Jeffrey Smith | Plein Air Sunflowers

Plein Air Sunflower | ready for my close up

It was one of those perfect Sunday mornings.  The sky was a beautiful shade of blue, and I was at the University of Minnesota’s Display and Trial garden.

I must admit that, given the idyllic setting, I had  a hard time picking a spot to drop my gear as I circled the gardens this morning.   One drawback of painting in a garden like this:  it seems like everything is in bloom! A clump of flowers here, next a flowering bush, then a blooming tree…if you don’t choose carefully, it can be a bit overwhelming.

This morning I was drawn back to one of my favorite subjects, the sunflower.

Should I give in to the flowers all around me and paint a broad scene, just indicating the flowers as little daubs of bright, colorful paint?

Should I paint at a mid range, and show more of the total plant and its surroundings?

Should I just pack up my stuff and head over to Starbucks for an iced latte? Sunday mornings are best with a second cup of coffee…

I opted for a close-up view of just one sunflower.  I positioned the sunflower on my square panel thinking about the abstract patter of  leaves behind the blossom and the light coming from above.  And of course, I included some of the perfect-blue Sunday morning sky.

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