I’ve received an interesting commission request recently; an unusual one for sure.
One of my clients asked to paint sunflowers for her. Nothing unusual yet. I have painted sunflowers many times and my customer was sure I can handle the job. She liked the bunch of sunflowers that I have painted before:
My client asked if I can finish already started painting of sunflowers. Her late father-in-law was a wonderful watercolor artist and died before finishing this artwork.
His name was Palmer Stinson. He entered a world of watercolors when he turned 70; and he painted for more than a decade producing gorgeous landscapes, floral paintings, and still life artworks. He also loved to paint Sunflowers. Palmer started a series of sunflower paintings and had chance to complete two large pieces.
The last one he started; but, late years and illness did not allow him to paint; and he had to stop before age 88.
I have to admit, the request to finish one artist’s work was surprising and a little bit scary. But I was also curious how I will handle it. I had to work in collaboration with the artist’s spirit.
The Sunflowers were already drawn on a paper and the artist was able to place a couple of washes for the flowers:
I had to cover the work that was already done and mask the flowers and leaves for a background wash:
I chose bright ultramarine blue for the background, and started from small sections going up:
The last section of the blue background was tougher than I thought. The section was large and I had to go carefully around each petal (even they were preserved by masking liquid) as I didn’t want to ruin the beautiful artist’s work on sunflowers:
After the background was completed, I have started painting sunflowers’ leaves and stems:
Then I placed the veins on the leaves and texture on the sunflowers’ centers.
The artwork was completed:
I did enjoy painting this artwork, working in collaboration with the artist that passed away; yet he was there in his artwork.
One evening, when I just finished painting the first few ultramarine blue sections, a thought crossed my mind:
“What if there is a message that artist wanted to place into this artwork. I wonder if he was thinking to place some kind of symbol there; maybe… a heart”
Imagine my surprise, when I came back to the work-inprogress to continue painting, I saw an obvious heart, in one of the leaf.
And not even one heart I noticed but two were there!
And I have not noticed them before:
Conscious or subconscious ? Who knows!
The message has been received