Angela Mirro

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The experience of painting Phragmipedium kovachii was one of the finest in my life and it was a privilege to have that opportunity. I travelled to Peru along with a small group from New York and California, (from the Orchid Digest), where we hoped to see and study the plant. During our trip, Sr. Alfredo Manrique Sipan was able to collect five plants with a legal permit from the Peruvian Government, through its Department of Natural Resources, (INRENA). Of the five plants, one had an inflorescence with two flower buds. As the first bud opened towards the end of my stay, I had to work quickly and with intense concentration, so as to capture as much of the flower as possible. I did a very precise drawing of the leaves, inflorescence, bud and flower along with several color studies. I then completed the painting back home in Brooklyn.

My painting depicts a flower not quite fully opened, as it has since been observed that a flower can take up to seven days to mature completely, which was beyond my stay. To witness that first, large flower opening was breathtaking. The petals unfolding revealed a deep rich purple-maroon coloration with a velvety texture. As the flower grew larger each day, the petals lightened a bit, but the pouch remained deep and velvety. For me, the act of painting Phragmipedium kovachii was a tribute to its beauty, and in a small way I have tried to give something back to Peru towards conservation- for having had the privilege to paint it. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Isaias Rolando and Sr. Alfredo Manrique Sipan for helping to make this possible.

The story of that trip is told by Harold Koopowitz in Orchid Digest Vol. 67-4, the special Phragmipedium issue.

The Greater New York Orchid Society selected the image as the poster for the 2004 New York International Orchid Show, shown here.