“Moon Bloom”

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all”. ~ Chinese Proverb

Cymbidium orchids are my favorite flower. They are so beautiful, exotic, and come in a myriad of different colors. Cymbidium is a genus of 52 evergreen species in the orchid family Orchidaceae. The name is derived from the Greek word kumbos, meaning ‘hole, cavity’. It refers to the form of the base of the lip. This genus is distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia, namely, northern India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines (YAY), Borneo, and northern Australia. The larger flowered species from which the large-flowered hybrids are derived grow at high altitudes. One feature that makes the plant so popular is the fact that it can survive during cold temperatures (as low as 7˚ C or 45˚ F).

You can even eat some of them!!! The species Cymbidium hookerianum is considered a delicacy in Bhutan where it is traditionally cooked in a spicy curry or stew. AND the Chinese varieties are fragrant!

Cymbidium plants grow to a height of 60 cm. Each flower can have a diameter of 5 to 10 cm, according to the species. They bloom during the winter, and each plant can have up to fifteen or more flowers. The fantastic range of colors for this genus include white, green, yellowish-green, cream, yellow, brown, pink, and red [and orange] and black (and there may be markings of other color shades at the same time), but not blue. The flowers last about ten weeks. (Summarized from Wikipedia).

I cannot think of a more heavenly flower, especially one that is fragrant, grows in such cold, high altitudes and one that you can turn into curry if you are hungry! Amazing! This is why I so love to paint them. “Moon Bloom” is a white Cymbidium orchid I photographed while visiting one of my favourite places – the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton.

Below is a picture of the painting in development. It took a few layers of paint to finish, and the red spots are always the last to be painted on. I was going to texture it with glass beads, but I felt it looked ghostly perfect the way it was.

photo 3

It is acrylic on 24×36 inch canvas, and varnished with Liquitex High Gloss. It is part of my “Enchanted Forest” series. When my children saw it, the first words they uttered were “Alien!” (gasp) – and – “It looks like it’s going to eat me!” Perfect! Truly the feeling I wanted to capture when I painted it – alien, ethereal, other-worldly. I hope you like it too!

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