I’ve had a headache for the best part of a week and a bit now. Bill, my husband, suggested on Sunday that I do an impromptu painting by way of generating endorphins in the hope that said headache would be knocked on the head, didn’t work all that well, but I did produce another painting.

I’d spent some time last week watching a Russian artist, one Igor Sakharov who has been dubbed, the Russian Bob Ross – not sure any real comparison can be drawn between their two styles, but I get it, like Bob Ross, Mr. Sakharov can knock out a painting from start to finish in one sitting. You can watch Mr. Sakharov down below in the linked video at the bottom of this post, if you should so desire.

Anyway, I found Mr. Sakharov’s spontaneous style to be very inspirational and decided I would give it a go. I first did a preliminary sketch in conte crayon (chalk pastels – good ones) of a vase of poppies, just to see what I could create.

Conte Crayon on Heavy Cartridge Paper. May 2019. By Maria Jones-Phillips.

I didn’t think I did too bad a job. I then woke up from a dream a few days later with a fully fledged painting of sunflowers in a vase which I very much liked the look of. The thing is, when I get involved with a particular pursuit, that’s pretty much all I think about. So, I’ve been thinking, eating, and sleeping painting for some time now. And the painting ideas, especially those received via dreams are beginning to stack up – good thing I have a good memory!

Like Mr. Sakharov, I decided I would paint only using rags, fingers, and a palette knife, not dissimilar to sketching with pastels – bar the palette knife. The following is what I managed to produce with slightly more than a Bob Ross minute, but nevertheless in just two sittings – started on Sunday afternoon, finished Monday evening.

Oil on Canvas, 16 x 20 inches. May 2019, by Maria Jones-Phillips.

I’m fairly happy with it. It’s slightly different than the painting in my dream, however it is a painting at least firmly routed in this reality, which I like because I can hang this one up on my wall. It’s a very structural piece. Creating the texture with the palette knife is rather like sculpting with paint. It produces an immediate and satisfying result, also it does very interesting things with the colours which gives it an added character and quality.

Sunflowers – Oil on Canvas, detail. May 2019. By Maria Jones-Phillips.

Perhaps rather appropriately I began painting it on American Mother’s Day. I’ve always loved sunflowers and was taken by Van Gogh’s numerous version of sunflowers in a vase from a young age. I suppose this is my homage to his nibs. Bill and I sat and watched the animated film, Loving Vincent on Sunday evening after my first sitting with this painting. If you haven’t seen it, do. It’s lovely.

The video of Igor Sakharov at work is in Russian, but it makes little difference as watching him do what he does is the important bit. He’s an impressive talent. Maybe I’ll try painting some poppies next.



10 thoughts on “Sunflowers – Oil on Canvas

  1. Wow~! There’s something of the immediacy, innocence, spontaneity and Quality of a Zen work in your poppies.

    “Capture the moment~” is what it’s all about (they tell me). The most accomplished samurai swordsman warriors used to do artworks as well as swing swords, somehow the one complemented the other—and Musashi did a splendid ‘bird on a stalk’ picture:

    Ok, ‘shrike on a branch’ (Dumb dog …)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All done from memory too! And thank you most kindly, Argie. Your praise always means a lot.

      The analogy of the Samurai artist is an interesting one. Reminds me of my Dad in some ways. My dad became very proficient in the art of Iaido during his late 40s. He also happens to be an artist, in fact that was his first love. He especially loved Japanese watercolour and art in general – bit of a Japanofile. I remember my Nan had a watercolour of his hanging on her wall for years, it was an image of a Japanese fisherman spearing a fish from his little boat. It was simple and understated, though very effective.
      I suppose swinging a samurai sword is a delicate art form too, especially if you happen to be on the receiving end! Thankfully, paintbrushes cause less damage.

      I do get the zen aspect, however. There is something very satisfying about being spontaneous with one’s creativity. I always like the element of surprise involved. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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