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SSD Painting Series #3: The First Rose of Summer

Updated: May 28

The next painting in my series was "The First Rose of Summer."


I don't have any overly deep personal insights on why I chose this phrase to paint. I think I mostly loved the symbolic nature the "rose conversations" held for Shane and Oliver. The evolution of the rose bush became a parallel to the evolution of Shane and Oliver's relationship. We first see the mention of the rose in The Impossible Dream. Shane reveals to Oliver that her mother would send her a clipping from their rosebush, or the "last rose of summer." At the end of the movie, Oliver presents Shane with a clipping so that it will become "the first rose of summer." In this moment, we see their relationship deepen. To me, the rose here symbolizes hope. Oliver has given Shane hope, not only in the grand gesture of the acquisition of her childhood home, but also in this smaller, yet equally as meaningful, gift. 


The first shift occurs later in One in a Million, during Shane and Oliver's disastrous dinner "date." Oliver makes the unfortunate mistake of referring to Shane as a "friend." When Oliver asks about the cutting from the rosebush that he gave her, she responds with pointed bluntness, "I think it died...I tried everything to keep it alive. I watered it, I fed it, I talked to it. I fertilized it." The rose clipping clearly has not flourished despite all her efforts, which is precisely how she views her relationship with Oliver in that moment. We see her confusion and hurt, which is the result of poor communication between the two.


The second shift occurs later in the movie. There is a moving scene in which Oliver helps Dudley Curly realize that he doesn't need an award to have mattered to those he served as a mail carrier. Oliver points out how Mr. Curly helped Nikki to have the courage to risk mailing a love letter. Oliver later adds, "You have to mail the letter and risk whatever happens next...otherwise nothing happens."  I believe Oliver and Shane both begin to realize here the importance of taking another risk with each other. We later see Shane begin this process when she says, "You know, just because [the rosebush] didn't take, it doesn't diminish the thought that was behind it." The tone here is of forgiveness and second chances.


The final shift is at the very end of the movie. Here, Oliver is very decisive in asking Shane for a second chance at dinner. More importantly, he clearly communicates that,  "It is a date." Soon after, Shane asks Oliver if he likes her hair, in which she has placed a yellow rose. The rosebush, we learn, "took after all." We see the parallel in the thriving of the rosebush as well as the thriving relationship of Shane and Oliver, particularly now that they have opened up their lines of communication, especially with Oliver taking a risk in finally defining his intentions.


This was probably the piece I had the most fun painting. And now, every time I see a rose (especially a yellow rose), I think of #ShOliver


Painting resources: I learned A LOT from my work on this painting. I learned how to use a medium, about one stroke painting, and angle brushes. It's definitely something I want to paint again to work on my flower techniques. Check out the linked videos to learn more!


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