Penelope and Tansy Curtin. Photo: MICHAL KLUVANEK

When it comes to art, nothing beats flowers. Whether it’s a still life of a single lily or a field of golden daffodils, the immense popularity of blooms in art is testament to their aesthetic appeal.

Prompted by the success of a book about dogs in Australian art she had edited for Wakefield Press, Bendigo writer Penelope Curtin suggested a similar book, about floral art.

Her daughter Tansy, who is curatorial manager at Bendigo Art Gallery, got on board to help with the art history, and the result is a glorious bouquet.

“Floral art is still immensely popular,” Penelope said.

“We have half a dozen contemporary artists in our book and I think only one is a traditional still life. Others are in landscapes or portraits, making political and personal statements.

“As the book shows, flowers have been a constant in art movements and styles. You could almost say their changing styles of depiction help define each of the various art movements.”

Mother and daughter will launch their book, Blooms and Brushstrokes, later this month at The Capital, with art writer Robert Nelson as guest speaker. It is a work by Robert’s wife, photographic artist Polixeni Papapetrou, who died last year, which they chose as the cover of their beautiful book.

Penelope says working with Tansy was a wonderful experience.

“In an earlier life I had a bookshop in Adelaide that sold art, garden, architecture and design books and Tansy and I worked there together, when she was doing postgraduate study at the time,” she said.

“She’d probably concede that I know more about flowers than she does, but she knows more about art than I do.

“Funnily enough, many people have asked whether we’re still friends after having done a book together. In fact it is a wonderful thing to have achieved together. At the end of it we both agreed that we’d learnt so much.”

Blooms and Brushstrokes by Penelope and Tansy Curtin will be launched by Robert Nelson at The Capital, 2pm, Saturday, May 25.

Tickets $10 at the box office, 5434 6100 or online via