Yellow Hawaiian Floral

Yellow Hawaiian Floral
9 x 12 inches
Oil on Wood Panel

These are all flowers that were here long before humans found the remote beauty of Hawaii.

On the left top, yellow ohia is next to mamane, Below that there are white maiapilo flowers . Running up the middle, blue lobelia flowers and yellow indigenous hibiscus (ma’o) are the focal point. To the right are abutilon sandwichensis, then the white flowers that look like they are broken in half (naupaka), and on the bottom Oahu’s official lei flower, ilima.

Thanks to Nate Yuen of for his posts on his blog and Facebook that have taught me so much about these flowers, and to Kim and Forest Starr, David Eickhoff, and John Game for inspiration photos.

Naupaka of all the Hawaiian plants has a particularly amazing mo’olelo (legend/story). There are many variations, but the basic version of the legend is that two lovers wanted to marry, but the man was a commoner, and the woman, an ali’i (ruling class). Because of this difference in classes, they were forbidden to marry and with sad hearts, they obeyed. The two parted, ripping a naupaka flower in half. The woman returned to the seaside and turned into Beach Naupaka. The man stayed in the mountains and turned into Mountain Naupaka. The two types of Naupaka grow at different elevations, never meeting, and each looks like a half-flower. It is yet another example of the eloquent natural observation of Hawaiian lore. I suggest reading at least two or three of the various versions of this mo’olelo. There are several variations, and each has something interesting and unique to offer.