The Flower Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe

georgia o'keefee
Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe was a modern-day fine artist of flower oil paintings born in Wisconsin in 1887. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago in 1905-1906 and at the Art Students League, New York (1907–1908). During her art career, she became one of America’s distinguished female artists. O’Keeffe revolutionized modern art with her paintings of nature. Many consider her the “Mother of American Modernism.”

O’Keeffe’s favorite subject to paint was the flower. She seemed to like the calla lily, poppy, canna, iris, petunia, and jimson weed the most when it came to flowers. O’Keeffe frequently painted flora in large-format paintings with enlarged close-up views of flower blossoms. This close-up perspective gave the viewer a sense of looking at the blossom under magnification. Georgia O’Keeffe chose this approach because she believed no one really looks at flowers. Her large-format paintings would require the viewer to take a real look at flowers.

During her lifetime, Georgia O’Keeffe painted many flower paintings. Some of her more well-known floral masterpieces include “Black Iris,” “Blue Morning Glories,” “Jimson Weed,” “Oriental Poppies,” and “Red Canna.”

Black Iris (1926)
black iris by georgia o'keeffeO’Keeffe’s famous irises were an important preoccupation for many years; she favored the black iris, which she could only find at particular New York florists for about two weeks each spring. The flower’s enlargements and abstractions have frequently been interpreted in gynecological terms. O’Keeffe, on the other hand, rejects the idea that her flowers are sexual metaphors, believing that this is something that is generated by the observer, who assigns his own connections to the works, not hers.

Blue Morning Glories (1935)
blue morning glories by georgia o'keeffeThis oil painting features a close-up of blue morning glory flowers and is one of the most popular paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. The colors are brilliantly used, giving the painting a vibrant and bright appearance. This picture is an example of O’Keeffe’s Precisionism style, which he was well-known for. The flower portrayed has been enlarged in size, and the colors utilized used are even more enchanting.

Jimson Weed (1936)
jimson weed by georgia o'keeffeThis oil painting depicts a large blossom of jimson weed, or datura, and is part of a series of paintings O’Keeffe did of this plant. She was immensely fond of jimson weed, and ignoring its toxicity; she allowed it to flourish around her patio. O’Keeffe paid tribute to the bloom in this painting, originally entitled Miracle Flower.

Oriental Poppies (1928)
oriental poppies by georgia o'keeffeThis painting depicts two giant poppy flowers. The original painting measures 30″ x 40″ and is an explosion of brilliant colors on a vast canvas, creating a mesmerizing effect. The petals were painted in dazzling reds and oranges, with a deep purple center and inner contours. There is no background to this painting that artfully draws focus onto the flowers.

Red Canna (1924)
red canna by georgia o'keeffeThis painting depicts a red canna flower. O’Keeffe composed it using abstract patterns derived from nature and defined using restrained brushwork. The vivid and bright colors that were so beautifully chosen evoke an energetic and natural vitality while uniquely complementing each other. One of the main features that make this painting fabulous is the intense red and orange hues subtly changing into pearly whites.

The flower paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe are a favorite of Teresa Bernard. If you enjoyed these floral paintings, you would want to check out more fine art paintings in this genre of art. See Flower Oil Paintings by Teresa Bernard.

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UPDATED: 05 June 2021

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The Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh

The Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh
Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch-born impressionist and post-impressionist artist. In his lifetime Van Gogh painted a lot of paintings. Among these were still lifes depicting flowers. Van Gogh loved nature, and flowers offered him the opportunity to portray nature at its best. He often used ordinary flowers that grew in the countryside near his home as subject matter for many of his flower oil paintings.

Some of this floral art is considered among his most famous masterpieces. For example, his sunflower series is perhaps the most famous of all his works. The flowers he chose to paint were put into floral arrangements standing in vases and flowers laying down on the ground. He also loved to paint flowers in their natural habitat, the countryside, and gardens. From van Gogh’s depiction of sunflowers, irises, roses, poppies, cornflowers, myositis, and chrysanthemums, he brought life and emotion to his work, putting his unique perspective on it.

