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Botanical Art Worldwide: America's Flora

Yellow Lady's Slipper

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens

When I first started making botanical paintings around 1990, I had just begun learning about orchids, both native and exotic. Over the years a special affinity for slipper orchids has focused my attention on them, whether cultivated or found in the wild. Native orchids always require a search throughout hill and dale; I searched for many years to find a flowering yellow lady’s slipper. There were many historical sites in western New York State that no longer existed. Finally, with the help of friends, I was able to see this large flowering variety (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens), as well as the smaller flowering variety (C. parviflorum var. parviflorum), on a University-owned, rural wetland in central New York. It was a difficult navigation through the wooded wetland to find them, but with a good hand-drawn map, anything is possible! I’ve seen it a few other times since then, and always marvel over its variability.

Seeing these flowers in the wild is always a thrill, and by spending time with them out there drawing and painting, they become impressed in one’s memory. The day is almost always a glorious spring day, with the chatter of many birds that thrive in the same wetland habitats. A beautiful fragrance accompanies these flowers, engaging four of the five senses. So every time I look at the finished painting, the memories flood back with 3D effect!

This is the fourth painting I’ve made of yellow lady’s slippers, and its subject was closer to hand – it was blooming beautifully in the New York Botanical Garden’s Rock Garden. This lovely garden can seem very secluded, and it is often bursting with color and fascinating specimens. A large clump of yellow lady’s slippers was tucked in among some ferns, peonies, and Jeffersonia when I visited in early May. This painting is a watercolor on vellum that has been stretched over a panel.


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Read more about this artist’s work: Out of the Woods

Worldwide-Woodin Cypripedium parvi

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens

Yellow Lady's Slipper

Watercolor on vellum over panel

15 x 15-1/2

©2017 Carol Woodin

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

All artwork copyrighted by the artist. Copying, saving, reposting, or republishing of artwork prohibited without express permission of the artist.

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