Some may believe that the art of flower arranging is a relatively new phenomenon that forms an integral part of contemporary interior design both in domestic and corporate settings. This art form itself, however, has been with us for centuries, made evident by the still-life paintings of some of the world’s greatest artists.
Few of us could fail to be inspired by the captivating works of the 17th and 18th century Dutch Masters, such as Bosschaert the Elder and van Huysum, depicting both formal and gloriously informal floral arrangements (placed together irrespective of their flowering season) of tulips, roses, carnations, fritillaries, marigolds, hyacinths, lily-of-the-valley and endless others.
From the 19th century onwards and up to the present day, other great artists such as Cezanne, Matisse, van Gogh and Hockney, have continued this painting tradition reflecting different art movements as well as their own individual styles.
For those of us who love flowers and value the importance of their presence in our everyday lives, we can derive infinite inspiration from these great works. Note the ways in which the colour, form and texture of the blooms and foliage were used to dramatic effect in the early Dutch paintings, in contrast to the quieter, diffused colours of Manet’s ephemeral roses, the vibrancy of van Gogh’s blue irises, or the extraordinary dynamic Symbolism of Redon’s White Vase with Flowers.
Odilon Redon once said:
‘’I do not know of anything that has given me more pleasure than such an appreciation of simple flowers in their vase breathing air.’’
Note also the different types of vases and vessels depicted amongst these works, so that when creating your own arrangements, you can ensure that the vase complements the overall effect that you are trying to achieve. A low-footed vessel of small proportions will hardly suit the tall, upright stems of alliums, delphiniums or agapanthus, for instance.
As for the sorts of flowers you should use, try and think outside the box. Your arrangements need not contain the most expensive or exotic blooms you can find. One of the most famous flower arrangers, Constance Spry, started in the 1950s a trend that continues today – the use of wildflowers, seedheads, and even on occasion, cabbages foraged from her own garden.
Be bold, let your creative juices flow, and you may surprise yourself by your amazing results.
TIPS FROM OUR PROFESSIONAL FLORAL DESIGNERS