Today Van Gogh is loved for his passion which is indicative of his work. His sunflower painting is one of the most loved of his flower oil paintings. Other favorite flower paintings by van Gogh are of irises.

Flower Paintings by Vincent van Gogh

Some of his most loved flower paintings of Vincent van Gogh include:

sun flower paintings by van GoghSunflowers, 1888, oil on canvas
One in a series of sunflower oil paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The series show sunflowers in all stages of life, from full bloom to withering. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly invented pigments made new colors possible.

iris paintings by van gogh Irises, 1889, oil on canvas
This is one of many paintings of irises. Irises were painted while Van Gogh was living at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. Each one of Van Gogh’s irises is unique. He carefully studied their movements and shapes to create various curved silhouettes bounded by wavy, twisting, and curling lines. The cropped composition, divided into broad areas of vivid color with monumental irises overflowing its borders, was probably influenced by the decorative patterning of Japanese woodblock prints.

van gogh almond blossom paintingAlmond Blossom, 1890, oil on canvas
This painting of delicate almond blossom against a clear blue sky is from a group of several paintings of blossoming almond trees. Van Gogh painted this to celebrate the birth of his nephew and namesake, son of his brother Theo and sister-in-law Jo. He chose the branches of an almond tree – a variety that blossoms as early as February in the south of France, where it announces the coming spring. The subject, the bold outlines, and the positioning of the tree in the picture plane are borrowed from Japanese printmaking.

still life with red poppies and daisiesStill Life: Red Poppies and Daisies, 1889, oil on canvas
Between the years 1886 and 1890, Vincent van Gogh completed seven different paintings featuring poppy flowers. Van Gogh did not have money to pay models, so still-life painting became more practical.

vase with pink roses van goghStill Life: Vase with Pink Roses, 1890, oil on canvas
Van Gogh painted this particular painting shortly before his release from the Saint-Rémy asylum. As the end of his stay in Saint-Rémy and the days ahead in Auvers-Sur-Oise neared, Van Gogh conveyed his optimism and enthusiasm by painting flowers. The painting reflects the optimism Van Gogh felt about his future, both in his choice of flowers as a subject and the colors used.

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Magnolia Blossom

magnolia blossom painting
© Copyright 2007 – Present

Size: 18″ x 18″
Support: Gallery wrap stretched canvas
Description: A close-up depiction of the southern Magnolia Grandiflora blossom. (See Artist Comments below.)

SOLD: This painting has been sold to a private art collector and is no longer available.

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“Teresa, just wanted to let you know that the painting arrived and it’s absolutely phenomenal!! Thank you again.” — K. Burke, Erie PA

Artist Comments

This painting is of the Magnolia Grandiflora, commonly known as the southern magnolia or bull bay. These large, showy flowers grow on trees native to East Texas and several other southern and southeastern states. The trees have large, glossy leaves and huge, fragrant white blossoms. Their sweet-smelling flowers are considered an emblem of feminine sweetness and beauty.

Magnolias are often a favorite subject matter for many artists. They are certainly a favorite flower of mine. I was drawn to how the light hit this Magnolia’s pedals and immediately knew I wanted to do a painting of this magnificent flower.

Some Interesting Things to Know About Magnolias

    • After planting, it can sometimes take up to 10 years for a Magnolia tree to bloom.
    • Magnolias bloom from April to June.
    • Southern Magnolia blossoms grow between 8 and 12 inches.
    • Magnolia blossoms grow at the end of the tree’s branches.
    • The fragrance of the Magnolia flower has a pleasant scent that resembles the smell of tropical fruit.
    • The dense foliage and shallow roots make it very difficult to grow grass under its shade.
    • Its root system will crack sidewalks and pavements if planted too close to them.
    • Magnolia trees require plenty of space as they can grow up to 40 ft. wide and 80 ft. tall.
    • Both Louisiana and Mississippi claim the Magnolia as their official state flower.

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