Inspired by a vision of a light-filled rose garden she experienced on awakening from a coma following emergency brain surgery, Michelle Endersby is an international rose artist who paints stylised portraits of roses on circular canvases.
Michelle’s paintings encourage her viewers to stop for a moment and contemplate the sacred beauty of the rose and often inspire an awakening or an opening such as when rosebud opens to a full bloom. Michelle believes roses are a metaphor for our dreams, which can stay tight in the bud or, with a little encouragement, can bloom fully and flourish.
Carrie: When did you first realize you were an artist?
Textiles were my passion growing up and through my adult years, so I have always been a creator. It wasn’t until I awoke from a coma that I knew with confidence that I was an artist with a mission to share a message of beauty, hope and inspiration.
Carrie: How did you come to discover your unique style?
I believe it is important for artists to have a recognisable style and for a while I searched and experimented to see what manifested. But it was when I painted my first stylised rose on a circular canvas something clicked and I knew this was me.
Carrie: I’m curious, why the round canvases? They seem to be part of your signature style.
Yes, the circles are very much part of my signature style. Circles are a powerful symbol in art representing eternity, the cycle of life and wholeness.They have also been used for portraiture and, as I like to depict the personality of the roses I paint, I see my paintings more as portraits than still life. Personally, painting on round canvases was part of my rehabilitation after my brain incident so they represent my return to wholeness.
Carrie: How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process begins in a rose garden. I spend as much time as I can visiting rose gardens when the roses are in bloom to find and photograph my inspiration, and I also find that the special energy in the gardens energises and motivates me. Then it’s back to the studio to paint the roses and themes which are currently exciting me the most.
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
I used to paint in our double garage with the doors open and the passing parade of neighbours popping in to see what I was doing. Then one cold Winter I retreated into the laundry and I have stayed there ever since. I have a French Box Easel to paint on and now have a few of my paintings on the wall, there is a small window for natural light, and I have a small bench to spread out my paints and water jars.
Carrie: How do you decide when a work is finished?
There is a magical stage in every painting when something happens and the painting wraps up and then it is done and I will not touch it. I don’t know when this magic will happen and I can’t force it, but I certainly know the feeling when it starts to occur, and I think “yes, here we go.” I just proceed blissfully and then it’s brushes down.
Carrie: What do you do when you feel stuck?
A short break in the garden usually gives me the energy boost I need, but sometimes you just need to get your brushes moving and let the momentum take over.
Carrie: Do you have any advice for other artists trying to find their voice?
Immerse yourself in inspiration, visit galleries, read, take photos, and write down all the ideas that come into your head. Keep a special inspiration journal. Then observe what is exciting you and what themes are recurring.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
Well I guess it is my camera. I come across so many beautiful roses at the height of their beauty and I love seeking them out and photographing them. Roses change so quickly, and a lot of my roses are from public gardens so I can’t pick them to take them back to the studio to paint, so I have to work from photographs.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Roses have inspired artists for over 3,500 years, and I, too, am under their spell. There is so much just in their colour and form, but once you scratch the surface, there is such rich history, symbolism, mythology and stories, that roses are not only inspiring me to paint but I am also currently writing a novel set in a rose garden!
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity is an energy source within everybody which can lay dormant like bare rose bushes over Winter. But given the right conditions it is the force which makes dreams bloom into reality.
Be Creatively Courageous: If you were to choose a flower that represents you, which flower would you choose? Tell me in the comments below.
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*Photo credits: Kev Howlett from Busybird Publishing*