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149 Calligraphy Draws My Preferred Orchid

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8 replies to this topic

#1 fpupulin


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Posted 23 May 2020 - 23:25

In a sense, contrary to what is customary to believe, orchids are not something uncommon. They are found all over the planet, except in the Antarctic, and seen as a group they are perhaps the largest family in the world among plants with flowers. The only other group that can rival orchids in diversity is that of the weeds, which no one dreams of considering as something rare.


How many species of orchids are there? Since Linnaeus' time, just over 58,000 have been described, but botanists have only recently agreed (more or less) to review the list and clean it of duplicates, reaching a consensus of about 28,000 species. I, who live and study the orchids of the American wet tropics, where they are more abundant, know that there are still a few thousand missing, and a conservative figure of 30-35 thousand species of orchids is very plausible.


In the midst of such an exorbitant variety of forms, it would seem difficult for one to have its own "favorite orchid", but I have one: the beautiful and modest Phalaenopsis violacea.




Phalaenopsis violacea is not the most showy of orchids and certainly, compared to the most bizarre creatures in its family, not even an extravagant species. Its flowers, although not small for the average of orchids, are far from the extra-large sizes of some of the most celebrated species, and are not even produced in large clusters as is the case with the varieties that have the greatest success among growers.

But those colors ... I find it wonderful the improbable combination of the most vivid magenta with the almost acid green where the tips of the tepals end, and between the two that white which on one side is a pale purple, on the other a very pale green ... or is it rather pale pink? The broad, shiny, wavy, pendulous leaves, and the robust inflorescences of a few flowers that place the flowers just above the lush foliage, all conspire to evoke me the imagine of the warm, shady and mysterious jungles of Malaysia from which this species originates...





And the scent ... The flowers of Phalaenopsis violacea have one of the most intense and pleasant scents that I know of! Would you have a plant of Phalaenopsis violaceaa with one or two flowers in your studio, in a few minutes the atmosphere will be impregnated with its aroma. It is a sweet rosy-floral fragrance mixed with berries, with an additional blend of spicy cinnamon. Scientifically speaking, it is mostly composed by elemicyne (55%) and alcohol cinnamylic (27%). While the latter is responsible for the sweet scent of hyacinth and lily of the valley, the elemicin adds the spicy, cinnamon or saffron-like element. No surprise the  elemicin oil is being researched for its potential psychoactive effects…



I drew my Phalaenopsis violacea, using photographs of a blooming from a couple of years ago, with the Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Calligraphy. The beautiful stroke variation of the Calligraphy nib, from extra-fine to broad, is ideal for the type of “China ink" drawing that I had in mind. I used, for the first time, the paper of a Moleskine notebook of the Art Collection series, the Watercolor Notebook, a 200 g/m2 paper that in theory should well withstand the action of the brush soaked in water. For the use with fountain pen ink, it is superb! Here I used Montblanc's Black Permanent, a very black ink. I colored the flowers with old Caran D’Ache Prsimalo Aquarelle pencils, which I have owned for forty years.




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#2 zaddick


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Posted 23 May 2020 - 23:54

Beautiful and amazing!

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#3 Joane



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Posted 24 May 2020 - 01:55

Beautiful flowers, photo and drawing. I can see why that variety is a favourite. Nice to see the pen alongside the drawing. A lot of the background information about orchids was new to me and is greatly appreciated. Being a perfume junkie, I particularly enjoyed the detailed description of the fragrance. Id love having a perfume like that.
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#4 txomsy


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Posted 24 May 2020 - 10:49

Didn't know about their fragrance. Now I have one more to add to my collection. Thanks for the post, the picture, the drawing and the info.

#5 jmccarty3


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Posted 24 May 2020 - 17:34

Stunning, as always!

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#6 LuckyKate



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Posted 24 May 2020 - 19:47

This drawing is exquisite as is your exact description of the orchid. Thank you!

#7 Wolverine1


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Posted 25 May 2020 - 20:51

Franco- once again, you have wowed me!!!!!  :) Thank you for sharing your talents with us. Thanks.

#8 fpupulin


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Posted 25 May 2020 - 22:15

zaddick, Joane, Txomsy, jmccarty3, LuckyKate, Wolverine1: thank you so much, guys, for your words of appreciation. They are always very motivating!

#9 fpupulin


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Posted 25 May 2020 - 22:27

Didn't know about their fragrance. Now I have one more to add to my collection. Thanks for the post, the picture, the drawing and the info.

Actually, grossly 75% of all orchid species are scented. As most orchids require the help of an animal to attain pollination and reproduce, scents are an effective tool to attract potential pollinators to the flowers. Whilst most orchid scents are very pleasant, there are also a few that are putrid, to attract and deceive flies that deposit their eggs in decomposing organic matter.
Here in the American tropics, where I live, there is large group of bees, the Euglossinae (also known as orchid bees), in which the males have to collect several specific aromatic compounds and mix them into a sort of bees' Chanel No. 5 (which is specific to any bee species) in order to attract their females. Several groups of Neotropical orchids have specialized in synthesizing those particular compounds to offer as a "volatile reward" to their visitors. Those scents are often powerful and very agreeable.

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