Wednesday, December 9, 2009


What can I say? I'm a Leo. I love sunshine and bright colors, especially yellows and reds, and I'm crazy about sunflowers. Come to think of it, sunflowers look like miniature lions, only instead of hair their mane is ruffled petals.

I remember the first time I saw field after field of sunflowers one summer in North Dakota. I was traveling from Minnesota to Mount Rushmore with my family when an incredible wave of sunshine brightened our day.

From a distance, individual flowers trickled together to form a raging flood of liquid yellow rolling across the landscape like spilled paint. Up close, sturdy stalks rooted like sentinels guarded the perimeter. Their broad green leaves clustered for protection. No wonder the sunflower has become the most popular flower to paint in history.

I could have painted black-eyed susans. They're yellow. They resemble a lion, except without the variation, texture and color of the sunflower's delectable center. But there's a problem of perception. Black-eyed susans remind me of Mexican sombreros in miniature.

I could have painted daisies; but memories of desecrating my mother's flower patch by picking petals and reciting "he loves me, he loves me not" took all the fun out of it. And that brought me back to those sunflower fields. Hey, I'm a Leo. See me roar!

"Sunshine" is an 8x10 oil on acrylic panel. The original painting is sold, but giclees, prints and cards are available at: