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Roses are Red (But Some Are Actually Other Colors)

Graphite and acrylic paint drawng of a rose

I haven’t always loved roses. In fact, for most of my life I associated them with lame apologies. As someone stoically unromantic, roses became a symbol of so many things I disliked. Why give roses when you could give daffodils or sweet peas or any number of interesting flowers?

Looking back, that dislike came from having very little experience with roses. All I knew were the red ones that showed up (or, um, didn’t) at valentine’s day.  It’s possible that had I understood the depth of the rose family I would have come to appreciate their charms at a much younger age.

Roses make you work for it. That’s something I’ve come to really love about them. They are not a simple flower to draw. With daffodils, for example, if you can get their general external shape, the eye will fill in the rest. Not so with roses. Roses are defined by their layers of overlapping petals.  These complicated lines and arches of shadow create their wonderful twists and bends. Light dances between this curve and that and and colors move from dark to light and back again.

If you spend enough time with any subject matter, you’ll learn to love it. Because first you learn to be curious by it and then you learn to appreciate and respect it. Before you know it, you’ll be that grown woman stopping to smell every single rose she passes.

Somewhere there is a former angry teenager mortified.



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