Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Challenge 44 - Lady's Slipper Orchid

The last challenge "Antique Rugs" brought forth so many exquisite paintings each of which demonstrated the creativity and imagination which  transforms a photo into art. I want to thank everyone for participating and sharing their beautiful paintings. Whenever a new painting appears on PADT, it is so nice to study it and see how the artist interpreted the photo. An artist  recently wrote  that when she visits PADT she feels like it's a "tranquil oasis in the internet" and I am grateful to everyone for their support in making it so.

About the composition

 I had  been away from home for the last few weeks visiting Montreal and I shot the photo for this challenge in Montréal Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique de Montréal ). With many indoor greenhouses, thousands of plants and bird species, this beautiful garden is one of the largest nature museums in the world.  And the rainforest greenhouse in the garden certainly provided a warm escape from Montreal's chilly weather :)

The "Lady's Slipper Orchid" in this picture is  a very fascinating flower. In many orchids, one of the petals forms a landing platform for insects; here the petal is transformed into an elegant pouch-shaped insect trap. Unlike the pitcher plant which has a similar pouch, this orchid does not trap insects to eat them. It tricks the insects into helping in the fertilization process.

The petal which is shaped like the trap is called the lip of the orchid and lures the visiting insects and they invariably end up falling inside the pouch which has very slippery walls. However, one location in the pouch which is closest to the pollens is not slippery, here we have tiny upward pointing hairs. As the insect climbs up on this "hair ladder", squeezing past the pollens, it either carries away the orchid's pollens or leaves the pollens  from another flower here.

In this challenge I invite you to use this reference photo for your paintings and drawings to paint this exotic intelligent flower.


Please send your paintings by April 1, 2014. The next challenge will be posted on April 2, 2014.

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