Sunday, October 4, 2015


I wonder what it is about sunflowers that makes them so endearing to all ages? Kids just love to grow them, adults love the challenge of the tallest and artists love to paint them. Botanically it is Helianthus annuus that is commonly grown. Despite being a stickler for botanical Latin, I really can't bring myself to call these wonderful flowers anything but sunflower! They originate from North America.

The most famous painting of sunflowers is probably that of Vincent Van Gogh. Some years ago the British Bedding Plant Association wanted a summer promotion and so planted a rendering of this in bedding plants on a vast scale. It was the size of several football pitches and contained thousands of plants (see second picture).

The painting

The giant flower bed

I have painted sunflowers several times and with mixed success but they are fun to paint. These are in the order I painted them. I think Van Gogh painted sunflowers in probably fourteen different variations, so I've got a few more to practice on!

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