Vase of Sunshine - 20"x16" - oil on linen panel - 2014
I've missed seeing sunflowers this year. I saw a few in people's yards, but it seems that several of the places I normally find them didn't grow any this season. But don't give up hope, they are still available in some markets, so you can create your own vase of sunshine if you hurry. And how cheerful that would be on a day like today, when it's cold and dreary outside.
Sunflowers - 8"x8" - oil on canvas panel - 2011
The paintings in this post are some of my favorites of sunflowers I've created over the years. They are one of my favorite painting subjects. There's so much to them, they're "chunky", in that there are lots of shapes and angles, and they have mass and weight. And bright colors too. There's a lot to love about a sunflower. You can see here how my paintings have changed over the years with these images. And I'm not the only artist that as loved sunflowers, Van Gogh sunflowers, anyone?
Sunflowers with Blue Pitcher 24"x24" oil on canvas
I love to the paint the flowers in vases, where I can arrange the stems to show off the sunflowers to their best advantage. But there's something about having a whole field of them spread out in front you that is pretty amazing.
Colby Farms in Newbury, Massachusetts, has one of those fields each year. You can wallow in sunflowers there. I was interested to find on a late afternoon visit that the flowers were not facing the sun. In fact the leaves of the sunflower follow the sun by a process called heliotropism, but only the budding flowers do this. Once the flowers are mature the stem stiffens and they always point east towards the sunrise. I found the best viewing (and easiest parking) there was in the morning. Unfortunately, the 2020 season is past, but do check it out next year.
Another recommended spot for sunflower watching in New England is Coppal House Farm in Lee, New Hampshire. Their season runs from late July through early August.
If you know of a sunflower Farm in Maine that allows visitors, please let me know!
Three Sunflowers 8"x8" acrylic on treated paper
And now for something completely different, sunflowers in acrylic, above. My oil paintings are done alla prima (wet in wet). The paintings are done in a couple of hours, before the paint has a chance to dry. In acrylic painting, on the other hand, the paint dries very quickly, while you're painting. Even using the same colors, the look is very different. Which appeals to you most?