New Painting: Orchid Jungle

Hello! I've been doing a lot of painting recently, and this one is my most recent piece. It also comes with a pretty good backstory...

This piece was commisioned as a surprise gift for A, who has just completed a PhD about...er...wild orchids something something orchid trade something. (Just kidding A, I kinda know what you're PhD was about.) In case you haven't guessed, A is a friend of mine, and her partner P who commissioned the painting is also a friend of mine. Such a thoughtful gift, no?

P and I worked together on the sly to decide what to paint, and I got to work with my paints and pens. However, A and P live in another town, so the problem was getting the giant canvas to them safely. Luckily, it turned out that A was going to be in London, so I contacted her 'out of the blue' to do me a big favour by carrying something back to her town 'for my friend'. I didn't tell her that the parcel was a huge 100x50cm unwieldy thing, and I didn't give her any details about this mystery person who it belonged to, but A very kindly took the canvas on a cross-country train without any fuss. (I hope she doesn't do the same with items strangers want her to pack in her suitcase.)

Unless she is an even better liar than me or P, A apparently had no idea what was going on until she got back home and all was revealed. Hopefully, if she'd been thinking I was a super demanding friend for sticking her with this annoying thing, all was then forgiven. Enjoy it A!

I created Orchid Jungle using acrylic paints, gloss paint and metallic markers, and acrylic rhinestones (my favourite). I had a lot of fun adding layer upon layer of colour and pattern to this piece, and I enjoyed looking up images of wild orchids from the other side of the world to use as source material. Lord knows I love me some natural history. (Look out fo r the orchid mantises hidden in there, too!)

If you're curious about how such a piece comes to be, here's the final sketch I used as a reference. My sketches are always a mess, and they rarely look so much like the finished product. Here, I mapped out the different layers that I would include: A blue layer on the bottom, then pale blue stripes running in different directions, then green foliage, then pink foliage and flowers, then black drawings, then sparkly and shiny embellishments on top. I love seeing it come together as I paint.