I love watching meteor showers on the Big Island because the skies are super clear and most of the island is wide open for star gazing. In fact, the north-west side of the island mostly prohibits contractors from building over three stories, so there are no bothersome skyscrapers obstructing the view. The birds I painted here are common nighthawks. I wanted a cute pair of birds found in Hawaii that stay up at night to watch the light show. It doesn't hurt in the cute department that they have big doe-y eyes and seemingly shrugged shoulders from their long wings. Nothing can be finer than a snuggle under the falling stars!
Back to the Chickadees! This time I started with a song that I love and created a painting based on the song "Cheek To Cheek". I know it as the song Fred Astaire sings to Ginger Rogers in "Top Hat".
When I was growing up, I loved watching the old-time musicals, especially the ones with Fred Astaire. The way he danced was like silk or floating on gusts of wind inches above the ground. That feeling of effortlessness is intoxicating. And it transverses all actions in life. Not to be too philosophical, but it is true. We are in awe of people who make difficult tasks look like child's play. I don't think I will ever stop being in awe of Fred Astaire's floating on air or Michael Jordan's flying leaps to the hoop or my mom's ability help me through any quandary. I like to find the little things that make me smile and keep them close so I have a reason to smile each and every day :)
These birdies are 'Amakihi from Hawaii. They are on the lesser side of endangered because of their adaptability. Part of the Hawaiian honeycreepers family, the 'Amakihi usually feeds on nectar, but in a pinch they will eat insects or even suck juice from a fruit! This pair of 'Amakihis are perched on a Koli'i branch for breakfast. Time to eat!
I had a great time yesterday visiting with my friend Sheila and her daughter Gracie (a budding artist herself). We toured my little studio space, checked out the new bird bath and had breakfast with our buddy Kris:) Good fun!
'Apapane is a native species of Hawaii and is uncommonly common for an endemic bird. My 'Apapane is sitting on a Naio branch with budding flowers. Usually found sipping nectar from the Ohia Lehua blossom, I wanted to mix it up a bit and give the 'Apapane change of scenary. The 'Apapane lives mostly above us all in the higher level forests. They will come down to lower canopies, where you can go birding and find the male singing to his mate.
I do receive a lot of requests for native Hawaiian birds and I love to paint them, so I will paint more and more of them!
I have been threatening to make an army of Birdettes, so here's "Pleased To Meetcha!" I love when the way little birds hop and skip around, thoroughly examining anything new in their environment. Yesterday, a piece of shiny tissue wrapping flew into our backyard and the sparrows had a field day! They were circling it, hopping on the corners, pecking at the shiny spots... very funny.
Today, I put up a few treeball bird feeders. We shall see how long it takes for my buddies to find them!
I think this Birdette may be a girl... She just landed and introduces herself straight away, like a independent lady should. More Birdettes to come!
For the past few days, I've had Birdette on the brain and I'm working on a children's book featuring my favorite little fluffball... Stay tuned!
Iiwi birds are like Hawaii's version of hummingbirds. They can even hover in flight like hummingbirds, and the Iiwi has a similar odd cuteness to their looks and personality. Iiwis are the most abundant of Hawaiian honeycreepers, but they are still listed as "vulnerable", so researchers continue to monitor their population. Due to it's bright red plumage and amplitude, the Iiwi has become a recongiazable symbol of Hawaii.
"Ku'uipo" is Hawaiian for "my sweetheart" and I thought it a fitting title for my little Iiwi pair. These love birds sit on one of their favorite nectar branches, the Mamane. If youhadn't noticed, Iiwis have long, hooked beaks that are perfect for extracting sweet nectar from the most difficult of flowers.
My little "Ku'uipo" pair must be on a lunch date... great weather for spending the day with the one you love!
I had so much fun making the Chestnut-Sided Warblers, that I decided to paint a different kind of warbler simply called the Black-and-White Warbler. Their bold black and white coloration make them a little easier to spot than most, but the Black-and-White Warbler tends to move a lot, climbing and hopping up big tree trunks while hunting for tasty insects.
In my painting, the male is singing sweet songs to his mate and she's enjoying every note. Here's to never letting the honeymoon end... even if he's got to take a second or two to catch his breath!
Genesis Gallery Hawaii just updated their website! Check out genesisgalleryhawaii.com to view my page: Karen Obuhanych (kto)
This week I am working on my friend Kristin's dog portrait, so today I wanted to create a simpler composition... Of course, what started as a seemingly simple design became more difficult. When you have less to look at, what is there has to be that much more perfect ;)
The birds are Chestnut-Sided Warblers. Males have the signature color on their flanks while in breeding plumage. Warblers are known for their song that, as many people claim, sounds like "Pleased Pleased Pleased to Meet-cha".
Usually when a bird has so many color features, it makes painting them a little easier because I just focus on colors. But I had to rework this male warbler quite a bit. If I had kept him the original size that I painted, he would have been rocking major Bobble-Head Syndrome.
The background color looks similar to "Kissy Face", the Chickadee pair that I painted a few days ago, but I swear I mixed both colors from three different hues of red, white and blue... I really like both backgrounds of "Kissy Face" and "Hey Good Lookin'" so I'm going to make more with shades of this color family. More to come!
One of my artist friend, Deb, sent me a bird picture as "research" featuring a bunch of finches playing in a bird bath. I loved the idea and realized, I don't have a bird bath- this needs to be remedied! So I ordered one from Amazon, waited two days and (voila!) my copper dish bird bath arrived.
Since we have all kinds of fruit trees in our backyard, a variety of birds visit me everyday. The usual suspects are finches, sparrows, mynas and doves. I have at least one Northern Cardinal couple that nest in one of my trees and a few Japanese White-Eyes, too. The sparrows instantly discovered the bird bath, but use it more as a drinking fountain, so I was really excited when I heard a big "sploosh!" yesterday. I ran (as ninja-like as possible) to the screen door and peeked out to see not one, but TWO myna birds bathing together in my tiny copper dish. They were practically falling out of the bath, but that didn't bother them at all. And like a pair of synchronized swimmers they turned, looked at me, then flew up to the fence to preen!
The little cutey in my painting is a female House Sparrow. I imagined her going for a drink and finding her reflection as a new friend instead. I'm a huge Pixar fan (maybe a little biased because my brother works for the company) and I knew immediately that Toy Story's main theme would have to be the name for this painting. Without care in the world, my little House Sparrow and her reflection are having a great time poolside today :)
Chickadees and kissy faces, hooray:) This painting is a little larger than my normal daily paintings (8"x8") but I felt they needed their space! I am officially obsessed with painting Black-Capped Chickadees. Their color combo and silly personalities make for great, cheery compositions.
I showed my husband and said, "Ooo, Kissy Kissy!" and he called me bonkers. Then I show my friend Kris, and she said (without prompting) "Kissy Kissy!" to which I replied, "I know, right? Bob called me 'bonkers'..." Kris explained it all with one word, "Boys..."
Yea, those boys act like they don't like kissy-face, but us girls know better!
Karen Obuhanych (kto ART) is a Hawaii-based artist who relishes in the simple, happy moments of everyday life.