I only discovered the “Sexy pink” heliconia a few years ago on a trip to Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens in Soufriere, St. Lucia. I love coming across a plant/flower that I’ve never seen before, and this one is such a beauty. I have painted the more popular red & yellow version before but that was years ago, it might be time to do another.
The funny thing for me about this flower was that it was a Canadian landscaper guy who introduced it to me in St. Lucia (seeing as I’m a St. Lucian who lives in Canada). He was working to repair damage in the botanical gardens after Hurricane Tomas devastated the island in 2010. Many of the beautiful, tall, old trees had fallen, which is sad … but it’s also part of the cycle of life. With breaks in the canopy, certain plants are able to receive more light and a new dynamic occurs in the gardens.
I was actually photographing on private property attached to the gardens – arranged by my gallerist in St. Lucia – when we met. I told him I paint from my photos, and he told me I had to photograph this beautiful flower that was in a hidden part of the garden. My mother jumped out of the car to join us, she works sometimes in her friend’s flower shop on the island and wanted to see this exotic flower. We walked along the driveway to get to where it was growing along the hillside. It was partially hidden by some foliage, so he had to hold me steady half-way up the incline, among big leafy plants, so that I could get the shot that inspired this painting.
Later, in the actual gardens, I did come across a few other Sexy Pink heliconias. They were the highlight of an otherwise wonderful trip, and whenever I see that flower I think of the adventure and thrill of discovery.