“Sunflower Festival”

“Sunflower Festival” 16″ x 20″ oil on canvas 

It’s hard not to like sunflowers.  They just seem like happy flowers with their bright yellow petals and large circular centers.  Smiling comes pretty easy when your surrounded by a field of these beauties and feel the evidence of natures magnitude.  

Over the next six weeks I am participating in a sunflower festival that’s about a half hour from my home.  Several artists were invited to attend the ongoing event and to enjoy painting out in the fields throughout the course of the festival.  I’ve been out to the farm twice now once over each of the past two weekends.  We were encouraged to arrive early as the crowds tend to get large.  I aimed to arrive a bit before 8 in the morning and was glad I did because the morning light that circulated throughout the fields and farmstead was spectacular. 

Rows, upon rows of bright yellow sunflowers became more evident as I entered further into the farm.  The varieties changed, adding to my level of excitement.  In the distance a series of white tents emerged among all the yellow. They had been placed toward the back of the field for artists to work under.  There were so many options and inspirational vistas it was a bit overwhelming at first.  As I settled in and took a walk around I decided to set up under one of the tents for a close up and more intimate view.  I was drawn to the simple architecture of the flowers and the sense of mass I felt standing there.  The adjacent field and tree line in the background became interesting parts of the scene that I wanted to include.   

Taking a colorful and simplified approach I started to sketch in what I was experiencing and then let the color flow.  The flowers held their gaze moving here and there with the subtle wind but remained consistently aimed toward the sun.  The surrounding landscape with it’s linear quality acted as a nice compliment and embrace to the bold nature of the flowers.  Its so much easier for me to articulate the felt experience of that morning through paint and to have a record of it to bring home so I don’t forget is part of the fun!

This was painted on site at Holland Ridge Farms, Cream Ridge, New Jersey

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