I’ve decided that I want to work in a series, because I want to torture push myself as an artist, so I’m doing full-plant portraits of orchids (i’m really intruiged by the form and negative space of the leaves) along with a close-up of the flower (Which everyone loves).
This specimen came from my local garden store and is unfortunately unlabeled, but I know it’s a Cattleya, and I decided to name him “Fried Eggs”.
There’s something incredibly eerie about Martin Johnson Heade’s Cattleya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds. Painted in 1871, it is part of a series of paintings Heade completed of humminbirds and flowers in Brazil.
The National Gallery of Art writes: “Perhaps inspired by the writings of Charles Darwin, the artist studied these subjects in the wild during several expeditions to South America.”
It clearly isn’t, however, a painting directly from life.
And that’s where the eeriness comes in.
With its sudden leap from close-up still life to distant landscape, its vivid colors, and its ambiguous lighting, Cattleya Orchid seems simultaneously plausible and imagined, resulting in a surreal compromise.
The shock of bright blue sky behind a grey-brown and vine-covered branch heightens the effect.
This is a must have for any cattleya collection. I tend to favor interesting (over overtly beautiful) flowers so our collection has more bi-foliate cattleyas than uni-foliates. That said, amethystoglossa has it all. Amazing flowers with fragrance and beauty that rival any of its corsage type cousins. I received this plant from Roy Tokunaga 7-8 years ago and its flowers have gotten better and better over time with this years pseudobulb topping 2.5 feet. Definitely not for the windowsill.