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Van Gogh In The Closet

The last time I discussed Mr. Van Gogh he was appearing in my coffee cup, not tonight. To begin with it is only (hold on to your hats!) seven in the evening and I am posting. A full three hours earlier than usual. This morning I was searching through my photographs for pictures for my daughter, for our joint label design. The client wants some changes, and I was looking through old work and photos for inspiration. She had mentioned that she might like a sunflower and I knew I had a few shots. Well, actually more than a few. By the time I was done sending I think Jessica received seven emails from me, and all before ten a.m., poor girl! I don’t usually know what I want to paint or draw until much later in the day, it’s actually a very last-minute decision most of the time. But as I looked through my photos the sunflowers started to call to me. I have a painting I did a few years ago that I hate. It’s not a horrible painting, but very ordinary, something I referred to as Kirkland’s art. If you don’t know about them, they are a chain of home decor stores. They have those paintings that are reproduced by the hundreds and sold inexpensively. I felt like this one fit the bill, that is until I decided to get a closer look at  my work by cropping the top off. You know what? It really is better than I remember. The sunflowers are beautiful, what I hate is the blue vase I painted them in, and the arranged fruit and napkin at the base (which I won’t be showing you!), to quote Lili Von Shtupp (Blazing Saddles), “Oh, how ordinawy”. I don’t want to create the kind of art that is sold for cheap, now if Christie’s or Sotheby’s came calling that would be a different matter. OK, now that I have gone on and on for far too long, I decided that today I would paint a sunflower.





Cropped portion of the top of my older sunflower painting.

New train of thought…this is where Mr. Van Gogh comes in. Do you think that every artist feels the need to paint their “sunflower”, or their “waterlily”? Do we all as artists aspire to be Monet or Van Gogh? Do we all have a sunflower lurking in the corner? These are questions that keep me up at night. Not really. So here on this early Friday evening my new “Sunflower”, oil on canvas, inspired by annoying my daughter before her coffee. Love you Jessica, and I love working with you.




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