Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"White Cattaleya Orchid"

"White Cattelaya Orchid" -- oil on canvas 30x40" -- Margie Guyot

Why settle for nondescript, insipid houseplants when you can have orchids?  That's my philosopy.  I'd bought this plant about 15 years ago at a garage sale in Birmingham, Michigan.  It was big then and kept getting "huger and huger" (pardon my English!).  It'd become so pot-bound it quit flowering.  Oy vey -- the mess of untangling the mad snarl of roots!  I separated it into about 5 plants a couple years ago and now each plant is a flowering fool!

Besides being beautiful and stupendous, these orchids have a faint, sweet scent.  And my house sure can use some sweet scents.  I've got 4 cats.

But you want to read about this painting!  OK, ok.  Before I did this particular painting, I did a close-up view of the orchid.  But I thought it was depressing.  It looked too trite!  I just cannot abide trite.  No, what this wonderful plant needed was to be be featured in its full glory: sprawling madly across a larger canvas!

But how should I arrange it?  What color scheme?  More and more, thinking about the overall color scheme is something I consider first of all.  I laid back on my studio couch, feeling agitated, thinking color...color...color....  Then my eyes fell on a painting I did last year, all in shades of gold and lavender.  Aha!

And since Easter is on the horizon, I wanted to include (finally!) an old, metal cake pan in the shape of a lamb.  It'd been another resale shop find.  And a conch shell -- how Easter-y is that?  Ha ha. 

I love that silk shawl!  The fringe on the edges almost gives is an "in flight" sort of feel, like the Magic Orchid is out for a cruise. 

In the background, on the upper left, is an antique yellow dish that I love.  It's got a "busy" pattern to it and casts the most interesting shadows.  Next to it is an antique ice cream dish. 

I love painting shells!  Maybe I should have moved nearer to the ocean.  Did I ever mention that I collect conch shells?  I pick them up whenever they show up in garage sales, up here in northern Michigan.  One of mine I bought in Peru, when I was on a 3 week excursion into the wilds, studying the shamans.  That particular shell was cut at the tip.  It can be tooted, like a trumpet.  I tooted on that thing all along the Inca Trail.  Ah, but that's another story.

Besides the conch, there's an abalone shell in the center, by the orchid.  I don't know how well the colors came through in this photo (or on  your monitor), but it's one of my most fun, favorite things to paint!  I could just fall into those iridescent colors!  I could totally zone out into abstraction when painting that.

I had to use silk daffodils in this painting.  Mine were still coming up at the time of painting.  Am I forgiven?

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