November 22, 2011

Flower of the Sun

End of Summer 2010

The Sunflower is maybe the most used symbol for the Sun & also a symbol that everyone understands. For Dutch people the Sunflower represent the Sunflower fields in France and therefor their holiday full of Sun in France.

Vincent van Gogh made his Sunflower paintings while waiting for Gauguins arrival. He used them to brighten up the yellow house. Vincent was drawn towards the Sunlight and followed it to France. In many of his letters, he writes about the beautiful yellow aura the Sun creates around objects and how he tries to catch the light in his paintings. In his Sunflower paintings the Sun shines in the oils. It's bright and you almost feel the warmth coming towards you.

"Fifteen minutes of freedom" watercolour on paper, 2006

When I had a home with a garden, I always planted Sunflowers. You always want to have the biggest in your neighborhood and when the summer ends the dying Sunflowers bring life in your garden with a lot of different birds. I made one painting with Sunflowers in it called "Fifteen Minutes Of Freedom". My bird Batik was just living with me and escaped several times. The first time he escaped, he escaped for a total of 15 minutes and ended up balancing on the blinds. This image of his short freedom was so sad and I made this watercolour about it.

"Sunflower on the broken stone ground", Natural-dyed batik by Batik women of Jeruk (Lasem)

I remember sitting next to Koen in the car and seeing this big pile of dirt with on top a bright and happy Sunflower. I ask Koen "Where do Sunflowers come from originally?". We both didn't know and I forgot to look it up.

The Sunflower is a typical plant, it can grow on any kind of soil and turns his head towards the Sun. It's a strong, yet delicate plant. It's not only known for it's beauty, but also provides us with food & oil.

I always like it when subjects interests me and even more if I find synchronicity. The Sunflower, which reminds us of Vincent & the Sun, was first introduced in Europe by the Spanish sailors in 1530. Before that the Sunflower only grow in South and North-America. Around 1000 BC the Sunflower was domesticated. The Incas honored the Sunflower, for them it represented their Sun god. Big statues of Sunflowers and ornaments where found in their temples. The priests wear a crown that looked like a Sunflower.

The Sunflower is a much used subject in art, and maybe it should be a symbol for art and especially the artist. We grow and flourish under any kind of condition. Our ground maybe malnutrition, but we always turn our heads towards the future and better times. Art is not only beauty, it can also feed your mind and fill your thoughts. Let the Sunflower be our symbol for the survival of art and artists!


Wrote this blogpost in December 2010 for my virtual art residence. The work I started making, inspired by Vincent van Gogh & staying in a "virtual caravan", is almost finished & full of Sunflowers. It's interesting for me after almost a year of working on this painting to read what inspired me to make it and everything I put in it this last year. I even planted Sunflowers and had to wait for them to be big enough to finish the painting.
This week I will share two more blogposts from my residence also about this work. It is almost finished, but it's still not finished at all. Becoming curious? During PindaKAAS Light I showed a preview of this work in progress, see blogpost "PindaKAAS Light in Tilburg"

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