I’m starting to get an idea as to why Vincent Van Gogh did so many different sunflower paintings. Whenever people came into my studio they couldn’t wait to see the progress on the sunflower painting; this one trumped everything else I was working on. EVERYBODY loves them!

I started this painting as a gift for our granddaughter Brittany for her August 18th wedding. Her flowers for the outdoor wedding were to be sunflowers. I wanted to surprise Brittany and her soon to be husband, Steve.

Sunflowers, the beginning

As I had never painted these iconic beauties before, I was quite excited.  I had an early start, here you can see the block in, sort of a Stage 1:

sunflowers 1

As I continued working, I began building up layers upon layers of acrylic paint and medium, 5 layers in all. It takes a lot of patience and strategy to determine the lights and shadows. I designed the painting so that it would have a great deal of texture, especially the individual petals and the wooden background. This particular approach really lets the light shine through all the layers for a luminous, glowing painting! This was my first time using this method and I really enjoyed the outcome. See what you think:

sunflowers 2

Sunflowers, the gift

Now, onto the surprise gift for the happy couple. They were so sweet to dedicate some time for the unveiling, the night before the wedding…a bit of drama in the unwrapping!

sunflowers 3

I could hardly wait!

With every stroke, I prayed that Brittany and Steve would remember the words of 1st Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I always dedicate my paintings to the Lord, every time I pick up a brush or a pastel. I know that it is His mighty creative power at work in me and I believe that His love for all of us shines in every one of my works.

sunflowers 4

It was a wonderful and happy event. The sunflowers are in their new home in the kitchen, and I hope a reminder of how important it is to be “sunny and kind” to each other, day in and day out.

If you’d like to learn more about the how and why of Van Gogh’s sunflowers be sure to check out #SunflowersLive, a once in a lifetime virtual gallery uniting The National Gallery (London), the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), Neue Pinakothek (Munich), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Art, Tokyo.

What is your favorite flower?…


3 Comments

Debbie Dayton · September 1, 2017 at 12:18 pm

LOVE the sunflowers! What a treasure for Brittany and Steve!
You asked what my favorite flower is. I have always loved daisies. Their simplicity, yet their elegance in design to me speaks of Christ–the pure white petals surrounding the yellow sun(son) center. They are always cheerful, always embracing, always accepting. I cannot look at a daisy without smiling and thinking of Jesus and His love for me.
When I had my wedding bouquet designed,it was comprised mostly of daisies. Some thought I did that for economy, but when the florist asked what my favorite flower was, I said, “Daisies.” There were also rose buds, baby’s breath, but daisies dominated. I loved it! It was inexpensive, so my parents loved it, too. 😉

Debbie Dayton · September 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

I love Van Gogh’s work, but much prefer your sunflowers to his!

    Michelle · September 1, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much!!

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