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Why I paint Sunflowers ...

While traveling to work one day in 1993 there was a commentary on CBC radio regarding a sunflower festival held yearly in Manitoba.  Immediately my imaginative creative muse began to work on the Sunflower motif and has not slowed down since!  Wanting more sunflower subject material I searched for locations where they grew.  An acquaintance at the time had Sunflowers growing wildly in her vegetable garden and invited me to take photos of them.  Armed with camera and a telescopic lens I scanned the garden from a vantage point of the children’s play house which stood 10 ft off the ground.  It was an incredible experience!  Blocking out the rest of the world by cropping and editing through the lens gave me an intimate view which brought the sunflowers alive to me as if they were communicating between each other and also with me.  I transposed my compositional elements into personifications with conversations occurring within each picture plane.  As I composed each picture frame a story began to develop.  Each sunflower displayed a specific personality with certain mannerisms.  There appeared hierarchies within what I now call “The Sun Realm”.  For a few years the flowers hibernated, went to sleep, in colour that is.  The absence of the bright sun motif in my art practice concerned me.  I began to draw them using graphite on paper playing in gradations from the greyscale.  The Sunflower series has developed since then into larger than life colour paintings as well as the original drawings.  Sun Realm is a “play” with a current cast of 14 characters portrayed in assorted “scenes”.