Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

Embrace imperfection - like a rambling rose

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse

Roses can be one of the most challenging flowers to paint - intimidating!

But they are so beautiful, how could I not give it a try?  

If you can approach it with a glad heart and a brave brush, painting offers an opportunity to embrace imperfection.  And I am learning that the subject often chooses the artist, as it usually carries a message - a lesson not only in painting, but also in life.


I would be lying if I said I didn't worry that my loose watercolour style would not do all those immaculate layers of petals justice. A careful and accurate botanical drawing was my first instinct. However … careful and accurate… not exactly my way!

But one of my beliefs is that even a loose approach to painting should be able to capture  the essence of a thing.

In fact, to me, that is rather the point.


So if it is true in painting that you don’t need to be perfectly precise to achieve an outcome, is this true in life?

Embrace imperfection Kerrie Woodhouse

I very much hope so. It means that if you fumble over your words when you are trying to console a friend, the chances are she understands what you mean anyway. You gave her some comfort even if you didn’t find the perfect words, or get them in exactly the right order.

Some of our parenting moments are prouder than others... it's not just me... is it? 

A child does not need absolute perfection in their parents to grow up happy and healthy and know that they are loved. 


Sometimes I think we fool ourselves into believing that you have to do something brilliantly in order to do it at all. That level of perfectionism stops us from trying anything new and limits our avenues for joy.

Where would we be if if we didn’t allow ourselves to write a bad poem or bake a cake that sinks in the middle. The joy is in the activity, the process not the final product. It is still fun to play with words and ideas, and I bet that cake was still tasty, sinkhole notwithstanding.

In the process we capture the essence of the experience - that is what we are really after anyway. Like the haphazard tangle of rambling roses, they are joyful expression, and truly beautiful.


Do you delight in the wildness of the rambling rose?

I do.  Its long-stemmed cousin might be the florist's choice, and it has an elegant beauty too, of course. But there is such joy and abandon in the informal branches, leaves and blooms.

It might be an imperfect jumble and even have a thorn or two but it is always growing. Always striving. Ever reaching for the light. A chaotic thorny tangle does not preclude an exquisite bloom or two. In fact, it probably makes them seem even more lovely.

True for roses, true in life. Even when our lives get to be especially busy, messy or difficult there will still be at least one tiny bloom of joy somewhere. 


The persistent rambling rose will continue to reach up any structure it can. Such a symbol of hope and perseverance.


I love to see a wild rose climbing a man made structure. The contrast of cold, strong steel and gentle blooms and petals seems to carry a message.

Find your strong support.

Let it hold you.

Be flexible enough to embrace imperfection in order to grow.

Follow the light and never stop reaching.