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Paintings with Flowers - The Art of Cornish Artist Joanne Short.

  • 6 min read

Paintings with Flowers - The Art of Cornish Artist Joanne Short.

Above: 'Full Moon over Mylor Harbour', 
18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas. Painting by Cornish Artist Joanne Short.


"When viewing the work of Cornish artist Joanne Short, it’s easy to see why her flower paintings have made such an impact on buyers and collectors around the world. Her stunning floral works are created using a vibrant palette of colours, working in harmony to create eye-catching compositions that bring life and joy to any room." Artist John Dyer

It seems very pertinent that I should be writing this blog about the flowers that I paint, on March 21, the spring equinox. Let's celebrate spring and talk about flowers!

Painting Flowers

Who doesn't love being presented with a bouquet of fresh flowers? I can honestly say that it isn't something that I will ever tire of. The beauty of fresh flowers in a room will always lift the heart and evoke a feeling of calm. Sadly fresh flowers will always fade away, and this is what inspired me to try and capture the colour and form of a flower while still bright and vibrant, whether in a vase or growing in the garden or on a clifftop or hedgerow. I have been including flowers in my paintings for many years - living in Cornwall I can't ignore the natural beauty of all the wildflowers abundantly growing all around in the hedgerows and on the clifftops. I want to bring the beauty of nature into a room through my flower paintings, in a way that they will last and never fade away.

Some of my favourite Flower Paintings

Do I have a favourite flower? I'm not sure that I do. I love peonies; in fact, they were the main flowers in my wedding bouquet and buttonholes. I also love lilies and roses, but I think sunflowers are possibly at the top of my list.

Above: Vintage Style Wall Art Poster Print by Joanne Short of Vicars' Close Garden and Wells Cathedral in Somerset

Peonies are elegant and regal plants, offering a brief yet much-awaited bloom from late spring to early summer. Their blooms come in an array of colours ranging from white, cream, pink, yellow or red - often with a spicy scent - that vary between being densely packed with petals and more open configurations. They are not only stunning to look at, but fantastic to paint. Because they flower for such a short time, they are the perfect flower to capture in a painting which will last much longer!

Above: Joanne Short Framed Open Edition Cornish Fine Art Print. 'Wild Flowers and Wedding Lilies'

A lily is a very sculptural flower which is also lovely to paint. The painting above was a commission for a customer and is of their wedding flowers and view from their reception. Lilys are often used in wedding bouquets, in this case alongside wild roses.

The lily is a versatile flower, with varying meanings based on its type and colour. For example, the white lily is said to symbolise purity, whereas the tiger lily signals confidence or pride. In some cultures such as Japan and China, this blossom stands for luck; in Greek mythology, it represents motherhood. Meanwhile pink Stargazer Lilies are said to bring wealth and prosperity, while Peruvian Lilies signify devotion. These lovely flowers have so much to say! 

Above: Painting by Joanne Short. 'Spring Flowers Polruan'. 18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

Bursting through the frost of winter, daffodils are one of the first blooms to appear in springtime. They remind us that despite any darkness or struggle we may have endured in the previous season, a new beginning is here - making them beautiful symbols of hope and regeneration.

Above: 'View through the Magnolias, St Michael's Mount', open edition print

In Cornwall, after the daffodils and primroses, Magnolia and Camelias are a sure sign that spring is on its way.

Above: Limited Edition Print. 'Sailing Home, St Mawes' by Cornish Artist Joanne Short


Bluebells signify summer is following close behind and we are sure to be coming across hedgerows full of red campion, pink foxgloves and white cow parsley soon.

Above: Signed Limited Edition Print by Cornish Artist Joanne Short. 'Hottentots on the Cliffs, Lizard Point'

When Hottentots are open wide, and the sea thrift is covering the clifftops we know that summer is definitely here and it's time to sit, take a breath and enjoy the sun and the sea.

Above: Open-Edition Art Print by Joanne Short of Sunflowers at Holywell Bay

Flower Painting

Famous flower paintings

In art history, flower art has been used for centuries. Some of the first painters who depicted flora in paintings were in ancient Egyptian times, perhaps as early as 2,500 BC. when they used the image of the lotus flower to decorate papyrus paintings and ceramics.

Flowers were often placed in vases, and stunningly arranged compositions were employed during funerals and as ornamental decorations even as far back as this.

The Indian Butterfly-plant, 1815, Sydenham Edwards (1768-1819)
Above: The Indian Butterfly-plant, 1815, Sydenham Edwards (1768-1819)
Magnolia Campbelli, 1855, Walter Fitch Hood (1817-1892)
Above: Magnolia Campbelli, 1855, Walter Fitch Hood (1817-1892)

Before the advent of photography, it was up to artists and illustrators to capture and communicate botanical imagery. Such a task requires artistic talent, an eye for detail, and knowledge of horticulture and these drawings and paintings were made with incredible scientific accuracy and techniques.

Vincent Van Gogh is very famous for his paintings of sunflowers and irises. It is a difficult choice, but I think that maybe I like the Iris most... at least for today anyway!

Above: Vincent Van Gogh Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Irises' Still-Life. Garden Flowers

French Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted a series of artwork of water lilies in his garden at Giverny. A selection of these enormous paintings can be viewed at the Orangerie Museum in Paris. They are so big that you feel immersed in them. It is a fantastic experience and well worth a visit.

Above: Claude Monet Framed Open Edition Art Print. 'Water Lilies'. Giverny Garden 

Floral paintings were very popular in Holland during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Still-life paintings of flowers were extremely popular. Many of these paintings would depict various types of flowers all blooming at the same time, for example, roses, tulips, sunflowers and lilies all in the same vase.

Above: 'Roses, Carnation, Marigolds and other Flowers with a Sunflower and Striped Grass'. Garden Flowers. Still Life by Maria van Oosterwijck. Framed Open Edition Fine Art Print. Historic Art

New Floral Prints by Joanne Short

Here are a few new open-edition prints that we have just released at the John Dyer Gallery.

Above: 'View through Summer Flowers to Trefusis Point'.

This image shows an abundance of Fuscias in the foreground with the view across the River Fal to the riverside village of Flushing.

Above: 'Coastal Walk to Kynance Cove', 18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

This is a perfect example of the abundance of sea thrift which grows along the coast in Cornwall, clinging to the edge of the cliffs. Kynance Cove is a beautiful spot - the perfect place to stop for a cup of tea and watch the waves roll into the small cove. Such an iconic and stunning location.

Above: Cornish Wild Flowers, Helford Passage, Joanne Short, Open edition

Helford Passage is a tiny hamlet nestling on the Helford River. Although small, it is a very popular spot, and many people enjoy sailing and paddle boarding from the beach. There is also a famous pub, The Ferryboat Inn, which serves delicious food all year round. This image captures the beauty of the place in spring as the flowers start to come out in the fields overlooking the river.

In conclusion, paintings with flowers have a long and fascinating history in art. From ancient flower-filled papyrus paintings to the iconic sunflowers of Van Gogh, these beautiful works can transport us to an idyllic world of beauty. Joanne Short's paintings capture this tradition but also add her own twist by painting the stunning views of Cornwall as a backdrop in her unique style of composition. Her painting adds a delightful colour palette, creating tranquil and peaceful scenes and floral displays that can be enjoyed for decades to come. By viewing Joanne's paintings, we can take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature, no matter where we are in the world.  

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