Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter Blooms and Sketches

Winter blooms.

Miltassia hybrid "Scent of a Woman."

My orchids really seem to like our new master bath--they have been putting on a wonderful display this winter. Above is a photo of one of the plant boxes surrounding the bathtub, and below a detail of the current blossoms--a pink Miltassia hybrid named "Scent of a Woman." I bought this orchid at a clearance sale for $5--the plant looked as if it might not make it, but I decided to take a chance on it anyway. A little TLC and not only did it bounce back, it has blossomed faithfully every winter since I bought it. This flowering spike is the largest it has produced to date, with more than 22 individual flowers.

Graphite sketch of Brassidia hybrid orchid.

The sketch above is of one of my "mystery orchids" bought at a roadside stand in Florida three years ago. This is the one that blossomed on Christmas Eve (recorded in photos that were posted here in December) that I believe may be a Brassidia hybrid (a three-way hybrid of Brassia, Miltonia and Oncidium). I plan to turn this sketch into a watercolor illustration later on. 

Below is another quick sketch done last night. My camera is currently undergoing repairs, so I need to sketch this orchid to record the development of its large and fascinating flower spike. What will the flowers turn out to be like and what colors? From the structure of the emerging buds--very similar to the Miltassia--I'm guessing it may be another Oncidium-Miltonia hybrid, but who knows? This is part of the fun.

Mystery orchid #2

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Painting Practice and 7 East Gallery Reception

Dendrobium Orchid practice painting

Yesterday in class we continued to work on various watercolor techniques we can apply to our paintings. One interesting one I tried out here was to use colored pencil to shade the veins in on the petals and sepals and include a subtle touch of yellow-green at the tips of the sepals. This is done before the watercolor wash is applied and allows one to add detail that would be difficult to put in with a brush. I still have a ways to go rendering the flower color accurately, and will practice more before starting on the final painting next week.

Catching up with my other art activities, last Sunday was the opening reception at for my featured artist show "Life Impressions" at 7 East Gallery in Woodstock, VA. Snow flurries had been forecast for the morning, and sure enough, dry flakes were blowing about when I got up. Checking the weather report on-line, there was no accumulation expected and the snow was supposed to clear by afternoon, so I went ahead with my preparations for the refreshments. I was bringing two more paintings to add to the show; at the gallery's request we would display those on easels set about the floor.

Herb and I headed out a little past noon to be there at one o'clock to set things up, driving through more thick flurries, but these stopped before we reached the town of Woodstock and the sun actually came out. I had a lovely table set up but only a few artist members of the gallery came, and our son David and his girlfriend. My public may have been small compared to other shows, but as Spencer Tracy would have said in character, "what there was, was cherce".

Me in front of 7 East Gallery (photo by David)

Inside the gallery (photo by Herb)