Friday, June 24, 2011


Seaside Roses
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 17" x 12", 2011

This week the rose garden is in full bloom and it is gorgeous. It is time to paint roses.
These roses are called 'Heritage' and they are of the softest and cleanist pink. I originally had in mind a sleeping black cat behind the vase but currently, not having a cat I substituted a cloth.
Beth and I had a house in Maine for twelve years and it was there that we learned to garden. This painting is an homage to gardening in Maine.

In many ways I find that roses are amongst the most difficult flowers to paint. The petal of a rose is very delicate. Often, even with my best efforts, the petals can appear to be made of porcelain. Generally, roses are quite complex and demanding but surprisingly the tulip can also be difficult, not due to complexity but by it's utter simplicity of form.

Being somewhat a superficial gardener ( Beth is the real gardener here) I am prone to be attracted to a plant because of it's history or name.
We have the Apothecary's Rose (oldest rose),
and roses that evoke art or romance: 'Fantin-Latour', 'Charles Rennie Macintosh',
'Shropshire Lad', and my favorite, a gallica rose named 'Rosa Mundi'.

Rosa Mundi Roses
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 2007
New Britian Museum of American Art

This is a beautiful rose. Rosa Mundi is an ancient mutation of the Apothecary's Rose. It is the rose that Botticelli painted in
The Virgin and the Child with St. John the Baptist, ( see blog post week #5 ).
It is very much a painter's rose.

There is a story connected to it's name and it goes something like this:
Eleanor of Aquitaine was Queen of France and for political reasons was married to Henry II, King of England. However, the King had his royal eye set on the beautiful Rosamund, with whom he had a love affair. Rosamund's favorite flower was rosa gallica 'versicolor', a stunning flower with crimson and white petals. Well, as with all affairs the truth was soon revealed and to say the least Eleanor was quite upset. She immediately had poor Rosamund executed. Sigh...
Every year, to commemorate his love ( and to tick off Eleanor) Henry had Rosamund's grave covered with petals from her favorite rose, now and forever named 'Rosa Mundi'.
Hyperboly? Maybe, but I prefer to believe it. Why not?

Images and text Copyright 2011 James Aponovich


  1. Gorgeous! The pink roses are just beautiful and I'm loving the narrative that comes along with each painting! :>)

  2. I'm a fan (and grower) of many heritage roses. Your painting of Rosa Mundi is probably my favourite of your flower features many more Rosa Mundi stems than Redouté showed!
    My husband & I toured your and Beth's gardens several years ago at this season, I can well imagine their beauty now.
    (The painting of Heritage is delightful!)