Sunday, July 22, 2007


Here is the finished product. It normally does not take as long as these posts have taken to appear for me to complete a watercolor like this one. Check back to see new paintings and other Orchid happenings.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Here are a couple of images as the painting progresses. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I use liquid watercolors from tubes like this. I like the consistency of the paint. It also allows immediate intense color straight from the tube when I want it.

The watercolor is squeezed out on to tin palettes like these. I can arrange the colors in my own color wheel placing color and groups of colors in places where they are most useful to me. After a while the tin becomes a bit overcrowded and muddy like the one on the left. When that happens I just rinse the entire thing off with water and start over.

I start putting down layers in different areas . Working in different areas at the same time on the painting makes it come together pretty fast. Painting white blooms on a white piece of paper can also be a little tricky. It is a difficult balance to give the blooms the depth of color but still retain the appearance of a white flower. Overworking the area I run the risk of it becoming cloudy and dull.

Check back for more progress.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I create my watercolor images on Fabrianno or Arches 140lb watercolor paper. The paper size is 22 x 30 inches -a size I am comfortable working on but I work in many sizes. The paper needs to be strong enough to handle large amounts of washes of water and repeated applications in particular areas and not get too distorted. I really like the rough edges on these papers it looks great once the works are floated in a frame for hanging.

I work on a flat table in my studio facing the window making use of the natural light. I begin by closely examining the specimen and lightly sketch out the composition on the paper. Sorry for the poor quality image. it was difficult to capture the drawing delicacies with out washing them out or having to manipulate it in another program and have it come out not looking like a pencil drawing. I sometimes take liberties with proportion or placement of the blooms to the leaves and roots so I can create a more dynamic composition. I try to draw as lightly as possible and minimize the amount of pencil marks with out sacrificing details. I keep the actual specimen on the table next to me to continually refer to during the entire process. It is a great way to spend the day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Several people have asked to see images of works in progress to see how I come up with a finished illustration.
I like to work with natural light and Im very fortunate to have a great studio space to work in with plenty of natural, Southern California sunshine. I also like to work from living specimens like this White Phalaenopsis which just opened up the other day. Friends and other Orchid lovers like myself are always willing to share a blooimg plant for documentation when I lack live resource materials from my own Orchid collection. Sometimes I venture into new territory like the palm which I posted previously. Check back to see my progress. I will get into more details about materials I use and how I apply them.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


It has been a while since I have had any luck with my collection of Phalaenopsis Orchids. I lost many due my mistake of placing them in an area of the garden which I thought would be a perfect growing spot for them to flower. After several relocations and more casualties Ive been able to spend more time paying closer attention to their needs and I'm getting some positive results. Several specimens have spikes with healthy blooms breaking open.

The generic name means "Phalaen[a]-like" and is probably a reference to the genus Phalaena, the name given by Carolus Linnaeus to a group of large moths; the flowers of some species supposedly resemble moths in flight. For this reason, the species are sometimes called Moth orchids.
They are native throughout southeast Asia from the Himalayan mountains to the islands of Polillo and Palawan of the Philippines and northern Australia. Orchid Island off Taiwan is named after this orchid. Little is known about their habitat and their ecology in nature since little field research has been done in the last decades.

Phalaenopsis amabilis (Moon Orchid)
Most are epiphytic shade plants; a few are lithophytes. In the wild they are typically found below the canopies of moist and humid lowland forests, protected against direct sunlight, but equally in seasonally dry or cool environments. The species have adapted individually to these three habitats.
Phalaenopsis shows a monopodial growth habit. An erect growing rhizome produces from the top one or two alternate, thick and fleshy, elleptical leaves a year. The older, basal leaves drop off at the same rate. The plant retains in this way four to five leaves. If very healthy, they can have up to ten or more leaves. They have no pseudobulbs. The raceme appears from the stem between the leaves. They bloom in their full glory for several weeks. If kept in the home, they usually last two to three months, which is considered quite a long time.