Thursday, June 4, 2009


"I am working with the enthusiasm of a man from Marseilles eating bouillabaisse, which shouldn't come as a surprise to you because I am busy painting huge sunflowers" - Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, letter to his brother Theo

Why Vincent Van Gogh painted sunflowers?
While Vincent Van Gogh painted over 300 works, he is perhaps best remembered, by many, for his sunflowers. So why did he paint them? Vincent himself never actually stated why he liked sunflowers in particular, references to them are made in his many letters, which help give us some idea. In a letter to his sister dated August 21,1888, he talks of his friend Gauguin coming to live with him in Arles. Then goes on to say that he 'intends to decorate the whole studio with nothing but sunflowers.' He went on to write further, to his brother Theo, on the same day, 'Now that I hope to live with Gauguin in a studio of our own, I want to make decorations for the studio. Nothing but big flowers.
In another letter to Theo dated September 9, 1888, he wrote, 'The room you will have then, or Gauguin if he comes, will have white walls with a decoration of great yellow sunflowers. In the morning, when you open the window, you see the green of the gardens and the rising sun, and the road into the town. But you'll see the great pictures of sunflowers, 12 or 14 to the bunch, crammed into this tiny boudoir with its pretty bed and everything else dainty. It will not be commonplace.
But weather Vincent painted the sunflowers because he was trying to please Gauguin, or because he really loved the sunflowers for themselves as they appealed to his joy in color, he certainly left us a legacy to enjoy.
THINKING LIKE VINCENT I don't know what the famous impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh saw in sunflowers that inspired him to paint lots of them. I know one of his favorite flowers was the sunflower. He left us all the beautiful gift of a collection of magnificent sunflower paintings to enjoy and learn from. His sunflower paintings became masterpieces. He painted the sunflower with so much beauty and vibrant color.

Although I was inspired by Vincent sunflowers, I have a different version. This is my beautiful sunflower painting.
WHY DID I LOVE SUNFLOWERS? Because of the images of Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers painting. He said...."You may know that peony is Jeannin's, the hollyhock belongs to Quost, but the SUNFLOWER is mine." Yes, it was Vincent's but the sunflower is also my flower.

I wish I had a flower garden with sunflowers. They will thrive in our garden because we have warm weather. I still remember a good friend who gave me a pocket of sunflower seeds long time ago. She said..."just scatter these seeds around your garden. They are easy to grow." Yes, they are easy to grow & take care. When we were living in one of our past houses, I scattered those seeds along the slopes. We no longer live in that house but I still remember those blooming sunflowers.
Today, I take the easier route. When I like to see fresh sunflowers, I go to our nearby Bristol Farm or Costco. I am always tempted to buy but looking at them is inspiring enough. The fresh sunflowers could be mine for an hour while shopping. But painting the sunflower and looking at my painting, makes me smile "forever."