My approach towards painting, and probably most things in life, is to focus on the journey rather than the destination. I find the twists and turns that crop up when one is open to them, far more interesting and challenging than a straight line of A to B.
My Paphiopedilum series is one of those journeys. When I began the series, I had been given a Paphiopedilum as a thank you gift. I was attracted to the showy yet delicate flower and as artists often do when something catches their interest, began to draw, paint and read about them.
First I learned about orchids more generally, by reading Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Orchids. Their bright green, fleshy, finger-like roots were weirdly beautiful to me, but what really captured my interest was the annual single bloom hybrid Paphiopedilums.
I came across The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid, by Craig Pittman. I found the human desire for uniquely beautiful flowers fascinating.
While I read and learned about my orchid, it bloomed and began to show signs of wither. I realised I didn’t have much time left so I drew and painted it to have a memory of it. When it fell, the beauty of its decay was exquisite to me and I photographed it obsessively to try and capture the luminous and veined petals.
Eventually I thought to make a print from it. Because of its delicate nature at that stage, I was only able to make one. I loved the idea that in making this print, it had actually taken me the best part of a year growing it to the point at which I captured its likeness. It was a journey, only known to me, that would be memorialised in a single moment.