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.
Do you ever read those stories (usually in the National Enquirer, my Mom’s bible) about the people who see Jesus in a knot hole on a tree or Mary in a grilled cheese? I had a similar experience this morning, although you might not consider mine a religious one. For those who read my blog and know me personally, they know that my wonderful husband begins each and every day making me a beautiful cappuccino. The man has a gift for making them, foam so thick you could almost bounce a quarter off of it, and just the perfect amount of cinnamon sprinkled on the top. I look forward to them every morning, but particularly on Sunday when we sit and drink coffee and read the papers together. This morning after I finished my coffee, I put my cup on the table and continued to read my paper. When I put the paper down what should appear before my eyes but a Van Gogh in my cup. A wondrous cinnamon and foam sky swirling above a lone tree on a hill. I know it’s no Mary on a potato chip, and some of you may consider it stretching the imagination, but I was very inspired by it. I believe it is a sign from the great artist studio in the sky that I need to use this cappuccino residue as the inspiration for a painting. (Well, either that or all the paint fumes have gone to my head) Did I call the Enquirer in order to make an appearance with my cup? No, I washed my one shot at fame with the breakfast dishes, although I did take a photograph to share with the unbelieving public. And since we all know that for the moment I am staying away from oils, (which might be a good idea based on this post) I did paint a quick watercolor study of my discovery. I will document my visionary find by posting the photo I took, and my quick sketch.
I also wanted something else, searching beyond my dirty dishes I simply flipped open a magazine and decided to paint whatever my finger landed on. I figured I had a shot at something half way decent since I was flipping through Romantic Homes.
Two works tonight. My quick study, watercolor of course, and a glass pitcher of roses, also watercolor. (Not at all thrilled with the results of my roses, but in all honesty I was rushing it, and watching television at the same time) I failed to mention that our dishwasher broke a few days ago, could it be that it was fated? (I don’t think Dan would agree with that) Or is it maybe a sign that I need to look before I rinse?