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Joanne Short: A Cornish Artist Painting Flowers and the History of Floral Art

  • 7 min read

Patchwork Flowers and Pink Sky, Clos du Peyronnet, Menton, France - Joanne Short

Above: Detail from the painting 'Patchwork Flowers and Pink Sky, Clos du Peyronnet, Menton' by Joanne Short. Available as an open edition art print.

Cornish artist Joanne Short is inspired by the wildflowers that grow in abundance throughout her native county and around the world. She often paints floral scenesthat depict the delicate beauty of these blooms in their natural surroundings. Her floral paintings are full of vibrant colour and life. In this blog post, we will take a look at Joanne's work, as well as the work of other artists who have painted flowers throughout history. We will explore the significance of floral art, and why it continues to be popular today.

Joanne's paintings of the Cornish coastline are truly breathtaking. The beaches and villages are depicted with such detail, and the foreground of bright, colourful wildflowers really adds to the beauty of the scene. These brighten up the bleakest of days and her use of colour brings the paintings to life. One of the most impressive aspects of Joanne's paintings is the way she captures the light with a bold use of flat colour.


Above: 'Coastal Walk to Kynance Cove', 
18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas. Painting by Cornish Artist Joanne Short

Joanne's paintings are more than just pretty pictures; they're a window into a world of natural beauty and serenity. What a wonderful way to remember happy times spent in Cornwall. Many people who see her paintings are inspired to visit this beautiful part of the world. 

The Natural Beauty of Cornish Flowers

We spoke to Joanne about the flowers in her paintings.

"Cornwall is a spectacular place to paint. I feel extremely fortunate to live in this beautiful county, surrounded by stunning views. The clifftops are covered in blankets of wildflowers virtually throughout the year, although in spring the sight is especially spectacular; it would be a travesty not to paint them!"

Joanne Short.


 Above: 'Cornish Garden, Cadgwith' original oil painting on canvas by artist Joanne Short

Joanne Short's vibrant new oil painting 'Cornish Garden, Cadgwith' is a true appreciation of Cornwall's natural beauty. This painting features a variety of bright flowers and plants set against the backdrop of Cornish coastal cliffs, making it ideal for adding a touch of paradise to any room. In this painting, Joanne manages to intermingle tropical garden plants with wild daisies to create an image of a true Cornish Garden.

Joanne explains: "There's something about a brightly-coloured flower that just makes you feel happy, no matter what else is going on in your life. Maybe it's the joy of seeing nature in all its glory, or maybe it's the reminder that there's still beauty in the world. Whatever the reason, there's no denying that flowers can lift your spirits. And nowhere is this more true than on the cliffs of Cornwall, where colorful blooms abound, contrasting with the blue waters of the sea below. It's a sight that never fails to take my breath away. Just looking at the flowers growing peacefully atop the cliffs, while the waves crash and foam below, fills me with a sense of calm. It's like they're saying, 'everything will be alright.' And for a moment, everything does feel alright. No matter what life throws my way, I know I can always find peace and happiness on the Cornish clifftops."


Above: 'Wild Flowers on the Cliff, Godrevy'. 12x12 inches oil on canvas. Paintings of Cornwall by Cornish Artist Joanne Short

The delicate wildflowers and grasses on the cliff overlooking Gwithian Beach and Godrevy Lighthouse breathe life into this original work by Joanne. The layers of grasses and flowers in this painting give the image depth.

"I always hope that my paintings tell this story. I feel that the flowers I paint in the foreground of all my paintings should help bring a sense of calm and tranquility into the room where they hang. There is a joy in the colour palette of flower paintings that just makes you feel happy and I love to include flowers in my paintings whenever I find them when painting in Cornwall, France and Italy."

Joanne Short.

Above: Original Painting by Joanne Short. Singing and Zinging, Hanbury Garden, Italy. 24 x 24 inches oil on canvas

Artist Joanne Short painting in the Giardini Hanbury Gardens at La Mortola in Italy in 2008

Above: Artist Joanne Short painting in the Giardini Hanbury Gardens at La Mortola in Italy in 2008

Famous Flower Paintings

Some of the most beloved paintings in the world feature flowers. Vincent van Gogh has painted, perhaps, the most famous flower paintings, and his work continues to inspire artists today. His bright, expressive brushstrokes captured the beauty of nature, and his still life paintings are among his most iconic images, especially his famous paintings of sunflowers and Irises.

Another creator of famous flower paintings was French artist Claude Monet. His famous painting 'Water Lilies' captures the tranquil beauty of his garden pond, and his entire career was devoted to painting the natural world. Monet painted his garden continuously during his life.

