845-252-6650 debra@debracortese.com

Artist’s Day off to Orchid Festival at Fairchild

Debra Cortese Paphipedlium Orchid DevaOn Thursday evening I had an early preview of the award winning Orchids at Fairchild’s Annual Orchid Festival.  (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is high on my list of inspirational nature sites, and I also volunteer there whenever I can. Keeps me in touch and gets me out of the studio*)  Took about 80 pictures on Thursday night but am not satisfied with them, so will head back today in an attempt to capture the images in my head.  Orchids are, so far, the most animated, charicature-like creations of Mother Nature that I have had the pleasure to experience.  ALSO must add that there are now Botero and Lichtenstein sculptures on the grounds of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida… in addition to the very organic and multidimensional  Chihuly glass.  And… a little self promo here, The Shop at Fairchild carries a selection of Nature’s Energy Handbags that I designed exclusively for the Shop. Cortese Handbags designed exclusively for The Shop at Fairchild Check back in a month to see the resulting artworks… or better yet, sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll not only get to see the work but will also receive special member’s only pricing, be eligible for my monthly giveaways and instantly receive a link to download a FREE 2008 Nature’s Reflections Calendar.


Sign up here!   Nature's Reflections 2008 Calendar by Debra Cortese 

Nature Spirits…

Orchid Angel painting detailDevas, elementals, angels, fairies, gnomes, plant and nature spirits – almost every culture throughout history shares stories and beliefs of the existence of life forms that are non-human in terms of the physical presence we are accustomed to ‘seeing’.The energy of all living things can be perceived through any of our human senses and is usually more pronounced through a particular sense depending upon an individual’s sensitivity. If you are visually oriented, it is more likely for you to see a nature spirit, and if your sense of smell is more acute, you may recognize the presence of a deva by a distinct smell.   The image here is a detail of the phaleonopsis orchid, one of my very first clear visual encounters.    You can a larger image and the full 30″ x 45″ painting here.  Orchid Angel shares the energy of nurturing, protection and healing in addition to the joy and warmth of her glorious golden colors. Combined with the mystery of  the deep, dark contrasting background color, she is a powerful and seductive presence. . 


 Sunni the neighborhood iguana spent several days high in my royal poinciana tree until his weight finally overpowered the treetop branches and I believe he came crashing down… and hopefully ran off to a more stable perch. No evidence that he was injured. larger images at: www.debracortese.com/iguana.htmlglorious iguana sunning in my poinciana tree

TOTEM ANIMALS – What are they saying?

Manatee Waters #3














I have realized that over the past couple of years,

that I’ve been honored by some very personal contact

with the energy of several animal totems:

Dog, Honey Bee, Baltimore Oriole, Iguana, Cat

and Manatee have all visited me in ways that

speak loudly of energy I can not ignore. 


I’m a nature lover (you can tell that instantly

from my art, and I believe in an energy that

connects everyone and everything.

Even though I am often caught up in the all

too human game of ‘too busy, too much to do,

not enough time’, I know when to stop, to pause…

and listen with my heart. So, when an animal or new

plant comes into my life, especialy in a brash or unusual

way, when it arrives with such an impact that

I must notice its presence… I acknowledge that I am to

pay attention to the message of this particular energy.


Over the years, I have always relied on the insight of

“Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews.

Here you can read about ‘The spiritual and magical powers

of creatures great and small’. This is an excellent resource

for animal energies. For plants, I’ve come to rely mostly on

my intuition. Since my art has centered around the devas,

nature’s energy for so long, I am able to sense and know their

messages for me. If I am not clear though, I will often

go to my library. Some of my favorite plant reference books are:

Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan, Audubon Society and

Peterson Field Guides, American Medicinal Plants,

The Magic and Medicine of Plants, Native American

Animal Stories by Joseph Bruchac, and The Wise Woman books

and volumes of information from Susun Weed.


I’ll be posting some of the stories and more of the related

art in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about

your experiences with animal and plant totems.


Here’s a link to see a larger view of Manatee Waters #3