11 September 2015

"In His Hands..." Susquehanna Orchid Society Annual Show and Sale

A fellow illustrator/artist friend of mine suggested I do a piece for the Susquehanna Orchid Society 32nd annual exhibition and auction, so I gave it some consideration and eventually decided to pull something together.

The historical and mythological predisposition in my inspirational repertoire instantly got me to thinking of cultural origin tales. The go-to in Western society is often Greek mythos, and I found myself dredging up the transformation of Orchis.

"Orchis Transformed" being the alternate title for this little orchid-themed painting, the creative process sprung from how Orchis, the son of a satyr and a nymph, took too enthusiastically to a priestess of the wine god Bacchus during a feast, and was therefore punished, eventually concluding in his transformation into the orchid flower. And so, for Greece, the origin of the erotic plant is explained.

I say erotic because, besides the beautiful and sensual meanings associated with the flower around the world, the orchid species has a distinctive shape to its roots - In Greek, 'orchis' means 'testicles'; when you see the roots, you'll appreciate why they made a connection between a lustful mythological man and this particular flora. 
The ancient culture also maintained that eating the roots of the orchid would help a couple achieve the desired sex of a coming child. It went something like, if the father ate the large, new tubers, the child would be a boy, and if the mother ate the smaller tubers, the child would be a girl... Strange times, back then.

Anyways, the theme for the show is of course orchids, and I wanted the focus of the art to reflect that, so keeping things simple, small, and as mood-appropriate as possible, not letting myself get caught up in the exact Mediterranean-native orchid species that would be best (which I nearly got derailed by focusing on, dorky me), I chose an attractive moth orchid and paired it with dramatic lighting, a natural palette, and tender hands. I also wanted to freshen things up a bit by using masculine hands for an intentionally graceful composition. 
Who says male anatomy can't support beauty in art? They also supported the concept better than female ones would have.

Here is the final piece, followed by a framed shot and then photos documenting the process:

"In His Hands...", 5x7", Mixed Media, 2015

With a cool little find of a frame, 2015

The frame I found for this was a serendipitous little thing, and it's border design has a delicate pattern that looks like orchid leaves to me, so the two elements seem to complete each other nicely.

Besides the research and reference of shooting a friend's hands holding a piece of rope, hah, I did the painting in watercolor, graphite, acrylic, and colored pencil, with a little medium and such thrown in, all in once place, on this little board:

Roughing in the drawing of the hands over the wash
Finding the line variation and value notes for the hands 
Underpainting stage
From underpainting...
...to painting and final touches

I greatly enjoy the puzzling intricacies in the anatomy of hands, and this was a surprising piece to discover at the end of the process. I enjoyed working on it.

Coming Exhibition:

"In His Hands..." is officially juried in to the orchid-themed exhibition for the Susquehanna Orchid Society's Annual Show and Sale, held this October at the Ware Center in downtown Lancaster, PA, in collaboration with the Mount Gretna School of Art and Lancaster Galleries.

This should be a great bunch of original art available with stunning, living ‪orchid‬ arrangements, all for show and sale, and it's *open to the public* {free admission!}

Here's some schedule information to plan by:

     Thursday, October 1st - 6:30 pm to 9 pm Preview Party

     Friday, October 2nd - noon to 8 pm Exhibits open to the public, Vendor Sales open

     Saturday, October 3rd - 9 am to 6 pm Exhibits open to the public, Vendor Sales open

     Sunday, October 4th - noon to-4 pm Exhibits open to the public, Vendor Sales open

Join us for ‪#‎LancasterArtWalk‬! And congratulations to all exhibitors!

See you there,
Until then,


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