French Blog #22 – Painting the Tournesol (Sunflowers)

The sunflowers of France can be beautiful with spectacular fields, but there is a way to design and paint them.

Roads can often be convenient design elements.

The initial drawing-use diagonals to offset any strong horizontals. I divide up the panel into a pleasing design.  I refer to composition as “asymmetry with balance”.  The composition is not only designed with line, but also with value.

A start…..a “lay in” of color.

This painting is not finished yet.

Sunflower fields can be challenging to design even though they are quite beautiful.


Beside using roads as a design element, one can use trees, tree shadows, the persective of rows and diagonals of overlapping fields. The secret to painting sunflowers is not to paint them individually, but to paint the “impression” of a whole field of them.

I came across a field that I really liked and I was able to stand in the shade.  This field was magnificent and immense.

I painted two different views.  These are just starts.


The sunflowers are fun to paint, but they go quickly.  Even as I was painting this field everyday, the heads were dropping down and I was seeing more green in the field.