painting that stood in front of my eyes.