VENUS OF THE ROSEBUD ~ a recent commission November 27 2018

From the very first moment my brush touched the canvas I thought - “This is a painting I wish to devote myself to”. 

It started as a study for a commission for a client in the USA. I stapled a stretch of spare linen to a board, eager to start, not concerned with the outcome. I had a few ideas but nothing concrete. This is why a study is often so useful to artists – it helps to clarify the vision.

Without effort she began taking shape - BOUNTIFUL & BEAUTIFUL. Strange and wonderful it was like I was being directed from some instinctive place. I let go of any preconceived ideas and followed; something breathtaking began unfolding beneath my brush.


This is a Symbolist painting and there is insightful meaning behind the imagery. From the pearls and grapes to the very colour of the background the painting is rich in symbols (detailed below) Without us even realising, the expression on her face reaches into our psyche and deeply connects with the archetype of Venus we hold there. She is the Roman goddess of love and beauty, portrayed so powerfully in many great paintings (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus for one). Over many centuries artists have sought to capture her power, passion and beauty in paint. I am no different.

PINK ROSEBUD ~ The delicate folds of flesh-like petals evokes her hidden sex that even nature celebrates. The angle of her hips, her unflinching gaze and strong blush speak of a desire not easily denied.

HER POSE ~ The opposing angles of shoulders and hips, a celebrated classical posture evokes lithe and graceful movement. The shape of her leg beneath the robe crossing, pushing, moving, creating a flow echoed in the cascades of hair and the winding tendrils of vine.

PINK PEARLS ~ With this symbol of romance she makes you an offer of love, however their knotted string warns of entanglement. In loving her you take this risk and must step up and be fully devoted. Stand strong in your true power (Venus’s lovers were Mars God of War & Vulcan after all!)

STAR TIARA ~ Stars are gleams of light in the dark sky, reminders of the celestial and eternal realms where the mystery of life dwells. The number nine carries symbolism in many traditions: in Greek mythology there are 9 Muses; in Traditional Chinese Medicine the heart has 9 points: in Norse mythology the universe is divided into 9 worlds, all connected by Yggdrasil, the world tree; Buddha was believed to have 9 virtues; Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and prayer, is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar; a cat having nine lives; and human life gestates for 9 months.

THE RING ~ Echoing the colours of the deep ocean, the ancient Nautilus shell is a symbol of proportional perfection. It’s shape represents the golden mean ratio known as the PHI, in which digits continue indefinitely without ever repeating themselves. The coiled shell, lined with mother-of-pearl, grows into increasingly larger chambers throughout its life and has come to be known as a symbol for expansion and renewal. When used in artwork and architecture it renders the object beautiful to the human eye. The innermost portion of the shell is a pearlescent blue-grey.

VIOLET + BURNT UMBER ~ The combination of these colours made the luscious plum coloured background which for me evokes the harvest of grapes, Bacchus the God of Wine and ritualised ecstasy.