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Decorative Art

Design Choice Communications Portfolio: Decorative Rose Box © 2006


Hand-painted Rose Box


This hand-painted oval box was created as a Christmas gift for a couple whose longstanding pastime is the cultivation of rose gardens on their property. The drawing is based upon a digital photo I shot at an earlier date.


The first step in this design process was to prep the inside and outside of the balsa wood box by sanding it to a smooth finish, sealing it to prevent excessive paint absorption, and lightly sanding it once more to ensure even adhesion of the acrylic paints. Next, the rose and rose leaves were sketched onto paper and transferred onto the box with a stylus and carbon paper. At completion, it was coated inside and out with a water-based, non-toxic acrylic varnish to protect the paint and provide a pleasing sheen. This process is important because many store-bought decorative wood items are not properly prepped and finished for maximum longevity.

Design Influences

The semi-translucent, multi-tonal color — bright pinks, salmons, yellows and lilacs — are suggestive of a variety of rose species, and stand as a form of “creative license” over the coral color captured in the original photograph, below. In addition, this particular blend of colors permits the rose to appear in the “eye of the beholder” as opposed to any one identifiable variety. Painted in acrylic on balsa wood using mauve, burgundy and teal-green hues as a backdrop, the brightly defined rose petals allude to femininity, strength of character and the captivating beauty of a sunrise. The petals’ strong three-dimensionality is a purposeful departure from the tradition of artists, particularly in the folk art realm, to depict roses using single brushstrokes to create light, wispy, ethereal representations of great beauty but little substance.


By portraying the rose in a decisive, vibrant manner, my aim was to spotlight the enduring nature of the couple's interest in the flower over the decades.

This is the photograph upon which the decorative rose box, above, is based.


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