Oil on Canvas, 24" x 18", 2001
NFS - Artist's Collection
Orchid: Angraecum sesquipedale
Native Range: East Coast of Madagascar
Pollinator: Hawk Moth
Conservation Status: Threatened by poaching
"With deep reverence emphasizing form and essence, I have portrayed the Comet Orchid, Angraecum sesquipedale. My desire is to encourage the experience of connections in nature and thus, in ourselves.
Portraying the drama of orchids is for me the experience of creating organic metaphors.
My focus on the relationships between the macro and micro of nature compels me to cross the boundaries between scale and space. I'd like nothing more than to have the viewer experience the joy I feel when I become the flower I paint. There lies the bridge between human being and nature.
Angraecum sesquipedale, the inspiration for this piece, is endemic to the island of Madagascar. First discovered by the French botanist Louis-Marie Aubert du Petit-Thouars in 1798 it was not formally described until 1822.
This spectacular orchid with its extremely long nectar spur (up to 12 inches or twice the size of the flower) is noteworthy for its association with the naturalist Charles Darwin. The long spur, white flowers, and fragrance only during the late evening hours led Darwin to postulated that the flower was pollinated by a then undiscovered moth with a proboscis whose length was then unprecedented.
Not until 21 years after his death was this moth, Xanthopan morganii forma praedicta,discovered and his hypothesis vindicated. The story of its postulated pollinator has come to be seen as one of the celebrated predictions of the theory of evolution.”