My sister bought our mother a Phalaenopsis orchid for Mother’s Day at one of the shopping mall shows in the 1970s. It bloomed again the next year and I became hooked. Since then I have grown many different varieties, including hardy, terrestrial orchids.
In Pennsylvania, I grew orchids indoors in winter and out under trees in the summertime. Florida has made it possible for me to grow orchids outdoors all year long, noting two seasons: a dry winter season and a rainy summer one, as most tropical climates afford these.
This pastel painting illustrates the difference in time from then ’til now with the advent of insect vector diseases, gardening outdoors has become not only a bother but also a danger, adding the protection of mosquito netting to the situation. Using sandboard has made it possible to build up layers of pastel to create a feeling of solid form and space. Leaving the head unblended and ‘sketchy’ not only allows the viewer to see how a pastel is built up before blending, but gives the effect of perspiration and breath from behind the netting.
The orchid depicted here is Laeliocattleya Susan Holguin “Ramona”, a modern intergeneric hybrid. It is growing on a Strangler Fig, Ficus aurea, on Sanibel Island – which is encompassing a Cabbage Palm – Sabal major – both native to Florida.
This painting has been juried into the Bucks Fever self portrait show “Who Am I?” sponsored by Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce and is on exhibition until May 21, 2017 at thehealthwellnesscenter.com in Warrington, PA.