I’ve been asked a lot lately about my favorite things to paint and I felt a bit silly admitting I like to paint flowers. Why? I mean it’s obvious I’m painting them, especially if I’m standing less than five feet away from my own art. I’ve done some reflecting on this and I’m ready to share why I think I enjoy painting them. Spoiler: It’s not just because they are beautiful, whatever that means.
Flowers are fascinating
Flowers have always fascinated me. They come in so many shapes, sizes and forms. The more elaborate and colorful they are, the more I like them. Some people may see flowers as very feminine, weak, and “girly”. I see them as symbols of courage, hope, and caring (love). Flowers may be temporary, but they are even more powerful symbols of courage and hope to me because of that. We look for flowers every spring. They symbolize renewal and fertility, the continuation of life in many cultures. Giving people hope for the future is not weakness.
Why I paint roses
I paint a lot of roses. Partly because I grew up near a city famous for it’s roses, and my mom took me around the public gardens in the area and would show me all the varieties. Mostly, it is their amazing shapes, colors and textures. The petals are soft yet surprisingly strong. Most of them have sharp thorns.
There are many different smells. Roses use many of our senses: touch, smell, sight, and if you like tea or edible flowers, taste. While they are used for a lot of women-centric marketing and cultural purposes, such as a dozen roses for Valentine’s Day or to sell boxes of chocolate, I see them differently. Roses also symbolize courage to me because of their strength and bold shapes. Every rose is different. The flowers have shadows and light, the petals form shapes that reveal and hide. There is a mystery also about the forms of roses.
More than beauty
Roses are more than beautiful flowers to me. When I create a painting with roses as the subject, I’m making a work of art to express hope, courage and our desire to care for others and be cared for. If someone sees only a painting they think is beautiful, that’s fine. My wish is for people to find one of my floral paintings appealing because it gives them a feeling of hope, courage or love.