Yellow Socks for Vincent

Recently I walked into a woman's clothing store. Expecting to see a wall of dark brown, gray, black and maybe red clothing, I was astonished by  huge splashes of YELLOW... gorgeous, yellow in ever so many shades from citron to saffron to lemon. Yellow jackets, yellow pants, yellow scarves and yellow blouses. Right then I decided that my color for this year would be YELLOW

The last day that my husband was in the hospital, they put a pair of...not beige, not blue nor black, but brilliant YELLOW padded hospital stockings on his feet. Walking into his room,  sticking out of the rumpled sheets were two bright yellow  feet!  "Wow, I dub those when we get home."  I now pad around the house in yellow hospital stockings.

YELLOW makes my heart zing. Yellow makes me smile.  Vincent van Gogh  loved yellow. Remember his quaint and crooked yellow home in Arles, Provence; his sturdy yellow wooden bed; all those beautiful sunflower paintings hanging on the walls. In a letter to Theo, Vincent wrote, "You know....the sunflower is mine in a way."  I think that many of us have that same love and joy for the sunflower. They are so bold and beautifully riddled with a happy YELLOW personality.  Simply put: they sing to our hearts.

I don't consider myself a painter of flowers, but when I do, most often they are sunflowers. Driving to a farmer's market, scooping up an armful of fresh SUNFLOWERS  is pure happiness as good as a thin paper cone cocooned in PINK cotton candy. Sunflowers simply beckon one to paint!!!  Cotton Candy? well that is pure childish joy and stickiness.

Last fall I started a  sunflower composition primarily in red and yellow; gigantic, curling, scrolling, SUNFLOWERS in a blue and white vase. At the time of painting I took a few photos showing my painting steps. At one point I thought I was finished, but went back a month later and diddled around some more. The following photos show my progress from beginning to end...the final end. Well for now that is.

Lightly I sketch in a basic design, which gets changed several times. I use loose oil paint in a contrasting color with a filbert brush. 
The  background and foreground color are brushed in roughly with a wide stiff brush. Lots of canvas shows through.

I am not a patient, decisive, make the "correct choice first" type of painter. I sketch all over the place, scrape off and begin again. But the final lines will become important.
As my sketch becomes more certain, I get impatient to start laying in thick, brilliant paint. Easy does it, try not to get ahead of myself.
The design is getting closer to what I envision. But the sunflowers are not yet 
It took a number of more painting sessions to get it to the final stage.

This is the completed painting. I feel like it is now full of movement, good constrast in color, warm and inviting. 
Now if I can just keep my "brushes off" and not diddle on it anymore. 
This painting is available for sale on my website. 

In Vincent's world, yellow was summer's glorious hue. He wrote to his brother Theo, "Just now we are having a glorious strong heat, with no wind, just yellow, pale sulfur yellow, pale golden citron. How lovely yellow is. " (Letter 522)

Vincent if I were to meet you, I would buy you a pair of golden-rod YELLOW socks!


  1. There really is something so uplifting about the color yellow. This winter I've had a particular yearning for it. Love the sunflower paintings - great color..great fun!

  2. i would know you anywhere...already you have painted my heart and in doing so, caused me to look up up up from the house of summer, from the armfuls of sunflowers to the yellow finch who...against an endless blue sky are as brilliant as answered prayers. as purposeful as a painter, who channels citron love from her dry brushes moistened with tears of joy.


Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you take to say hello. Warmly, Sharon