War and Peace

I always love to know the stories behind the roses and it seems fitting that the story of the most famous of all the world's roses, the Peace rose, would be large enough to fill 250 pages!  Antonia Ridge's 1965 novel 'For The Love of a Rose' tells not only the story of the Peace rose, and how a cutting of the rose made it out of France on the eve of World War II, arriving safely in the USA where it was successfully propagated, but it also tells the story of the Meilland family of rose breeders, who have been and...

Australian Bred Inspiration

What comes to mind when you think of Australian bred roses?  Do you have some growing in your garden?  What is your favourite?For over 100 years, Australian rose breeders have been creating roses to suit Australian conditions.  Although I have a Lorraine Lee and a Victoria Gold growing in my garden, it wasn't until my recent visit to Morwell Centenary Rose garden that I got a sense of the beauty and uniqueness of these roses.  Seeing this collection as a whole in their late Autumn splendour is the inspiration for a whole new series of paintings and a new format...

In The Rose News

Four times a year, the beautifully presented Victorian Rose News, is a delight to read. My article 'A Year In The Life of A Rose Artist' appears in the current Autumn issue and can be read in full here.

A Dozen Red Roses

The red rose is the symbol for Valentine's Day which is just around the corner so I thought it was a good time to see what red rose paintings I have in my current collection.  It is hard to believe that an estimated 250 million red roses are to be produced for Valentine's Day, the sheer number makes the mind boggle, especially when you think each one is long-stemmed and unblemished!  Please enjoy my bouquet of red rose paintings, a subject I never tire of, and on the last red rose I painted I counted that I used a dozen...

Enter the World of Vintage Roses

I knew Jane Eastoe’s latest book was going to be beautiful because it is filled with exquisite photographs taken by the queen of rose photography herself, Georgianna Lane. But I couldn’t believe just how special it was until I had the chance to immerse myself in it. I must alert you to the photograph on pages 10 and 11 where there must be over 300 vintage rose blooms in the shot, it is just extraordinary.   Over sixty different roses are featured under the alluring headings of Classic Blooms. Dramatic Flowers, Romantic Beauties and Fragrant Delights. What I particularly liked...

The Ultimate Blank Canvas

Twenty years ago, Alowyn Gardens in the Yarra Valley, was an old sheep paddock. Today this 4 acres of land is an absolute wonderland full of surprises behind high hedges. Of course, I was keen to see the roses and I wasn’t disappointed. At the end of the colourful perennial border I found Grace and Best Friend, surrounding the central fountain, the David Austin Mary Rose was in bloom and an impressive bed of Rugosas were a mass of plump rose hips. A delight of climbing roses covered arches and arbours with Pierre de Ronsard and Lady Hillingdon making an...

A Pretty State of Affairs

I could spend days, if not weeks, exploring the 5 hectares that make up the Victoria State Rose Garden in the Werribee Park precinct, in search of new roses to paint.  The garden has an intriguing layout which is in the shape of a five-petalled Tudor Rose containing Hybrid Teas and Floribundas, and then there is the Federation leaf section containing Australian bred roses, and there is also a rosebud of English Roses bred by David Austin.  Around the outer edge of the Tudor Rose are festoons of climbing and rambling roses and tall weeping standards. Two sides of the outer border, are...

Painting exquisite David Austin roses

It is with great excitement that I share with you my first painting of a David Austin rose.  David Austin has been breeding roses for the past 50 years.  He was inspired by a book on old roses and wanted to combine the best characteristics of the old roses with modern roses and the magnificent results are what he called 'English Roses' multi-petalled , cupped  and rosette forms, fragrant repeat-flowering roses in a wide range of colours and shrubby growth habits making them suitable for mixed borders, blending well with herbaceous perennials to create a charming traditional cottage garden effect...

Prelude to Spring

I am taking an early burst of springtime time to Gallery 34 in Yea for my major exhibition this year.  From August 5th - 29th I will have over 20 paintings on display in this beautiful historic building along with limited edition round art cushions which have a different rose painting printed on back and front.   Gallery 34 is located at 34 High St. Yea, 98km NE of Melbourne.  On Sunday August 7th at 1pm we are having an opening function and you are all invited to come along.  The gallery opening hours are Friday to Sunday 10am-4pm and Mondays 11am-3pm.  Below is a preview of...

Rose Deconstructed

The concept of deconstructed desserts is very popular at the moment, when individual components of the dish are isolated and then presented creatively.  As an artist I am nourished by the rich symbolism associated with roses and the intricate shapes which combine to form the flower.  Just as in a deconstructed dessert, the shapes which make up the roses even when pulled apart are still characteristically rose-like.  In this piece the motifs of hearts and a nightingale emerged when the rose was deconstructed.  The rose and the nightingale are associated historically and symbolically in Persian art and poetry with the nightingale symbolising...

