Inspired by Floriography: “Opulence” Series by Caz Novak

The New Zealand coastline, lush parks, the gardens of Europe, and more abstract works exploring the state of flux  – every painting by New Zealand artist Caz Novak is characterised by a vibrant use of colour.

“Colour inspires me,” she writes. “My work is constantly evolving through my exploration of paint; it is an exciting medium which presents unlimited potential for development.”

Her latest series “Opulence” is an exploration of paint, colour and the botanical. These paintings are inspired by “the language of flowers”, or Floriography.

Caz Novak

“First published in Victorian times,” the artist explains, “floriography dictionaries assigned meanings to flowers and plants and were used to send secretive floral messages of love, desire and other then taboo themes. In today’s time, flowers still hold special universal meaning with certain blooms used for love (red roses) and loss (white lilies). While as individuals we have our own personal floral associations that we carry with us: the flower beds and fragrance of our grandmother’s garden, the smell of wild thyme while holidaying, the carefully chosen blooms for a wedding bouquet. In essence this series celebrates the continued narrative of flowers in society.”

A Victorian Book on Floriography titled Floral Poetry and the Language of Flowers (1877). You can read it on

In terms of style, Caz is particularly drawn to the work of the Fauvists, their confident use of highly saturated colour. “Although it was a short-lived art movement that did not sustain its momentum,” she says, “it opened the door to the use of  vivid, vibrant colour that other artists have followed in.”

Caz Novak was born in Wellington and completed a three-year course at Wellington College of Education from 1983-85, majoring in art. She then went on to pursue a teaching career, incorporating her passion for the creative. During this time, Caz regularly ran art extension classes for children and adults in a variety of media. She has been a full-time artist for 20 years and her paintings are held in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, United States, Europe, Canada, Dubai, China and the U.K. Her work has been featured in NZ House & Garden (2010 and 1999), Next (October 2000) and listed in The Concise Dictionary of NZ Artists (2000).

Links: Website (

Images used with permission.