My friends give me ideas all the time and my good buddy Kris has been bugging to paint a bird with the Bird of Paradise. So here it is! And I must say, I really enjoyed creating the flower.
The bird I chose to perch on my BoP is a Red-Cheeked Cordon Bleu. These birds (part of the finch family) are not endemic to Hawaii, but they were introduced to the islands a while back. I love their colors and that sweet red patch on the males' cheeks.
Note to self: must paint more BoPs and R-CCBs... That's a lot of letters to decipher!
I gave myself a lot of artistic leeway on the rendition of the 'Apapane in this painting. Sometimes I like to just make the idea of the bird and feature the flower a little more. In Hawaii, we have a lot of different colored Hibiscus, but the yellow with red inside is the state flower.
I imagine this little guy is waiting for new friends to arrive. He thought it best to come prepared with a symbol of the islands, welcoming everyone to come and stay awhile.
It's been a while since I painted a Ke Aloha painting, so here are my beloved 'Elepaio. There are a few sub-species of the 'Elepaio and these two are one of the less endangered sub-species called the Volcano 'Elepaio. One awesome characteristic of the 'Elepaio is their upright tail. Sometimes they rest in down, but as they move from tree to tree (preferably Koa), that tail is sticking straight up in the sky!
As part of the Ke Aloha Series, this 'Elepaio painting shows off their love by making a kissy heart. Part of the proceeds of any Ke Aloha painting will be donated to conservation of Hawaii's endemic birds. Sadly, over half of our native birds have already met extinction. Conservation centers on all islands are working hard to support the surviving species and increase their numbers.
For more information on helping the conservatuon of Hawaiian bird species, check out:
Yea, this one took longer than one day. More like a month... But I love how it turned out. Sometimes I get an idea stuck in my head and the only way to put my mind at ease is to transform that idea into a painting. In my head, this painting would be relatively easy... Laborious but simple in design. When concept evolved into practice, however, easy was out the door and a big ole mess of difficult took its place. I painted dark feathers first, then some green, then realized that didn't look right and washed a background color over all that work. Starting over basically, I brought back some dark feathers again, then some highlights and kept layering colors and tones until it seemed to be working out. With troublesome paintings such as this one, I usually start off detesting the whole thing and forcing myself to work through it. Then one day I look at it and think, "it looks pretty good!" And that's when it becomes fun. Kind of like a book that starts off super slow and you think, "why did they say this was a must read?" But you read on because your friend said it changed her life and all of a sudden after page 56, you can't put it down. Painting is sometimes like that, present painting included. Now I will miss the back and forth between peacock and me. But just like another amazing book, there's another painting around the bend.
The California Poppy is my favorite flower. It reminds me of childhood and my grandma that painted an amazing watercolor of me raising a poppy up to my brother's nose to smell. It was no surprise to me that "California Dreamin'" (my first CA poppy painting) sold quickly, and i have been planning to make another one for awhile now. So when a friend asked if I had sold "CA Dreamin'", I was given the opportunity to start my next field! Skip to a week or two later, and here we are: ready for clear coat of varnish and off we go!
This past week I met a super nice couple that loved my pet portraits but have their hearts set on pugs. Just so happens that I was planning to get a pug painting started, so they gave me a little incentive to do just that. Initially, I thought one pug would do, but upon hearing that their daughter decided they needed to get two real pugs for home, I had an idea. Jokingly I mentioned that maybe I will paint two pugs together to make it harder for them to say no to the painting. But I quickly realized that I wasn't really kidding, and I edited my mental preliminary compostion to include an extra bit of pug cuteness. So here we have it: lots of wrinkly smashy face to show some love!
Yay for Nuthatches! Love them! This Red-breasted Nuthatch is hanging out in one of his favorite pine trees. Chilling with the pine cones. i love the Nuthatch's torpedo-shaped bodies, especially pronounced when they lean forward to check something out. I have a lot of painting to do today, so I'll keep it short. Enjoy the day just like my friend in his pine tree!
I love suggestions and ideas thrown my way, so when my friend Mike sent me a link to a Laughing Kookaburra, I was inspired. Kookaburra live mostly in Australia. They are carnivorous and have been known to even steal meat cooking on outdoor bbq grills.
This painting is an obvious translation of the Australian nursery rhyme, but I felt that the one Kookaburra needed a friend. I chose to do lots more texture in this painting and used the palette knife for added weight on the birds' feathers.
They look content in the old gum tree!
Pueo! When they fly, Pueo make little to no sound due to their tatter-edged wings that cut through the air. I immediately had the "Airplanes" song stuck in my head while painting this one. Not sure yet, but I may decide to go back in a few days and add some background detail... Haven't made my mind up about that yet. Stay tuned!
White-eyes were introduced to the Hawaiian islands but I can't hold that against them. It's not their fault and they are just too darn cute! We had one make a nest in our plumeria tree this spring and its amazing how tiny their nests are: no bigger than a lemon cut in half.
White-eyes always look a little shocked which adds to their likability. I had to name these guys after the Jimmy Buffett song. They look like they are inside a print for an aloha shirt and they have a striking resemblance to two helpings of piña colada goodness. I wish I was up in the tree with these two... Wish I had a piña colada right about now too.
Karen Obuhanych (kto ART) is a Hawaii-based artist who relishes in the simple, happy moments of everyday life.