A Rose Trial Garden and A Fantasy of French Roses

The Adelaide International Rose Garden at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens displays over 2,500 roses in a sunken garden, a circular garden and several pergolas.    The eastern side of the garden belongs to the National Rose Trial Garden – which began in 1996 to help the rose industry determine which roses not yet for sale in Australia are best suited to our climate as well as providing the opportunity to test and promote Australian bred roses.  The roses in the trial garden are judged independently on the following criteria:•health•vigour•hardiness•pest and disease tolerance•habit of growth•impact of the display•beauty of blooms•abundance of...

Old Post Office Seymour

If you are travelling through Seymour over the next few months, please call in to the Old Post Office Seymour Fine Art Gallery and Restaurant which was built in 1872, and see a very clever display of a number of my paintings which seem to feel right at home in this beautiful and lovingly restored heritage building.   The Gallery & Restaurant trading hours are Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 4pm & Wed to Sat evenings from 6pm.  For more information on the gallery and to see what art you might encounter on your visit please follow this link Old Post Office...

Containing My Excitement

I have run out of spaces in my garden to plant roses and thought I would try growing some in containers, but I know nothing about it so I have sought out some expert advice from my friend Teresa Byington, consultant rosarian and co-host of the Rose Chat Podcast, where I first 'met' Teresa when she and Chris VanCleave interviewed me about my art and my interest in roses.  So I am absolutely thrilled to have Teresa here as my guest to answer all of my questions about growing roses in containers.   Here's the interview and pictures of Teresa in her...

Roses Amongst the Vines

Have you ever noticed how roses are planted at the ends of the rows in vineyards? In wine growing regions throughout the world roses and grapevines are one of the most enduring examples of companion planting. Roses and grapevines have similar requirements in terms of soil, water and sunshine.  Both thrive in a well drained, nutrient rich soil with consistent water and plenty of sunshine.  They are also susceptible to similar types of diseases and some wine-growers have used roses as an early warning system for outbreaks of powdery and downy mildew. Roses also attract bees and other beneficial insects...

A Garden Full of Surprises

What does it take to grow a garden of prize winning roses?  Bill and Margaret Redford from Corowa have the recipe for success.  Some space, sunshine, horse manure, flightless ducks, plenty of imagination, hard work and a love of roses. Please enjoy these photos I took on my recent visit.  Take a look at the opening bud of the greenish-yellow St Patrick Rose, the creamy apricot perfection of the Marilyn Monroe rose, and the simple pink and white flecked bloom of Soaring Spirits - a 9-11 memorial rose.  Thank you Bill and Margaret for sharing your little piece of Paradise...

At the going down of the sun...An ANZAC Day Tribute

  In 2012 the RSL Rose was released.  A striking burgundy rose with amber reverse petals symbolising dawn and dusk. The RSL was formed in June 1916 by troops returning from World War One with the purpose of preserving the spirit of mateship formed amidst the carnage and horror of battle, to honour the memory of the fallen and to help each other whenever required.   Every night at 6pm in RSL clubs around Australia, 'The Ode of Remembrance" is recited.   It is the fourth verse from the poem 'For The Fallen' written by Robert Laurence Binyon in September 1914."They shall not grow...

Saunter Around St Kilda Botanical Gardens

  In 1859, a group of councillors had the foresight to put aside 16 acres of land for the purpose of a Botanical Garden in the newly established beachside settlement of St Kilda just 6km south-east of the heart of Melbourne.  Baron von Mueller, the then Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens contributed several hundred plants, shrubs and trees.  The Gardens opened in 1861 and 155 years later the garden contains 810 mature tree specimens, eight of which are on the significant tree register.  As the gardens are registered with Heritage Victoria and retain their 19th century feel and layout,...

How To Measure Up For Picture Hooks

This simple system of measuring where to place a picture hook will make hanging your new picture very easy and you will quickly get to stand back and enjoy your new piece in its new home. To get started you will need a tape measure, a pencil, a picture hook and your picture to hang.  Measure up 57 inches from the ground or to your specific eye level point as discussed in the blog post below.   Put a small mark on the wall here.  This is where the middle of your picture will be positioned.   Measure the height...

How To Hang Art At The Right Height

This is my first article in a series of helpful hints from an artist.  If there is anything you've always wanted to 'ask an artist' please let me know.  I look forward to answering your questions and already have some requests on topics involving art appreciation and decorating a rental property with art. ~~~ Finding the right height for the pictures in your home can really enhance the enjoyment of your art.    Overall, the main thing is not to hang your art too high.  You shouldn't have to crane your neck to look at it.     The first rule...

Arts and Gardens in Spa Country

Just over one hour's drive from Melbourne in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range can be found the highest concentration of mineral springs in Australia.  Autumn is the perfect time of year to visit the areas around Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.  On a recent visit I found a display garden and nursery with 1200 roses, discovered a 'secret garden' with garden art which will make you smile, explored a garden named after a burrowing animal with a special collection of conifers and a hidden reservoir, and wandered around an art gallery high on a hill in a setting which looks distinctively European....

