The Appeal of Sunflowers

Sunflower Bouquet

Sunflower Bouquet

This bouquet of Sunflowers and small blue companions was a gift from another artist (thanks, again, Flo) for whom I was doing a small favor. I started the painting the same day that I received them, when the flowers were fresh, but it took me a few weeks to finish i; the flowers had all died in the meantime. So this painting is from both life and from memory. My tea mug just happened to be there when I started, and it filled a compositional need, so it got to stay.  The blue of the companion flowers is picked up in the cat’s eyes  on the mug.  No, I sure don’t know the name of the companion blue flowers.

What is it about sunflowers that makes an artist want to paint them?   Their sunny color, their sunny symbolism, their over-the-top size are all hard to resist, but I was also drawn to the complexity and variety of the brownish, greenish centers of the flowers.  Until I had a bunch of them in my hands and could examine them close up,  I never realized that the centers were variable in color and have quite a lot going on, design-wise.

My sunflowers were mostly dark brown in the center, but on the periphery of the center, little green and yellow shoots were pushing through the brown matrix.  Gosh, I really need to find out what all that stuff is, and what it is called.  Excuse me, I’m off to Wikipedia to learn.

OK, I’m back, more confused than ever.  But I gleaned that the yellow petals are called the ray florets and are not really the flower of the thing.  The flowers are the tiny rosettes that grow from the brown matrix.  Wikipedia kindly provided this picture isolating the flowers from the (dead) ray florets.


An even more intriguing statement is this one: “Sunflowers are especially well known for their symmetry based on Fibonacci numbers and the Golden angle.”  If ever there was a secret formula for attracting artists, that has to be it.  Thank god I finished the painting before I was made aware of this aspect, or I would have got hung up on the idea of depicting the Fibonacci sequence and Golden angle, which are present in the way the rosettes swirl from the center outward, in a closely knit spiral.  Here it is, simplified:

spiralsBlack I don’t really understand how those two math concepts produce the sunflower design, and I’m so glad I don’t have to understand it as it was beginning to make my head hurt.    Here’s a website on the subject that you might enjoy.  Or not.

My Sunflower Bouquet is for sale.  It is painted on a 20×16 stretched canvas and I am asking $925 for it, unframed.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

At the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett;  at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.   For the month of October I have two paintings in the Womens Club of Concord, part of a three-part 20th anniversary exhibit by the Womens Caucus for Art.  However, the hours during which the WCC is accessible to the public are unpredictable.  You can visit another of the 20th Anniversary exhibits at the Kimball Jenkins carriage house through the month of November.

Opening this week, with a reception Friday night, 5-7, is the 2015 Regional Juried Show of the Center for the Arts in the New London Inn.  Also on Friday night, 7-9, is the reception for the Womens Caucus for Art annual 6×6 exhibit at Apotheca, in Goffstown, NH.  Opening this week as part of NH Open Doors is another popup from East Colony Fine Art:  at Salzburg Square in Amherst, NH, Thursdays through Sundays, 11-5, from now until the day before Christmas.  This Sunday, as part of the NH Open Doors, I will be painting a demo at the store.

As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases and the like at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me by email to

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Marco Island Paintings Part One: M.C. Reining

I returned from my two-week painting vacation on Marco Island with 14 paintings, and the next two days was back to painting and drawing nudes.  Too much for one blogpost anyway, so I am deferring for a few days the pleasure of showing my art in favor of first displaying the artworks created by my Marco Island hostess, Mary Crawford Reining.

On most occasions, we were looking in the roughly  same direction to paint if not the same scene, neighboring scenes.  You will be able to identify a few exceptions (most prominently the boat featured in my previous posting).   You might find it interesting to compare our different treatments of the same subjects.  But it would be like comparing apples to oranges, which I understand is not a good thing to do.  Mary is a watercolorist (she claims to switch from medium to medium, but I have only seen her painting with watercolors in the five  years that I have been plein air painting with her) and her style is looser than mine.  I have noticed that the more experienced an artist is, the more successfully they attain looseness.  Mary is very experienced, having studied art and having taught art, and, most importantly, having never in all those years ceased to think and behave like an artist.

You will enjoy her paintings:

Within a shelter created by natural canopy

Within a shelter created by natural canopy.  Destined to be a study for a much larger version of the same scene.

Bank of newspaper dispensers in Goodland, in front of "Island Woman"

Bank of newspaper dispensers in Goodland, in front of “Island Woman”.  My version contains only three of the kiosks.

Blue Dolphin sculpture in front of Mangoes

Blue Dolphin sculpture in front of Mangoes.  Celebrating kitsch.

Musicians and crowds at the Farmers Market

Musicians and crowds at the Farmers Market.  That very blue man in the center is the main actor in my version.

Octagonal house in Goodland

Octagonal lemon-green house in Goodland.  Why not?

View found in leeward side of the Jolley Bridge

View found in leeward side of the Jolley Bridge, Day 1 of my visit, very windy!

View found from under the other side of the Jolley Bridge

Another watery residence.  Outboard motor included.

Home in Goodland, from gazebo at MarGood park

Home in Goodland, from gazebo at MarGood park.  (Isn’t that orange reflection just brilliant?)

Yellow Sailboat with Black Sail

Yellow Sailboat with Black Sail.  I actually didn’t get to this scene, but we had it on our agenda.

Study of palm trees in stiff wind

Study of palm trees in stiff wind, at Residents’ Beach.

Plein air still life, French style picnic

Plein air still life, French style picnic  (Bread  looks awfully good–you’d never know it was hard as a rock)

I wish I could send you to a wider online presence of Mary’s, but she keeps a low profile, electronically speaking.  In fact, NO profile at all online.  I know. . . shocking.  But if you were of a mind to purchase any of her artworks, I would be glad to act as intermediary.