There is something about painting gardens that seems to appeal to artists from all over the world. Perhaps it is the challenge of capturing the beauty and serenity of a garden in a painting. Or maybe it is simply the joy that gardens bring to people's lives. In this blog post, we will take a look at some paintings of gardens by artists from around the world. We will also explore how artists have been able to capture the unique beauty of different types of gardens, from flower gardens to vegetable gardens.
Over the years artists John Dyer has painted many many gardens. Be it famous public gardens such as Tresco Abbey Gardens and St Michael's Mount Gardens in Cornwall; The Hanbury Gardens in La Mortola, Italy; Giverny Gardens, Thuret Gardens and Clos du Peyronet in France; or smaller private gardens belonging to celebrities such as Alan Titchmarsh and and Kim Wilde or simply small cottage gardens on the Cornish coast, gardens and plants feature heavily in his paintings.
Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. 'Music by the Sea, Gyllyngdune Gardens, Falmouth'
Growing and painting a flower garden
Many famous artists have historically designed and painted their own gardens. To create and plant a garden as an inspiration for your own work as an artist brings the whole garden to life. An artist's garden has depth of field, light and dark, movement and, above all, colour. No one understands how to create a living landscape quite like artist gardeners do. Being surrounded by plant life and blooms, flower beds and birds, texture and colour is an inspiration for many painters and sculptors alike.
Claude Monet - Giverny
Claude Monet is famous for cultivating and painting his own flower garden in Giverny, and also for the incredible paintings of the water lilies in his pond there. In Claude Monet's garden the famous Japanese bridge is covered with wisterias, there are other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood, and, the renowned nympheas that bloom all summer long in this water garden. All this planting appears regularly in his paintings en plein air, created in the garden itself.
No other painter has ever designed and created their designs in nature before painting them. For more than two decades, Claude Monet would be inspired by this water garden and he produced as many as 250 paintings of these ponds.
The Royal Academy said:
"Monet, arguably the most important painter of gardens in the history of art, once said he owed his painting 'to flowers'"
Frida Kahlo - Casa Azul
Above: Frida Kahlo's home and studio, The Blue House
Frida Kahlo spent the first three decades of her life in Mexico City, where she lived at Casa Azul and worked in her studio as an artist. The Blue House was built beside a lush green garden, which Frida Kahlo herself tended and that inspired her work. Colourful Mexican plants filled this green haven: Canna Lilies, Bougainvillea, agave and prickly pear cactii in abundance.
The Bloomsbury Group - Charleston Farm
Above: photograph of Charleston Garden, designed by artist Roger Fry
In the 20s artist Roger Fry helped fellow painters, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, designed and planted a walled garden with flowers and fruit trees at their home Charleston Farmhouse on the South Downs. They would grow plants with the intention of painting them - they adored colour. They grew hollyhocks, red-hot pokers, Iceland poppies, globe thistles, and at least 10 distinct kinds of roses each year, creating a stunning summer garden. The house and surrounding gardens became a regular meeting place for the Bloomsbury group.
Humphrey Waterfield (1908-1971) - Le Clos du Payronnet, Menton
Humphrey Waterfield was a passionate gardener and painter who created Gardens at Hill Pasture, Essex. Between 1946 and 1971, he redesigned and restored to its former glory, the garden ofLe Clos du Peyronnet, Menton, his family homeon the Côte D’Azur, most of which remains today.
Trained as an artist, Humphrey Waterfield was also an accomplished gardener.
In 2010 artists John Dyer and Joanne Short were given the opportunity to live at Le Clos du Peyronnet for the year. During that time both John and Joanne were able to enjoy and paint the beautiful garden this artist had created.
"It was an honour to be following in the footsteps of such artists as Monet, Renoir, Matisse, who all painted such famous garden paintings here in the South of France and who left such a mark on the art world. Sitting painting these stunning plants in this beautiful garden designed by an artist is a dream come true" John Dyer.
Above: photograph of artist John Dyer with his daughter, Wilamena,painting in the gardens of Le Clos du Peyronnet
Emil Nolde - Seebüll
In Northern Germany, painter Emil Nolde and his wife Ada had their home and garden. The German Expressionist painter's house from 1927 until his death in 1956 wasn't an easy place to cultivate a garden—they had to blend sand and peat into the existing soil to make it more inviting for plant life. They later built a reed fence to safeguard their bushes from the harsh winds. However, despite these efforts, the end result was lovely, with a pathway through the flowerbeds fashioned after the letters of the couple
Above: photograph of artist Emil Nolde and his wife Ada at their house, Seebüll
Above: 'Large Poppies' by artist Emil Nolde
Barbara Hepworth's Sculpture Garden - Trewyn Studio, St Ives
In Barbara Hepworth's sculpture garden in Trewyn Studio, Cornwall, England you will find not only sculptures by the artist but also a variety of flowers and plants. Hepworth was fascinated by the relationship between her sculptures and nature. The garden is full of interesting shapes, forms, and textures which are integral to the experience of viewing her work. The garden includes many species of exotic plants that were important to Barbara Hepworth including acanthus, palms, yuccas, and agaves.
