Fluffy (to my left) really gave me trouble today! Although I am painting these minis within the time span of a day, I have to take quite a bit of time planning them out, sketching and "rehearsing" prior to the final canvas. On any given day, I have 10-20 different ideas rough sketched and waiting for my undivided attention. Sometimes the process is super quick, like half an hour. Other times, it can take me a week of mulling over an idea and reworking a composition until it finally feels right.
In the case of "Lehua Morning", I started off my idea with a Elepaio (Hawaiian bird that's in a lot of ancient Hawaiian stories). Then I changed my mind and switched the bird to a Lavender Waxbill Finch for more color and started to paint. Well, he came out really dull in color and I wanted him to be a pop so I went back to the drawing board and decided to make my ohia lehua (the flower) red instead of yellow. With the adjustment to red, I again changed my choice of bird to the Common Redpoll. These guys fluff up and look like little white, brown and red puffballs when they take a rest on a branch, so he's extra plump. As I began bringing this little guy to life, he kept resisting me. At first he was too fat that he looked flat. Then his head was too lumpy. Then his feathers looked too ruffled. I have found that less is more when painting in my style. Working and reworking a composition can make everything seem dull or heavy, so I had to hold back and allow my little friend to show himself. In the end, I am very happy with how he turned out. I feel we bonded over my struggle to find his identity:)
Karen Obuhanych (kto ART) is a Hawaii-based artist who relishes in the simple, happy moments of everyday life.