Today we celebrate National Orchid Day which was created by Mike and Faith Young, who became enraptured with the blossoms after volunteering at an orchid reserve in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. It’s also a great opportunity to attempt a doodlewash of a flower. Despite flowers being such a common subject for watercolor, this is only the second time I’ve ever attempted them. Precisely what kind of orchid I’ve ended up with here is a bit of a mystery as there are over 25,000 documented orchid species in the world and horticulturists have produce more than 100,000 cultivars and hybrids.

Orchids were once so rare and exotic that they were referred to as the “plant of kings.” There were very few available commercially back when, but today, they can be picked up for less than 10 bucks at Home Depot and have become one of the most popular houseplants of all time. With proper care, orchids can live to be up to 100 years olds, so they’re quite a long term commitment. If you’re a fan of vanilla beans, you have the vanilla orchid to thank for delivering that wonderful flavor. The vanilla pods from these plants are plunged in hot water before they’re ripe and dried for 2 to 6 months.

Growing an orchid from seed is a rather daunting and challenging taste. They have the tiniest seeds in the world and can often take forever to actually sprout into a plant. The reason they exist at all in such numbers comes from human’s strong desire to grow them. Some believe this human affinity for them is because they possess bilateral symmetry similar to a human face. When you look at an orchid, it can actually appear to be looking back at you. Now, what it might actually be thinking, is still anyone’s guess.

Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on at the end of the month! 

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Quinacridone Gold. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

51 replies on “National Orchid Day

  1. Really, if this is only your second attempt you should do florals more often, you have captured the dainty look of the flower. If I painted one it would consist of only a green stem….I kill all indoor plants, they don’t like my living conditions 😕……however outside is a totally different story, I have run out of space, jungle mania (orderly though, with many to suit the bugs, frogs and newts, and slow worms).

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  2. Beautiful orchid! I tried growing one, but as I’ve mentioned many times in my comments that I can’t grow anything. So now, the only orchids I have in the house are silk kinds.. 😁 I love how delicate it looks but I understand they are quite hearty.. 😘❤️

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  3. You captured the orchid’s beauty well, Charlie. There are orchids in every shop this month, in every color. I plan to purchase a few to put on the table at Passover later this month – they suggest everything wonderful about spring and looking forward to the future. I hope you’ll try other flowers soon.

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  4. You’ve certainly doodlewashed a beautiful specimen, whatever species it might be…LOL! I didn’t realize it’s only the second time you’ve painted flowers; it looks like you’re a pro at it! I actually don’t like to paint flowers myself. I don’t know why, but I would rather paint anything but. Please don’t psychoanalyze me!😉 Anyway, I love yours, so that’s all that matters!❤

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  5. I was painting a flower today. Wish mine turned out as beautifully as your orchid! 💜😃 I needed to add the Opera Rose as I see now that is what I was missing to make my painting sing! 🎤💕 I hope you paint more flowers! 💐🌟👍

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  6. You have captured the beauty of this flower so wonderfully. I gaze at the blue ones in the store and think, ‘I should paint that’, and then I don’t. Maybe it’s time to rethink that.

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  7. The word ‘orchid’ comes from the Greek word for testicle, I believe, as many roots apparently look similar to a scrotum. Happy Testicle Day, anyway! Your orchids look wonderful (to be sure, I am definitely referring to the flowers). I have had similar reservations about tackling flowers; not really sure why. I’d never have guessed this was only your second attempt; in fact I was sure I’d seen more floral art in my time here! Lovely fresh colours and great soft depth, like you could pick it up and give it a sniff!

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    1. Thanks Jacob! I think I realized it may have been a third attempt as I think was one sunflower early on and then some daisies. I honestly can’t remember what I’ve doodlewashed anymore! Lol Most of the floral art here comes from my guests, so there’s plenty to view! Hehe… that said… I guess now I would be remiss if I didn’t wish you a belated Happy Testicle Day! And I’m thrilled you enjoyed my pink ones. Hope you celebrated it in style! 😉


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