The Intimate Forest

A Celebration of the Beauty of Nature in Oil Paintings by Harlan


orchids in the greenhouse



48x60 2006


There is something magical about orchids. I find their shape and colors enchanting. Now normally my subject matter comes from my backyard or from special vacations I have been fortunate enough to enjoy and neither of these has brought me up close and personal with any orchids. To remedy that situation I visited a local greenhouse where I found these delightful white and red blooms.

This is actually the second painting of this exact same subject. The first canvas upon which I started was defective though that was hardly obvious by just looking at it. There were no obvious flaws in the weave and it appeared to be properly primed but when I began painting I encountered the problem of "pinning" as I call it. Pin size dots on the canvas refused to accept and hold paint. I was spending a good portion of my time trying to fill in those dots. Brushes died left and right and the pin dots would reappear. I got about half way through the painting before I decided that it was time to start over with a good canvas. Fortunately one of the other 48x60 canvases in my studio was of much better quality and I was able to complete the painting. The incomplete painting is available, should anyone be interested. I will quite happily provide a photograph.


This painting won Members' Choice (highest award) for the EBSQ "Better Late than Never" show. I had originally painted this for the Orchid Show but was unable to enter on time.