president's message

 

March 2019

(NOTE: This column will rotate each month to the board member assigned to lead the previous monthly meeting. February’s Acting President was Krystine Chaparro.)

 Hi Everyone,

This year just keeps getting better and better. Another great group of members turned out to hear Fred Clarke of Sunset Valley Orchids, and I can see why. Fred spoke on Catasetums. I personally had not been introduced to them and I do believe I will have one or two to add to my collection. Thank you, Fred. For members that have not paid their dues, send or better yet, bring them in on March 11th, when Steve Hampson speaks on “Wild Orchids of China.” Talks like these are what our dues go to support – great speakers on interesting orchids, where and how they grow. See Wendy Fisher with your cash, check, or credit card. OSSC is still on the lookout for someone in this great society to serve as president. For the month of March, Recording Secretary, Linda Connell will be acting president. Thanks, Linda, for stepping in for March. February has proven to be wet and cold. I hope you have found a way to save your orchid collection from the elements.

 Keep re-blooming!

Krystine

erin's fun fact

There are many beautiful orchids growing in China and a number of very talented artists painting them. Here is the story of one particularly fascinating artist who made his mark in history. According to www.blouinartinfo.com:

Zheng Xie, popularly known as “Zheng Bianqong”, was famous as an artist for his paintings of rocks, orchids and bamboo. Unlike previous generations of artists, Zheng rejected classical Chinese painting, opting instead to discover his own individual style. After he resigned from his position as magistrate in Shandong, he returned to Jiangsu and began to sell his paintings and calligraphy. His temperament and his outspoken nature made it difficult for him to sell his work, and stories of his poverty are several.

Zheng was disturbed by the corruption and elitism he discovered in the civil services and was deeply embittered during his time as a government servant. He spent most of his money on brothels and alcohol to such an extent, that it has been reported that his son died of starvation because of his habits.

Unlike his peers, Zheng had an extremely meticulous system of pricing for his works, and it is said he routinely berated customers he thought were uncouth or uncultured, refusing to sell to them despite his own desperate need for money. However, Zheng had a low threshold for self control and it was known that a good way to get him to part with one of his works, even to someone he did not favor, was to bring him cooked dog meat, which he found irresistible.

 Zheng also developed his own style of calligraphy, one that was extremely popular during his own lifetime. It is said he developed the style over the course of his orchid paintings.

Zheng died in 1765 in Yangzhou, known as one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, a grouping of eight unusual painters from the region. Zheng is still a revered calligrapher today, and his paintings represent an era of Chinese painting where individual expression had more importance than technical orthodoxy: a struggle he fought for his entire life.

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