Sunflowers

sunflowers1There is something perennially charming about a jug of fading sunflowers. You can see why Vincent Van Gogh was so taken with them. Famously, he painted sunflowers many times including the seven ‘Sunflowers’ canvasses which were ‘nothing but sunflowers’.Sunflowers-detailOf the original seven sunflower paintings, five are now in museums around the world, one was destroyed in a fire during World War Two and one, amazingly, is still in a private collection. These paintings have been frequently reproduced and used to decorate all kinds of merchandise. I recently spotted these Vans on the Internet.Van-Gogh-Sunflowers-VansWhen I was younger I had a small print of this version below.

Van-Gogh-1888-Tyson-Philadelphia

‘Sunflowers’, Vincent Van Gogh. Arles 1888/1889. Oil on canvas. 92 Γ— 72.5 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, United States.

I copied these exuberant flowers onto a couple of metres of silk which I made into a top.

Nile-1992During the intervening 25 years, I, as well as the top have faded a wee bit, but here’s me earlier this year during the heatwave caught on camera mixing up some dyes wearing my old sunflower silk. It may have been very hot in Ipswich this summer, but nowhere the 45 degrees we had experienced in Egypt.

Me-working

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About agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.
This entry was posted in Flowers, Visual Culture as Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Sunflowers

  1. Sunflowers are my favorite flower. Although zinnias are right up there. I would love to see more sunflower work and how you would go about it today.!!!

    • agnesashe says:

      They are lovely to paint aren’t they? I think I would do it different today as I might try only using a sequence of yellow layers for the petals and build up the design rather than drawing out their shapes.

      • Well, selfishly, I’d love to see one, and even more since you have described how you’d go about it. I find it interesting since I have realized more and more I am doing the same thing, building up the design or image, rather than drawing and filling in, as I used to, whether in paint or in clay. Pen and ink, though, still the opposite. Well, I digress. I just love sunflowers and I think you’d do a superlative job.

      • agnesashe says:

        That’s nice of you to say, thank you. I might give it a go next year. At the moment I’m concentrating on using our local medieval painted screen and stained glass survivors for inspiration.

        My mother was a painter and when she created life studies and portraits she used to entirely cover her canvas with one thickish layer of oil paint, usually a single colour, and then with a cloth gradual rub off more and more to bring forth the image out of the background. Using that technique she produced some strikingly dark and moody compositions.

  2. margaret21 says:

    A very apposite post for me, as I have been very taken, here in France, by the fields of fading sunflowers. They look as statuesque and magnificent, just as the summer fields of smiling sunny faces are so cheering.

  3. Hard to believe that they’re not native to the South of France, isn’t it? Sunflowers are just another boon for Europe from ‘the Columbian exchange’.

  4. Pingback: The sunflowers’ last stand – From Pyrenees to Pennines

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