Amongst the Roses in Mornington

  The spectacular Mornington Botanical Rose Gardens are situated in the Civic Reserve on the corner of Dunns Road and Mornington-Tyabb Road, Mornington,    at the gateway to the Main Street shopping precinct. The gardens which were built and are maintained by volunteers were opening in November 2008 has over 4000 named roses which are planted in 86 beds and are surrounded by a border of native Australian trees and shrubs.     The gardens adjoin the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery so you can combine your garden visit with some art viewing. Here are some of the best blooms from my most recent visit,...

Roof Top Rose Garden

Just because you have no garden or room to plant roses, doesn't necessarily mean you that you cannot have a beautiful rose collection (or a single treasured rosebush) as is shown in this inspiring story from one of my special email newsletter subscribers in India (pictured above surrounded by some of his stunning blooms including Blue Moon, Double Delight and the very unusual Green Light).  And if you have never thought about or knew that you could grow roses in pots, like me, then read on and prepare to be surprised and to see roses and gardening in a whole new light...

Red, Red Roses

Red roses are one of the most difficult flowers to photograph, but one of the most exciting subjects to paint.  One of the reasons is that there are so many lovely and different red paints to use.  Red paints can be warm or cool, opaque or transparent and range from bright fire-engine and almost orange to softer pinker reds tending towards mauve.  Take a good look at a red rose and you will notice some of these colours.  And colour is just one factor.  Red roses tend to have the most velvety texture and the secret to paint velvety texture is...

A Bright Ray of Sunshine

Once a month it gives me great pleasure to write and send out my special email newsletter, filled with floral photos, arty news and stories of my life as an artist to uplift and inspire.  Knowing that I am going to send this special treat out each month ensures that I seek out creative and interesting experiences to share . This month I reached a milestone when my 100th email subscriber signed on and today I am very excited to introduce you to Joanne Arseneault  from Pickering in Canada who is a marvellous photographer and writes a fascinating blog, Floral Boom. ...

Year Round Floral Inspiration

I would like to share with you a Melbourne treasure I visited this month.  There is something wonderful about stepping into the humid world of a hothouse which transports you to another time and place. The Conservatory in the Fitzroy Gardens opened in March 1930, and has provided over 80 years of spectacular floral displays. It was built in the Spanish mission architectural style at a cost of 4,000 pounds and it measures 30 x 15 metres. The Conservatory is open from 9am to 5pm (5.30pm during daylight saving) every day except Christmas Day  There are five floral displays each year. ...

Evoking The Muse

The glossy ARTisSpectrum magazine has arrived from New York and I am proud to be named a contributing writer with my article 'The Roses of New York City' being including in the Evoking the Muse section where artists tell how they have been inspired by the spirit and energy of New York City. Along with reviews of the work of artists from all over the world, there are some interesting articles about art in the corporate sector as well as how art can play a role in making the world a better place. Below is my full article or thanks...

Art and Fashion Fusion

A photographic essay of my 30 Roses in 30 Days show at Shibuki Fashion in Main Street Mordialloc. This was by far my most successful show with one third of the paintings finding themselves new homes.  I think I found the perfect environment for my art and the changing window displays were a joy to behold.  The show closed on the 5th December, but there is still a very nice display of some of the remaining pieces and this shop is always worth a visit for inspiration and colour and that new piece of clothing that will lift the spirits...

Spring Rose Garden Tour

Mid-October marks the beginning of the flowering season for roses in Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra, and this year I was fortunate enough to see the rose gardens burst into bloom. Travelling for 18 days we saw 20 gardens and massed plantings and here, in no particular order, are my top picks. Set in the well laid out Albury Botanic Gardens, the rose garden here was redeveloped in 2001, incorporating elements of the original 1906 "Rosary" plan by J E R Fellowes, curator of the gardens from 1901-36. The layout of the garden in the semi-circular beds was very attractive and...

Tina's Top Tips for Rose Photography

The photography of roses is summed up beautifully in the words of fashion designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld:    "What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” Photographing roses can be challenging at times, especially for amateur photographers, so today I am delighted to introduce to you Tina Lovvorn VanCleave, a passionate rose lover and fabulous rose photographer from Alabama.   Tina is going to share with you all of her special tips for capturing the perfect rose image including the best time of day to take your pictures. The first question I have to ask...

30 Paintings in 30 Days

EXHIBITION PRE-SALES NOW OPEN The month of September was a blur of paintbrushes, canvases, tubes of paints, photo references and many many hours standing in front of the easel.  An exciting, exhilarating and intense way to work and I now have 30 paintings to show for it and an exhibition planned for November so that you can see all of the paintings in one spot.  Save the date for the opening of the show, 2pm - 6pm on Sunday 22nd November at Shibuki Fashion at 537 Main Street Mordialloc VIC 3195. The paintings will be on display in store until Saturday 5th December. Shibuki regular...