Moth orchids, at least the ones in the flower pot in my living room, are flowers that are two and a half inches across. The flowers in this oil painting are fifteen inches across, about six times larger than life. I tried not to get overly fussy with the details, although that would've been easy to do given how magnified the image is. Instead, I wanted to retain the sensual vitality of these living things, to try not to freeze them in time. I also wanted to celebrate the fact that this is obviously a painting - no one will mistake fifteen inch flowers for the real thing. So, strictly speaking, realism isn't what I'm after. It's more about trying to show you the feeling I get when staring into these flowers. Which is why the background is so vibrant.
I've just finished reading Van Gogh, The life, the excellent biography of the famous artist, and I've been poring over Vincent's painitngs, enthralled by his use of color. I wanted to play with the strong contrasts of purple and yellow, so I chose red-violet, yellow-orange, blue-violet and blue-green as the basic palette from which to build the painting. In the end, I blended the backgound in order to mute much of the yellow-orange, but on the whole I'm satisfied with the result. The tension between the background and the various shades and tints of purple is meant to vibrate. It's meant to create movement, as if this static painting isn't just hanging on the wall.