Coming Up Roses
Recently I’ve been really into Roses.
Like, pretty obsessed.
I didn’t really know why I wanted to keep painting them until I started to reflect on what I was thinking and feeling at the time when I painted each one but it’s one of the reasons I love making art so much and why I feel so strongly about the healing properties of creating something; I really worked through a lot of my latest stuff by creating this series of Roses.
I’ve been pretty heartbroken over the past few months and it’s been such an experience to pour it into painting as my marks on the page have revealed so much and it’s helped me to regain a sense of who I am in the world. I wish I could say “I knew all along what I wanted to paint and why” but the truth is I didn’t overthink it and that is the best thing that could’ve happened to someone as overly analytical as me!
When the roses in our garden began to bloom and I was walking the neighbourhood with my children I noticed every rose bush we passed by. I started to think about their form, texture, the depth and variety of colour and started to paint them. Then another, and another. A little creepy right? I didn’t even stop to think about what the rose represented or that every time I give a reading to someone, spirit shows me a rose as a symbol for romantic love and depending on what state of growth it’s in I can see what state the relationship is in.
I just kept painting them and it wasn’t until was about half way through painting this series I thought “Oooooohhh”, and then felt kind of silly for not piecing my current internal state together with the art, but that’s where the beauty of the process lies. As creatives, we don’t tend to make our stuff because we want to produce the thingy, we are attracted to the process because of how it makes us feel, and if you’re not doing it that way then you are missing out on the best kind of free therapy.
It’s hard to admit how we feel. It just is hard to be vulnerable. I’m finding it hard to write this to you right now but I’ve made a promise to you and me to only show up honestly… and sometimes we don’t actually know how we feel. I don’t know about you but I’m always trying to stick a logical label on my feelings, which are usually pretty big and can change like the wind. I loved creating this series of roses because each one gave me a space in time to feel the emotions that each rose represented to me.
There’s something truly magical about occupied hands that relaxes the heart and unburdens the mind. And the beautiful thing about art is that it doesn’t even matter! I paint for the process but what someone may see as a viewer may be some other part of their soul reflected back at them. I’ve written about the emotional process behind the making of these paintings but it’s really how it speaks to you that is the important part.
Here are some details about the emotional process I went through while creating them:
She Dared to Bloom - This was the first painting I did of this series and I fell in love with it’s simplicity. To me, this represents a “blooming” of strength that I have found in myself of late - something I didn’t know existed but a celebration of bearing the truth of my experience in love to this point, self-honesty and vulnerability.
The symbol of the triangle when it’s this way up represents strength, stability, the divine masculine, the father and assertiveness. A single rose is a timeless statement of love and I painted this one as blooming. Open and confidently vulnerable. A state I currently strive to step into and a reminder of my own strength as a woman, a mother and an artist.
They Rose Together - I thoroughly enjoyed painting this rose and feel like it looks happy and smiling.
I painted it as I sat next to my daughter and as she explored and enjoyed her coloured pencils, so did I. Watching the world come alive through her eyes is the most joyful thing I can think of.
Broken, She Rose - The rose in the painting acts a symbol of the heart. A little bruised, perhaps broken with pieces of it feeling scattered - much like the petals below. While creating it I was integrating thoughts about appreciating the beauty of the change that comes with heartache. To honour the changes that will come and the growth I’m not yet aware of.
She Rose Fruitful - The reference for this rose came from my garden. As I watched it bloom it echoed thoughts of my children who play in the garden and how lucky I am to have them in my life and to watch them grow.
So it seemed only fitting to depict it along with this hour-glass shaped shape. The symbol of unity between the divine masculine and divine feminine.
It doubles as a crystal grid and because of the symbol, this grid is perfect for crystal reiki or healing work concerning fertility, marriage and male-female relationships.
She Loved Herself Like a Rose - I feel of all the series that this piece reflects most of me in it.
The symbol of the Inverted triangle represents, femininity, the moon, yoni, shakti, passivity and the mother.
A single rose is a timeless statement of love and I painted this one as closed. Hibernated, protected from outside forces but bursting with vibrancy - like the unapologetic love that vibrates from the soul of a woman in stasis.
As I painted this I was thinking about how sometimes we need to go inward and preserve our gentle female hearts to rebuild; so, this painting for me represents self-preservation, self-love and learning to be bright while holding my processing feelings tight to my chest.
Rose Remembered - I experimented with some bronze paint with this beautiful white rose painting and see it as a bit of an ode to my childhood and where I have come from.
Although I’ve lived in North America for quite some time now, I grew up in Yorkshire in the UK, the symbol of Yorkshire is a white rose and I’ve always loved their understated delicacy. My Dad also took part in a local charity called “The White Rose Initiative” when I was growing up, so symbols of white roses were everywhere from pub names to charity functions.
The “stuffiness” of the old bronze statues often scattered in corners of posh function rooms in the nineties remind me of this time in my childhood so I think that’s why the bronze seemed to go so well with the white rose in my mind!
Rose in the Balance - This was the final painting I did within this series of roses and intuitively I just knew I was done with this sweet obsession once I finished it. One of the reasons being that it took me so long to complete! Like I had to draw out everything that the energy of the rose had to teach me for this season of work.
This particular painting took me so long as I was very meticulous and painted each petal tightly. I’m a girl who loves the details, so this really helped me to appreciate the texture and structure of this iconic flower so well known for its beauty. I also wanted to contrast the softness of the rose with the sharp structure of the rectangle to communicate how both structure and organic growth have a time and a place in all our lives. As I painted I mused the balance of these things in my own life.
I really went into detail there so if you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me!
I’d love to know what your favourite rose is and how you feel it moved you or drew you in the comments.