STORY BEHIND THE ART OF Stephanie Law

 
20th Annual International American Society of Botanical Artists & The Horticultural Society of New York
 
 

Rose

Rosa 'Cardinal Song'
 

My inspiration came from the Morcom Municipal Rose Garden. The amphitheater setting is a green oasis in Oakland, CA, and I visit often to enjoy the environs, and to sketch the roses. I had in mind to paint a larger rose piece, and so I went in search of a subject. Among many "potentials," the 'Cardinal Song' spoke the most to me, and the plant had many blossoms in various stages of bud and bloom. I wanted to capture these varying stages in my piece.

 

I also wanted there to be a rhythm and flow to the composition. The arrangement of the composition was the most difficult phase. The rosebushes in this garden were old, large, and sprawling. The stems were dense and layered, and so it was a challenge to isolate the branches that I wanted to depict in a harmonious composition that was botanically accurate. Initially, I spent much of my time studying the growth patterns, understanding where and how the branches diverged, the leafing structure, where the thorns were and how these varied on the older, more "woody" branches versus the younger stems. I took notes on all of these observations, as well as drawn studies, plenty of photographs, and color samples to match the tones of what I had in front of me.

 

Color matching was the second challenge I had in painting this subject. I have always had a difficult time finding red pigments that were vibrant enough to match what I saw in nature. I started using quinacridone reds in this piece, and was very happy with the result. The vibrant coral-red tones were achieved with many layers of various shades of quinacridone pigments, as well as glazes of gamboge yellow to push the intensity and richness.

 
 
 
  • © Stephanie Law
    Rose
    Rosa 'Cardinal Song'
    Watercolor on paper
    16" x 22"