These sunflowers were a gift, and the moment I held them, I knew they would "star" in a painting.
I had been reading a section on Velasquez in Harold Speed's book on oil painting techniqueon the morning I began this painting. And this passage inspired my approach to this painting.
"it is instructive to notice the different stges of Velasquez's development. The early portrait is an interesting example of his 'prentice manner, painted before he went to Madrid. You will observe his preoccupation with lost and found edges. The little sharp accents contrasting with lost edges... ...and the infinite variety of play onthe edges he has found. He has not yet arrived at the largeness of perception, which could subordinate the accents on such edges... ... to an all-embracing focus of the whole of the whole head." pg. 164-165
It was this idea of an all-embracing focus of the whole head that got me thinking about how to paint a bunch of flowers and try to do the same thing, create an all-embracing focus on one flower and let the others slide into supporting roles with lost and found edges and less specific treatment.
This is a design concept that has a lot of possiblities, and I will try to revisit it again in other compositions, and for this piece I think it worked out well. I feel as if the forward facing flower is looking out as well as being looked at.