Bloom Where You Are Planted ROSALIE GWEN PAPERIE SHOWCASES THE POWER OF FLOWERS WRITTEN BY: AMEIHIA TURINGAN PHOTOGRAPHED BY: HANNAH WILSON
For Cara Olsen, art brought color and light in a period of darkness. After experiencing chronic pain that specialists were unable to diagnose, she fell into a deep depression which made it difficult to get out of bed. One day, she saw watercolor paintings on Pinterest and decided to buy a cheap set of paints. Even though her initial experiment with watercolor was “horrible,” she continued with it and eventually grew this passion into a business. Olsen entered the entrepreneurial world five years ago when she sold watercolor and graphite portraits on Etsy. After adding flowers behind the portraits, she gravitated beyond faces to just plants. Eventually, her floral affinity would bloom into her current online store, Rosalie Gwen Paperie, which specializes in botany art. In her pieces, she has depicted flowers from violets to magnolias to hyacinths. “I just have always loved flowers and think that each one has a story to tell,” states Olsen. Along with commissions, she sells prints, website logos, phone cases, gift wrap, gift tags, pillowcases and stationary like greeting cards and envelopes. As a watercolor artist, she enjoys seeing her flowers “transform into something that looks almost
ROSALIE GWEN PAPERIE www.rosaliegwenpaperie.com @rosaliegwenpaperie Photoshoot Location: SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA
real” whenever she adds more paint. Describing her style as “lootanical” (a portmanteau of loose and botanical), her art is both detailed-oriented yet unconcerned about getting everything perfect. “I am an artist who does not believe in perfect art whatsoever. I think the mess and the mistakes are actually part of the magic,” says Olsen. Her creative process also reflects this style. On some days, she sits down, mixes colors on a palette, and paints whatever comes to mind. “[Loose art] is a concept of what [an object] would look like if the mind wasn’t so strict about what it was creating,” explains Olsen. Other times she enjoys making pieces which involve heavily researching a flower, selecting two to seven photos to study how it works, and spending the next two to seven days creating the artwork. In the years since first trying out painting, Olsen has found her magic by capturing the beauty of flowers through watercolor. Especially when managing fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s disease alongside a business and toddler, Olsen demonstrates how far passion and strength can take you. “I am so lucky to be able to have turned something that brings me so much joy into a business that I love,” remarks Olsen.
What’s in a Name • Olsen’s business name is a combination of her middle name, Rosalie, and her daughter’s middle name, Gwen. Flower of Choice • While she draws all sorts of flowers for her pieces, her favorite type are wild pink roses. Words of Wisdom • Olsen’s words of wisdom to creatives is to never be afraid to fail, keep exploring.