a bit of loveliness: vanessa bowman’s still life and landscape oils


Thought we’d brighten your week with some of Vanessa Bowman’s lovely still life and landscape paintings.

Vanessa lives and works in Dorset, England, and graduated from the Winchester School of Art with a First Class Honours Degree in Printed Textile Design. She comes from an artistic family — both her father and sister are also painters.


photo of Vanessa by Greg Funnell


She works entirely in oils, thinning her paints to achieve the fluidity of watercolors. She loves celebrating the beauty of everyday objects. As a keen gardener and ceramics collector, it follows that her own flowers and found treasures often appear in her still life paintings.

I grow flowers which aren’t usually found in shops – dark, almost black flowers in Tulips and Centaureas, a beautifully marked hellebore in an unusual shade of green and dark Nasturtiums, jewel like Dahlias, fiery Crocosmia, Cosmos with their frond-like leaves and many more.



She begins her days by taking a walk with her dog, gathering her thoughts as she immerses herself in her beautiful surroundings, noting seasonal changes and checking her garden to see what’s in bloom on the way to her studio. Gentle hills, hedgerows, and regional flora and fauna appear in her landscape paintings — charming depictions of idyllic country life.



Typical of her landscapes is a detailed foreground of seasonal blossoms or berries that invite the reader into an intimate portrait of the Dorset landscape.



Her still life paintings center around the colors and shapes of her chosen flowers:

I am drawn to flowers as my main subject matter as I am captivated by the variety of colour and detail they offer. I am fascinated by the elements of colour and shape each flower offers, from the simplicity of a snowdrop to the complexity of, say, a dahlia, with its jewel-like colour and complex petal formation.



She paints these flowers in a simplified, stylized manner rather than a realistic, botanical way, “which relates to the naively painted objects alongside them in the composition.”



I love how she combines rich, jewel-like accents with muted subtle colors in each carefully composed piece. She tends to limit her palette to three or four colors, a discipline from her days as a textile designer. The simplicity of layout and spacing make for a strong design.



Vanessa counts among her influences Mary Fedden, Matisse, Winifred Nicholson, Anne Redpath, Piero della Francesco, St. Ives artists, Vuillard, and Picasso.



For more, visit Vanessa Bowman’s Official Website, where you can purchase unframed prints. Her work is also widely available at a number of galleries, including White Space Contemporary Art,  Panter and Hall, and Red Rag.

Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

12 thoughts on “a bit of loveliness: vanessa bowman’s still life and landscape oils

  1. Some of us are yearning for quiet pastures, and are finding solace in simple beauty. Thank you for introducing us to Vanessa Bowman’s work–a balm in Gilead, in such a time as this.

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  2. Gorgeous work. I loved every part, Jama. The scenes create such longing for being in a quieter time. Thank you!

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  3. Ooh, I rather like those ring-necked pheasants. It was the COOLEST thing to see pheasants just sort of carousing over the hillsides in Britain — so, so pretty (and soon so dead, if it were hunting season). I like that she does seasonal still lives around a central point – a same type of church or castle. Lovely.


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