|Cymbidium flower study, size 7 x 7 inches on the best of all sketchbook paper, Stillman & Birn.|
I was never more interested in any subject in my life than this of Orchids
Charles Darwin 1861
|Detail showing the column with pollinium|
|Pollinarium, showing the pollen sacs and sticky attachment which allows it to be carried by insects to the next flower. actual size is only around 2mm at the widest point.|
Here's a brief summary of the painting process.
Centre page is a face-on view of the flower. The fairly straight forward symmetrical view is easily achieved by drawing a box using the height and width measurements of the flower, then by dividing it up into four quarters (draw a horizontal and vertical line through the centre). Finally plot the position of the petals by judging the angles of the petal positions....kind of like a clock face. All that's left is to add the outline by measuring of the parts for accuracy.
|Simple face-on view of flower, get the basic symmetry right and then make adjustments as necessary|
|Adding the spots to a dampened surface gives soft edges.|
I then added the basic hue for the petals, which is almost 'fleshy' pink in colour.Vanadium yellow and vermilion plus a little of the ultramarine finest. For the cooler pinks I used ruby red in the mix. The edges of the petals were faded and brown, brown madder an ultramarine was used here. For the dark spots on the labellum I used ruby red and brown madder with a tiny amount of ultramarine for the darker areas. To apply, I wet the area first and allowed it to part dry and dropped the colour on, this give the soft edge to the spots, but care has to be taken to have just the right amount of dampness or the spots will spread too much. Darker areas were added on top, the spots are actually slightly raised so the light catches the edge of them and a darker area can be added to the shaded side.
A simple dissection in graphite and a few other parts were added (stigma, ovary, labellum and profile view). Hopefully this gives a good overview of the morphology on this small study page.