Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Language of Flowers

The language of flowers is a concept which I am interest in introducing into my project. Having planned to theme my final project on flora and fauna for some time, the summer project was an odd coincidence. Initially I planned to create a natural project bursting with symbolism, and this is what I wish to return to.
The paper in the book prescribed for the summer project is far too lower quality to use for design work, so Ive begun my official sketchbook, made from 100% recycled cartridge paper, I will be binding the book myself once again. I am also eager to work in my own style and preferred media again.

I have taken a number of books out of the University library to read on floral symbolism within art and the Language of Flowers, although I am not a stranger to the topic. At college my specialist subject in fine art was The Pre-Raphaelites, famed for their heavy symbolism and use of nature (I also have experience with Vanitas art and Ontbijt).

The Language of Flowers rose to popularity in the Victorian era, when sending a posy was not something to be ill-considered, as every flower had a different and important meaning. The language was often used to express emotion, therefore causing the flower to become a powerful and potent symbol. Dictionaries were developed for users of the Language to ensure that they understood the meaning of a posy correctly. The meanings of the flowers often came from mythology, religion or scientific experimentation, and are surprisingly relevant and well considered.

A concept I have begun to work on is the idea of using flowers to express a trait, my first instinct was representing good and bad through floral symbolism, however this idea evolved into the idea of using the Seven Deadly Sins and Heavenly virtues as the basis for a collection of fabrics. I find the concept of people wearing a garment made of what symbolically represents 'Lust' or 'Wrath' and either revelling in this subliminal message, or being ignorant to it most enjoyable.
Although the language is largely disused now, we still cling to core symbolism from some flowers, such as purity from the white lily, love from the red rose, childhood from the daisy and vanity from the Narcissus. These surviving and widely known symbolic flowers do give a certain degree of hope that the language could be revived, if only to a few, as I do rather enjoy the passion and detail of floral symbolism.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Poppies are a subject matter I have studied in the past, all be it in a slightly abstract way. As poppies are highly symbolic they are something Ive always been interested in, and their varied appearances mean they never become boring!
I have experimented with a new method of drawing within the images below, I have used coloured biros to give my studies form and tone. I have also been collecting seed heads which vary in appearance and size from my garden.
Below are photographs of some studies in my sketchbook, and of seed heads:

Saturday, 10 September 2011


The flower made most famous by Vincent van Gogh, the Sunflower, was a compelling subject to draw. Having recently seen the painting in the flesh at the National Gallery and having an abundance of Sunflowers in the garden, it felt like an apt time to make these an addition to my summer sketchbook.
The bottom study is a Helenium, not strictly anything to do with Sunflowers, but they're planted in amongst them in our garden.

Here are a few photos of studies within my sketchbook: