This commissioned painting was a project that started out as a surprise for a husband who had mentioned that he loved my sunflower paintings.
Once we got into planning his surprise painting, the thoughtful wife decided it may be best to get her husband's input, since this was something they'd be hanging in their home for years to come, and she wanted to be sure it was something they'd both be happy with.
We were both very glad that she consulted with him, because it turned out that although he did love my sunflowers, he preferred a more calming background, as opposed to the vibrant, bright blue skies I normally paint.
So keeping that in mind, I sifted through my hundreds of photos, and found one of a sunflower that had been growing in our backyard last summer. Unlike most of my photos, I didn't include the sky in this composition, but rather kept the green background of the trees behind it. This seemed like the perfect combination to please them both.
I wanted to stay true to my style in this piece, so to keep the painting full of life, I really exaggerated the sparkling leaves in the background. I think this still allows the painting to feel restful, but in a fun and interesting way.
The sunflower in the painting was actually growing up next to our bird feeder, as it had planted itself from the sunflower seeds that were meant to feed the birds. So it wasn't a flower I had asked for, or planted myself. It came up all on it's own. Thus the name "Volunteer Sunflower."
We were very delighted to welcome this flower in our yard last summer. It bloomed for several glorious weeks, and when it's life was over I sadly cut it down. Hopefully it left some seeds on the ground that will volunteer and come back to our garden again. If it does, I will be sure to photograph and then capture it in another painting!
--Marie Scott, February 2012