Above: Artist Joanne Short looking at the sculptures in the Barbara Hepworth museum
Barbara Hepworth's studio and sculpture garden in St Ives is both a studio and museum, housing artwork as well as the artist's former house and grounds. The studio was designed by Hepworth herself and features large windows that provide ample natural light. The museum contains a number of Hepworth's sculptures, both large and small, as well as her studio equipment. The grounds are home to a number of Hepworth's outdoor sculptures, which are set against the backdrop of the stunning Cornish landscape. Visitors can explore the studio, museum, and grounds at their own pace.
Painting a vegetable garden
Vegetable Gardens in Montmartre, 1887 - Vincent van Gogh
During this time Van Gogh was living in Montmartre with his brother. Montmartre's vegetable gardens supplied the markets in Paris with lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and other vegetables.
Painting of vegetable gardens in Montmartre Vincent Van Gogh
In his painting "Vegetable Gardens in Montmartre: La Butte Montmartre," the changing face of the Montmartre environment is depicted. In the foreground are allotment gardens, where people work in their allotments, with urban Paris in the background.
'La Butte Montmartre' was chosen by Van Gogh for his first exhibition in Paris in 1888. The summery landscape shows vegetable gardens with the city skyline in the distance. He was very was pleased with this painting, stating that it "breathed fresh air and joy."
Kitchen Garden in Eragny, Afternoon - Camille Pissarro
Painting by Camille Pissarro, Kitchen Garden in Eragny, Afternoon
This summer 1895 canvas depicts a portion of post-impressionist Camille Pissarro's garden in Éragny, a rural village in northern France where he resided from 1884 until the artist's death. Pissarro likely painted this vista from his studio window. While here he worked on a series of artworks based on the rural community and of his own garden and orchard.
The Artist's Garden at Eragny, 1898 - Camille Pissarro
A view of part of the garden at the artist's house in Normandy is depicted in this artwork. Other homes in Eragny village may be seen beyond the wall. The artist's spouse is visible in the orchard. Pissarro was concerned with the connection between man and his surroundings, and most of his landscapes are populated or feature a human presence. The female figure here complements the tranquil, domestic setting of the orchard scene. The Impressionist approach to recording light and atmosphere effects is reflected in this painting.
The Eden Project
In 2000 John Dyer became artist in residence at the Eden Project in Cornwall. At the beginning, before the biomes were planted John would visit the Nursery at Watering Lane to paint the plants. He then moved into the biomes to paint the planting as it progressed.
Above; Photograph of artist John Dyer painting at The Eden Project
During his time at Eden John has painted both the humid tropic and the warm temperate biomes. Another main part of the site are the "Outdoor Gardens" which are creatively planted with vegetables and flowers to almost create a painting in its own right. Each season the planting changes with spring bulbs, sunflowers, or even colourful leafy vegetables.
Eden Project Official Signed Limited Print by Cornish Artist John Dyer. 'Bulb Mania! The Eden Project'. Cornwall Art Gallery Print
The Walled Garden of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall, are one of the most magical places in the world. Once a thriving estate with over 200 acres of gardens, they fell into disrepair after World War I when many of the gardeners who had tended them were killed in action. The gardens were rediscovered in the 1990s and have since been restored to their former glory.
Vintage Style Travel Art Poster Print. The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Rows of People and Plants. Cornish Artist John Dyer
The gardens are home to a variety of rare and endangered plants, as well as a number of sculptures and other works of art. The Walled Garden is a particular highlight, with its beautiful flowers and stunning views.
Vintage Style Travel Art Poster Print. The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Italian Garden by Cornish Artist John Dyer
The joy of plants and painting
"Having spent many hours painting gardens all around the world, I cannot think of a better environment to sit and contemplate life. Painting the natural beauty of plants and flowers brings me great pleasure and I will never tire of celebrating the beauty of the natural world around me" John Dyer
These are just a few of the many amazing gardens and garden artists out there. Their work is a reminder of the beauty of nature, and the importance of gardens in our world. Whether painting flowers or vegetables, or designing gardens themselves, these artists help us to appreciate the simple things in life.