Yes, the real Belle is really this cute... All 4lbs of her! This portrait is a mini: 5"x7". But size is no indication of ease. Initially, I started with a sketch of baby Belle, but we decided to go more current (she was super fluffball with a little extra baby fat). Then I began painting a different pose and realized it wasn't working for me. So finally I scratched my previous attempt and went back to the drawing board.
I have found that forcing a composition to work never works. Sometimes I have to step back, take a breath and say to myself, "what is the best choice?" Not the easiest, but the best. In this situation, going back to the start was the right choice. My second attempt moved effortlessly. We had to adjust a few tiny aspects (thin down her skinny legs and bring in more detail on her belly), but all in all it was smooth sailing once I got back on track.
This is my final piece for Japan! We are donating a few to children and their families affected by the tsunami of 2011. For this grouping, lots of Hawaiian flowers and cute, ambiguous birdies were requested. I love all the color and joy that comes from a bountiful bouquet and rotund onlookers. The Japanese White Eye is one of my most favorite birds to paint. Their white-ringed eyes add so much comedy and personality! Keep you updated on my Hawaii Loves Japan expedition...
The Po'ouli is a mysterious bird. the species wasn't discovered until the 1970s and is believed to be from a long line of honeycreepers unlike any other honeycreeper from Hawaii still in existence. Considered functionally extinct (listed as critically endangered), there were only three recorded in a search/doc of 2004 and at least one died in capitivity. I hold out hope that the Po'ouli is still out there. Just like the 'Akohekohe, thought to be extinct in the early 1900s, they were "rediscovered" in 1945 in the higher elevation of Haleakala, Maui.
My Po'ouli couple are taking a break from the hustle and bustle, pausing for a smooch under the Tiare flowers:)
As I look at a recent paintings, a few reoccurring color combos or subject matter start to make patterns. I really love using complementary colors to heighten the contrast and accent my birdies. I have found that the basic primary colors are all great together as well. "Happy In Hawaii" features primary colors in their intense, saturated hues. The 'Apapane is perfect for this composition with its bright red feathers and smiley disposition. Just another clear sky day in beautiful Hawaii:)
If this pose looks familiar, it is: I completely reworked "Brown Sugar" to be more explosive in color. Now I will have to paint another "Brown Sugar" because that is way too good of a title to pass up! Maybe I will paint a Chocolate Lab instead of a bird...
Enough about future ideas, "Burning For You" features a male Vermillion Flycatcher looking so sweet and innocent. Yes, he is much fluffier and round than a real flycatcher, I know. That's why I call him a Birdette as well, my artistic license to embellish the true form.
I got the chance to go to Maui yesterday and check out my new representation at Maui Hands Hyatt Regency. I also met Maureen, MH manager. If you are on Maui, take a day to hang out in the Ka'anipali area, play at the Hyatt and check out the gallery! I tried to take a panoramic of the shop, next time I will keep my reflection out of the shot;)
Loved the color on this painting so much that I had to make another one similar with just one bird. Sometimes I will recreate an original, but not exactly. I don't want to copy paintings that have already sold, but I will make a new one that has a likeness without being its twin.
They both have their own personalities, but they also look like they are from the same place and time. That's the amazing thing about painting and creating, no two canvases will ever be the same. There's too many variables involved:)
Gardenias come in all shapes and sizes here in Hawaii. This is one of the fuller blossoms. I love the pretty, crisp smell of gardenias. During our morning walks, their smell lingers in the air as we rush by (Uggi is usually on a mission for the next dog hotspot).
I added a Saffron Finch to the composition. These little guys are always flying and flipping around, bouncing from one sweet smell to the next. The male Saffron Finch has a red smudge on his forehead that extends down his throat. The smudge looks like someone took ketchup and thumbprinted his mustard-colored head.
I think I might need to eat breakfast, food analogies are making my tummy rumble!
The 'Akikiki is so fun the paint because they look like little fluffballs! Also, they have a steel blue-grey cap and back, so I can have fun with background colors.
My 'Akikiki are happily perched on a stem of indigo plumeria. They seem to be enjoying a nice afternoon in the sunlight before sunset comes along.
'Akikiki are critically endangered and can only be found on the island of Kauai. The 'Akikiki has a portly little shape accentuated by its stubby tail. Usually the eye rings will fade as the 'Akikiki gets older, so these two must be young bloods. Just love 'em!
"Only You" got a major overhaul. I am a firm believer in taking second looks, keeping myself open to critique (from myself and others) and always listening to my gut. Lately I have been in transformation mode, taking action and changing things that need changing. "Only You" was one of my paintings that I felt was "nice" but didn't have that "yay!" factor I crave. At first I was thinking I would just vamp up the background color and maybe add color to my birdie. After more consideration, I completely changed the bird from a white sparrow to an 'Apapane. And his pose changed, the background color changed, the flowers turned yellow instead of purple and I feel much happier looking at this painting. Basically "Only You" went in for a little primping and came out a brand new shiny beast!
Whenever I paint robins, I always get that 50's song "Rockin' Robin" rolling in my head. This painting's title is playing off that idea with a couple of major league rockers in the bitter cherry tree.
American Robin (Thrush family) is not directly related to the European Robin (Flycatcher family), but it's reddish orange breast resembles that of the European Robin, so the name stuck.You can find American Robins all over North America. In fact, the American Robin is one of the most common birds on this continent.
My American Robins are very rotund, but don't let that fool you. They are seriously ready to rock you! (although I have a feeling there would be some silly dance moves and dance breaks to catch your breath from giggling with delight...)
Karen Obuhanych (kto ART) is a Hawaii-based artist who relishes in the simple, happy moments of everyday life.