Five orchids

Australian bush orchids can be found across the country, but are particularly prolific in Western Australia. There are areas that are transformed every year by the wildflowers that blossom in spring, some huge and showy, others tiny and hidden. Orchids are in this group, many are so tiny that unless you are looking for them you can walk right past and never know they are there. Once found though more and more can be seen, and more and more strange they can be.

In this drawing I have worked from orchids that I have found, but with a little exaggeration, adding tendrils and textures and intensifying some of the shapes, and in particular, enlarging them dramatically, by a factor of between 10 and 20. But having said that, they are sufficiently intricate and strange to need very little interference.

As I generally do, I started this drawing with an idea of how I would progress, but open to the drawing taking me off in different directions. I made a decision to only draw the flower head itself, no stalk or leaves. The yellow orchid in the centre came first, then the top left and bottom right. Clearly another was needed, so then came the one at top right. I thought this was done, but felt very uncomfortable having four – I always prefer an uneven number of objects, then I could see a gap at bottom left, so in went the last one.

All of these are spider orchids of various kinds, the species name is caladenia. However, I suspect a botanist would take issue with the way I have interpreted some of these …

The paper is 300gsm Corona hot pressed, 50 x 70 cm, and the pencils used were Faber Castell Polychromos, no graphite. Below are details, showing each flower.

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

15 thoughts

  1. Well I could tell they were Caladenia from the get go, so they aren’t that botanically incorrect. Putting that to one side, your drawings are absolutely exsquisite I am amazed at the subtleties you have achieved.

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  2. What comes to mind straight away is a dance, and if I could compare it to another art work it would be “The Dance” by Henri Matisse. The middle orchid is en pointe: this one must be the star as its colours stand alone, while the orchid corps de ballet encircle it. It is a gossamer ballet on an ethereal stage.

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    1. I have just revisited Matisse’s The Dance, and it is uncanny how right you are. There is the same sort of circular flow, with the stylised bodies translated into flowers. These flowers are so light and delicate, there has to be a link to ballet, so I’m glad they do keep that lightness. A friend mentioned that to her they seemed angry, as though they are fighting with one another, pushing and pulling – I find the individual interpretations so fascinating!

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