Since I started growing roses, way back when, I've always had a preference for drawing them rather than photographing them. Photographs capture the form just fine but not, in my opinion, the color. There are several roses that, based on photos alone, I would never have bothered growing; Basye's Purple is an excellent example. No photograph can possibly capture that color. Yet once you actually see it, if you're a purple fan, you can't be without it!
Since I started hybridising roses, I've tended even more toward drawing and painting as a means to accurately describe a rose. An example here is a miniature I bred called "The Pimpernel." This is a littermate of 'Maman Ichiko,' but won't be released because it has no fragrance. But it's a nice, sturdy little mini and I've kept it for myself anyway.
The camera records it thus:
Trouble is, this isn't how it looks to my eye. To my eye, the flower looks like this:
To get this picture, I printed out a very light version of the photograph above, and colored over it with Prismacolor pencils.
Getting back to Basye's purple, I don't have an unretouched photo of it. They all come out a sort of washed out pink. Below, however, is a photo that I tweaked in the GIMP,
a program like Photoshop but infinitely superior and free. I still am not able to capture the way this rose just sparkles, and the incredible depth of its color, but here you are; this is as close as I can get, with either the GIMP or pencils.
There's an excellent reason why cameras don't capture what one actually sees, especially where color is concerned. Your brain doesn't see what your camera sees. In fact, your brain doesn't even see what your retina sees! What you see when you look at a thing is your brain's interpretation, interpolation, revision and sometimes downright confusion of the data that the retina is sending it, especially where color is concerned. There was a really interesting article a few weeks ago in Science News
(I believe, I can't find it right offhand), where studies were suggesting that color vision is actually a "hobby" of the spacial orientation system! You can put a gene for a third type of cone into a mouse (which normally has only two), and not only will that cone arise in the eye, but even though the mouse brain has no instructions for the use of that new cone, not only does it function, but the mouse is able to see, and make decisions based upon, that new color.
This blows me away. I am a genuine color junkie, and it's been suggested that I may be a quadrochromat, based on my ability to distinguish minute differences in color. I'm also a synesthete, to an extent: I remember numbers based not on what the number actually is but on what color the number is, to a very large extent. 2 is red. 10 is brown. 6677 is a pale, greyish teal. All numbers in the 30s and 80s are shades of yellow. I don't actually see a numeral in these colors as the real hard-core synesthetes do, but I get the definite impression of color. (There is an actual, physiological reason for this, which I won't go into here.) Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that if something comes in more than one color, I have an almost obsessive desire to collect them all. Fortunately, 11 cats is enough. I simply cannot collect all 6 million combinations of colors and patterns...
Anyway, that's my Wednesday Morning Blather. I am considering drawing all my best roses, just to have a record. When I'll get time to do this, I have no idea.