Happy Lei Day & May Day! I just finished a painting celebrating Hawaiian Flowers. These are all flowers that were here long before humans found the remote beauty of Hawaii.
On the left is the vivid magenta flower stalk of the rare and gorgeous Lobelia gaudichaudii plant which grows only in high in the mountains of Oahu. In the center, peach-colored ‘ie’ie (freycinetia arbora), is the focal point. It is a high elevation vine that climbs the massive trees and cliffsides spreading bursts of long, thin leaves along a robust woody vine. Below that, the delicate yellow flowers of ilima, (Sida fallax) are the official flower of Oahu (every island has a special flower as a symbol on lei day). Ilima grows from the beaches up to the mountains and makes a wonderful landscape plant! Speaking of official flowers, Hawaii Island’s official flower, ohia, the tree which is among the first to grow forth from the barren lava, is just to the right of the ie ie. I chose the rare orange ohia blossom to continue the orange tones. Ohai (Sesbania tomentosa) is in the bottom right corner and would be wonderful to plant in your yard if you live in the drier parts of the island. If you are on Oahu, check with the specialty native plant nursery, Hui O Ka Maoli Ola – they will have it (and ilima) or will know where to get it and will probably be able to advise whether it is a good choice for your yard. Finally, rare endangered Hawaiian tree-thistle (Hesperomannia arbuscula) incorporates all three major floral colors to complete the composition.
Thank you to Nate Yuen for his excellent blog http://hawaiianforest.com/ where I have learned so much about these gorgeous plants! If you want to have a more beautiful Facebook feed, follow him and enjoy the gorgeous photos he takes.
This painting is currently on the wall of the newly renovated Lion Coffee Cafe in Kalihi (1555 Kalani St, Honolulu, HI 96817). They have generously provided space on their large wall with special lighting and hanging systems specifically for artists to show and sell work. It’s a new venue for artists on Oahu, which is very exciting. I helped them design the hanging system and have become the first artist in the space to “break it in”. It’s been a fantastic experience! It’s a wonderful place to get a cup of coffee and a delicious bite to eat as you see the art on the wall. I will have my work there for two months, ending on June 30, 2018.