I’ve been thinking a lot about the backs of things.
Why is it that most rose paintings focus on the showy front and ignore the way the petals come out of the sepal?
This painting is of the back of the roses featured in Big Rain Roses, and it shows a part of the rose that we’re not used to seeing. The rose, in my mind, is a flower with a lot of attitude. I think of it as tough as nails, imagining itself able to defend itself against its enemies, but really still just a frilly flower that survives because we see its beauty (shout out to The Little Prince).
Sometimes the message in art is what you’re not seeing. Seeing the rose from the back forces you to imagine what the face looks like, it’s the becoming, not the being.
These roses are perfect — just a bit past full blown.
The petals are just starting to melt down. It really is my favorite time of the rose, when it’s still whole but starting to wither, when it’s perfect colors have just a tinge of brown. I spent a lot of time working to capture the translucence of the petals and the effect of the cloudy rainy sky on the petals. I think the painting captures that feeling of coming upon a rose on a cloudy day, a moment of surprise that on such an imperfect day, we can come across such perfection.
This original painting is 24" x 18" gouache on paper.