Michelle Obama Orchid
Oil on Canvas, 60" x 48", 2014
Orchid: Cattleya ‘Michelle Obama’
Native Range: Hybrid, USA (Hybridized by Chadwick & Sons Orchids using Cattleya Mini Purple and Cattleya trianaei - endemic to Columbia and its national flower)
“In 2014, I was commissioned by the United States Botanic Garden and the Architect of the Capitol to design and paint two original paintings interpreting their 2014 “Orchid Symphony” exhibition theme of orchids, classical music and fountains.
I was honored to work with the USBG’s prestigious staff to select the Cattleya Michelle Obama orchid and its companion orchid Blc. ‘Ports of Paradise’, based on their visual appeal, uniqueness, and historical significance.
To emphasize the classical music theme amidst flowing water fountains, both the “Michelle Obama Orchid” painting and the “Ports of Paradise” painting poised these two stunning orchid companions against a background of swirling aqua blue. Over 250,000 visitors viewed the exhibit.
Cattleya orchids have been some of the most popular orchids since the early 20th century, once even thought of as the 'Queen of Flowers'. Cattleya Michelle Obama is named after First Lady, Michelle Obama. She is the 14th consecutive First Lady to have a Cattleya named after her.
An extraordinarily stunning flower, I couldn’t help but find parallels to its namesake. She is an inspiration to me as an artist and as a woman. I designed the painting, "The Michelle Obama Orchid”, not only to portray the power, beauty, and majesty of the orchid, but to acknowledge and pay tribute to the dynamic character, confidence, commitment, and service of the First Lady to her family and the nation.
This orchid’s compelling pose symbolizes strength and personal power.”