Years ago, I went to Princeton University gardens with camera in hand in hopes of capturing some interested combinations of colors and texture for future paintings. The gardens were full of flowers, but planted with no attention to form or color. So, I wandered away and turned into another enclosure where to my surprise, I discovered a garden of roses—specimen roses. I spent the rest of the morning photographing beautiful flowers.
That started the rose paintings. At first, I thought I would paint a dozen paintings. I like to paint in series. It takes me beyond subject matter into color, shape and pattern. To my surprise and delight, the dozen turned into several dozen. In my travels, I would photograph more roses…and found them in England, Europe and at Longwood Gardens in PA. and from these photographs, I painted groups of roses, pairs and even, portraits. Especially portraits.
I began to think of the rose as a chalice…one that would hold its’ petals sunshine, dew and hope. It became a spiritual quest.
The paintings…and all this time, I was thinking, dreaming roses, roses, roses…sometimes small, intimate; sometimes large, commanding. I seem never to tire. One painting always seem to call forth another: the color…amazing opportunities to put different combinations vibrating against one another: the foliage…spiky, strong…guardians of these soft satin petals…were foils to use to heighten the fragility of the rose. I was in awe of the rose.
I used water color. Never did I seem to want to use an opaque medium. It seemed that the translucency of water color suited the subject matter. So, I had a love affair with roses that lasted five years.