Painting the Real World

One of the beauties of painting is it can be photographic in detail, or suggestive, allowing the mind and imagination to fill in the spaces. Personally, I prefer the latter. I’ve never been a realist, yet as someone who enjoys painting, I love seeing what the “real” is, and seeing the work of the “artist.”

This is a strange orchid. It lives in a pot out on the patio, grows several feet tall, and survives my neglect. I have seen this same orchid flourishing in more protected areas, lanky and straggly, in pinks, oranges and reds. Can you believe that this flower is about 5 feet tall? It really is!

The flowers themselves are rather tiny, but clustered in groups at the top of long stems. Air roots emerge periodically from the stems, and if you want more of these orchids, cut them down, stick ’em in the ground or potting soil, and off they go.

These orchids make me laugh. I just don’t expect orchids to be quite so hardy! I always think of delicate flowers, in steamy hot houses, sort of like the descriptions in that old story by Dashiell Hammett – decay, rot, humidity.

These orchids are really not elegant in the way cymbidiums are, or other more exotic specimens. Their beauty lies in the smallness of the flower, the gangliness of the stalks, the sturdy jutting of the leaves.

Here is my homage to this unnamed orchid.


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