A Passion for Peonies

w: Margaret

A Passion for Peonies

Although all my grandparents were avid gardeners I don’t remember anyone ever growing peonies when I was a kid in Australia. They do seem to be more of a cold climate flower. So it wasn’t until I moved to Canada that I was introduced to these gorgeous blooms for the first time. It was love at first sight.


peony passion original art by Margaret Goodwin


The flowers are just so extravagant and the colours delicious.

Peonies, in different cultures, have different meanings. In some places giving them is considered unlucky. Generally though, they’re associated with honour, success, wealth, romance and beauty. The flip side is that some also associate them with shame. This probably evolved from Greek myth which said that nymphs used peonies to hide their nakedness.

The country most associated with the peony is China – the flower is, in fact, its national emblem. Both the Chinese and Japanese prize red peonies as symbolic of honour and prosperity.

Me? I’ll stick with romance and beauty.

Peonies are also the 12th wedding anniversary flower.

And since they also symbolize a long and happy marriage, its no wonder they are frequently used in bouquets.

I don’t think there’s anything lovelier than a vase filled with the drooping heads of soft, pink peonies.

Creation of this artwork

This artwork began with a photo I took several years ago while on a secret garden tour in Victoria. It was the middle of a June day and the sun was high in the sky creating pretty harsh lighting conditions. Not the best for flower photography!




Not the most attractive image. But that’s okay because what really caught my eye was the grouping of flowers across the frame.

I extracted the flowers and ran them through a filter in Topaz Impression to give them a painterly look. Generally when I use this software I layer the result over the original image and lower the opacity in order to keep the feeling of a photograph.

Then I created the background, added paint effects and some overlays and voila.

I find it always pays to keep even the photos that didn’t “work” because you never know when you might find a use for them. Even very ordinary images can be turned into lovely photo art pieces.

Shop the Story

Bring the romantic beauty of peonies into your home!

Prints of Peony Passion are available from Fine Art America….just click on the image below. In addition to prints, you’ll also find this artwork on a range of home decor and lifestyle items.


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