Rori’s Roses

Rori brought roses from her English Rose Garden to our Desert Flora pastel class. We all agreed it was better to work from real flowers than photos of blooming cactus. A picture of a flower is not a flower after all. So we got busy with a very difficult subject, what a challenge! (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eh?!)


After class I take home the spoils and so set out to do them all as a floral bouquet.

English roses smell divine.


My studio set up: The still-life is lit mostly with natural north light and surrounded with a neutral background.   My canvas and pastel sticks are lit by a 100w Verilux daylight frosted bulb.


My substrate is Arches 140 lb. watercolor paper primed with Liquitex clear gesso for extra tooth. I like to start with a mid tone neutral ground and work the lights and darks in first to get a good value rendering . This is especially useful if you need help locating values because the subject is overpowered by color.

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English roses are bluish red so I choose a cooler palette: red violet, blue green , green with yellow green and red accents.


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I’ll leave it for now because all of the natural light is gone and I’m beginning to change the colors to accommodate the artificial light from the Verilux bulb.

I know I need to adjust value and saturation on the appropriate planes to increase the illusion of volume/depth and also soften and sharpen edges to get the different rose qualities.


Many Thanks Rori.



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