Van Gogh - Still Life : Twelve Sunflowers (Aug 1888)
To my mumMother to child:
"You know the other day I was looking at the two new still life paintings that I recently finished and I suddenly realized how much of myself was painted in there. And I thought of your sunflowers in the bathroom. Remember what you told me about them?
You were going through a rather stressful time and you came home to us. All troubled and shattered. And you painted these sunflowers in the bathroom (as a commission by me) and told me "Mom, it's like I'm painting our family. That's dad all the way up there, tall, strong and looking over us; you - always in the centre, bright and happy and me who is always the different ones. There are those of age like grandpa and grandma and the little ones"
Now the more I think about what you painted, and with time, the more I realize how I see things through your lens. Dad is the flower looking away, but that' him... he tends to deal with conflict and crisis like that leaving me to confront things. And I'm there in the middle trying to be strong for everyone to hold us all together. You just look crazy, though one of a kind, your sunflower is really crazy as if it has just survived a storm. Petals shattered on the ground even. And you know what, the little ones were looking at you with that strange look as if they were asking "Who the hell is she? Why is she so weird?".
Anyhow for some reasons the two Still Life I recently did. Of two vases of flowers, which were also in their late primes. I remember painting them when I was making this major decisions in my life. I wasn't torn by that decision, in fact I had wanted it. I guess my choice of subject has unconsciously told me that "it was time to leave". Interesting, isn't it?"
Mom, I was merely trying to copy Van Gogh's sunflowers but I really couldn't paint the whole "mural" of sunflowers in his style. I really did thought his sunflowers were different and quirky and I always want to be a bit different. But yes it it interesting that you had thought of that.
Van Gogh - Still Life: Three Sunflowers (Aug 1888)
Did Van Gogh's way of painting really represented his state of mind? Did his brush strokes and colours really tell you that he was a bit ... not there. Bonkers?
Van Gogh: Still Life - Two cut Sunflowers (Aug-Sept 1887)
Van Gogh paintings photo credits http://www.vangoghgallery.com