Summer Paintings - Depictions of summer in paintings.

This month we celebrate summer. We look at how original art can capture all that summer represents, how it can evoke the laziness of the heat, transporting you to foreign lands, childish innocence, and carefree pleasures.

First, we look at how three paintings have famously captured the essence of summer using three very different styles.

David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash (1967)

This painting perfectly evokes high summer, of a day so hot that the only escape is to plunge into a cool pool. Hockney’s swimmer vanishes into the refreshing depths, leaving only scattered water in his wake.


“It took me two weeks,” Hockney wrote, “to paint this event that lasts two seconds.”


A Bigger Splash (1967) David Hockney


Hockney was one of the first artists to make extensive use of acrylic paint. He felt that, as a fast-drying substance, it portrayed the hot, dry landscapes of California.


Unfortunately, we will never know who the unsung jumper was as the famous painting is based on a photograph of a swimming pool Hockney had seen in a pool manual. He was intrigued by the idea that a photograph could capture the event of a split second, and sought to recreate this in painting.


Tahitian Landscape by Paul Gauguin (1893)


Gauguin uses graceful contours and strong colours to create this superbly atmospheric painting perfectly capturing the serenity inspired by the lush, tropical Tahiti landscape. Gauguin said that he had been “eager to suggest a luxurious and untamed nature, a topical sun that sets aglow everything around it.”


Tahitian Landscape (1893) by Paul Gauguin


The legend goes that the stockbroker turned artist abandoned his family and took the banana boat to Tahiti. He went in search of free food and sex and to escape European civilization, which he felt was artificial and spiritually bankrupt.  


Gauguin painted scenes of sultry girls, strange fruit and celebrated the landscape around him with an unrivalled intensity of colour that has inspired painters ever since.


The Poppy Field, near Argenteuil by Claude Monet (1873)


Perhaps the most iconic summer painting of them all. The heat almost drips off the canvas in this red-led riot of colour. Almost bordering on abstraction, Monet has beautifully depicted this summer's day in all its glory with the vibrant poppies complementing the wispy clouds in a clear blue sky.


This painting perfectly evokes the exhilaration and the laziness of summer. It transports you there, you can almost feel the soporific weight of all that warmth.


The Poppy Field, near Argenteuil (1873) by Claude Monet


Art Gallery artists capturing the essence of summer in original art.


Summer Fields by Graham Evans


Evans, a Bournemouth based artist perfectly captures the nostalgia of summer with his wild flowers blooming on a country riverbank. You can almost hear the bees buzzing as you imagine yourself lying on a picnic blanket under the hypnotic weight of that summer sky.


This painting is taken from Evan’s collection of floral scenes inspired by his river walks.


Summer fields by Graham Evans
Summer fields by Graham Evans


The Shimmering Summer (framed original) by Sarah Gill


This beautiful painting transports us across the shimmering fields of wheat stubble. The coppice leads the eye into the faraway distance under the August sky.  Gill says that she draws inspiration from her travels in Tuscany, the Italian Lakes, Burgundy and her home in the Peak District.

The Shimmering Summer ( framed original ) by Sarah Gill
The Shimmering Summer ( framed original ) by Sarah Gill


Summer time. Happy children. By Olga Koval


Koval cleverly takes us back to the summer of our childhoods perfectly recreating the summer afternoon light. Will the children overcome their trepidation and dip a toe into the waves?


Summer time. Happy holiday. Children on the seaside.  by Olga  Koval
Summer time. Happy holiday. Children on the seaside. by Olga Koval


Skinny dipping by Lizzie Cornelius


Summer art lends itself to cheeky humor which Hayling Island based Cornelius captures perfectly.


She says “I paint from my beach side studio on Hayling Island, where the initial inspiration develops from digital photographic images. From here I deconstruct the image and reconstruct with a pencil sketch. […] The colours are inspired from zooming in on the pixels of the photograph. I keep my images clean and crisp and uncluttered as we live in a very fast pace world and I love the soothing contrast and calmness that they bring.”


Skinny Dipping by Lizzie Cornelius
Skinny Dipping by Lizzie Cornelius


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Image credits

A Bigger Splash (1967) David Hockney


Tahitian Landscape (1893) by Paul Gauguin


The Poppy Field, near Argenteuil (1873) by Claude Monet