Jan Van Huysum (1682-1749) 

The Dutch painter Jan van Huysum is considered one of the greatest flower painters of all time. His meticulously detailed still life pictures were incredibly realistic, and he is credited with popularizing the genre. Jan van Huysum maintained that all of his works were based on direct observation. This meticulousness extended to the point where a customer was informed she had to wait a year for her painting because the yellow roses he required were not available!

Still life with Flowers by artist Jan Van Huysum

Above: Jan van Huysum, 'Still life with flowers'. Available as an open edition print.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Gustav Klimt painted some fantastic flower paintings later in his career after being introduced to the work of Van Gogh.

Bauerngarten by artist Gustav Klimt 

Above: Bauerngarten (Cottage Garden) by artist Gustav Klimt. Available as an open edition fine art print.

The yellow blooms toward the right center of the piece are the focal point. Their brilliant hues capture the attention of the viewer as they analyze their form and attempt to determine what type they are. Beautiful white hydrangeas in a pyramid formation near the top of the painting illustrate Klimt's use of geometric forms and planning to give structure The flowers on the left side of the painting are painted in vibrant pinks, reds, and oranges, giving it a welcome dash of colour. The significance of this bouquet's position in Klimt's composition is what it adds to the work.

Today, flowers continue to be a popular subject for artists of all styles, from traditional oil painters to modern photographers. No matter how they are portrayed, flowers always seem to capture our imagination and inspire feelings of joy.

Which famous female artists painted flowers?

Famous female floral painters include Georgia O'Keeffe, Mary Cassatt, and Elizabeth Blackadder.

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

O'Keeffe is known for her large-scale paintings of close-ups of flowers. Her famous flower paintings emphasize the sensual curves and lines of the petals, and they are realistic, yet highly stylized. Her work has been praised for its eroticism and its bold use of colour. During her life, the flower is a theme that Georgia O'Keeffe always returns to, just like other artists, like Van Gogh to his SunflowersMonet to his Water Lilies.

'Tulips' by artist Georgia O'Keeffe

 Above:  'Red Canna, by artist Georgia O'Keeffe

Dame Elizabeth Violet Blackadder, (1931–2021)

Blackadder was a Scottish painter and printmaker. She was the first woman to be elected to both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy.

Dame Elizabeth Blackadder was an avid gardener for most of her life. Her favourite flowers were always irises, poppies, tulips, lilies and orchids, though she also frequently painted hellebores, roses and anemones. Her artwork is scientific in its precision, analysis, and objectivity; nevertheless, the overall result is lyrical, delicate, and clearly infused with the artist's personal love for flowers.

She worked with oils, watercolours, drawing and printmaking. In her still life paintings she thoughtfully considered the space between items. She also painted portraits and landscapes but her later work is dominated by paintings of cats and flowers done with great precision.

Painting by Elizabeth Blackadder,

Above: Tulips by artist Elizabeth Blackadder (1931-2021) © the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: NHS Lothian (Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation) 

Mary Cassatt  (1844–1926)

Mary Cassatt had a great love of gardens and flowers. Although famous mainly for her paintings of figures, Cassatt often painted mothers and children in gardens with flowers.

Cassatt's still life 'Lilacs in a Window' shows this passion and although different from most of her other paintings, it is an extremely accomplished and famous work.

Painting by artist Mary Cassatt, 'Lilacs in a window'

Above: Painting by artist Mary Cassatt, 'Lilacs in a window'  

Above:  Mount's Bay Moon. Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist Joanne Short

Joanne says, "When Cornwall is in bloom, there is no better place to paint. As the wildflowers start to pop up in the hedges, it is a sure sign that summer is on the way and it is time to get outside to paint! I love painting the mixture of colours and intertwining shapes of all the leaves and stems. Without the flowers, my paintings wouldn't have the same tranquility and warmth."

Joanne Short Fine Art Open Edition Art Print. 'Wild Flowers and Wedding Lilies, Sophie's View'

Above: Joanne Short Fine Art Open Edition Art Print. 'Wild Flowers and Wedding Lilies, Sophie's View'. Buy online framed or unframed.

In conclusion, floral paintings continue to be popular because of their beauty and the emotions they inspire. Joanne Short's floral paintings are beautiful and unique. She has a deep love not only for the wild flowers of Cornwall, but also for traditional garden flowers too, and this is evident in her work. Her paintings are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also have a historical significance. They offer a glimpse into the past, when floral art was more prevalent than it is today.


Above: Vintage style poster by Joanne Short of Vicar's Close, Wells, Somerset

If you would like to purchase one of Joanne's original paintings, or a signed limited edition print, please enjoy browsing our online gallery and hopefully you will find the perfect image and piece of art for your home.

Have you seen some art in this article you are considering purchasing?

If you would like help or advice in choosing and investing in the perfect piece of art for your interior and art collection, please feel free to get in touch. We are delighted to answer your questions and can suggest additional art prints or original paintings that will be perfect for you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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