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Sunflowers and Serendipity: unveiling Van Gogh's influence

Hello friend,

I recently looked at my old album of paintings I created during my early years. It dawned on me how frequently I painted flowers, especially sunflowers, during my art school days (check out the gallery below). I was the only young student studying art in an adult school in my hometown of Guarulhos, SP. I had to learn various techniques, such as drawing, perspective, ink, ceramics, watercolors, and oil on canvas. It took me around four to five years of hard work to be able to paint on canvas, which was a dream come true for me.

Then, last night, I was cleaning the archives files on my computer and saw this art essay I had to write to apply for school here in the US, way back in 2014 (which never happened, but this is a whole other story for later).

I want to share with you, because it made me realize the profound impact one artist's vision can have on the entire artistic community and beyond.

Van Gogh's approach resonates deeply with me; it subconsciously mirrors exactly what I seek to express in my paintings today.

I had to write about my favorite painting and why in my art essay. I remember in 2014, I had just moved to Hermosa Beach, and Drica Lobo Art didn't exist yet.

DRICA LOBO ART ESSAY 2014 (please reserve a few minutes to read because is so worth it)

There are hundreds of remarkable artworks worldwide, but one creation that stands out is Vincent Van Gogh's "Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers." 

Van Gogh is one of the first artists to represent imperfection in his art. Francis Bacon, an artist who did a series of reproductions of Van Gogh's works, said that real painters like him don't paint things as they are; they paint them "as they feel them to be."

Van Gogh wasn't afraid to veer away from pristine paintings. His Sunflowers series depicts a flower's life cycle—from when it blooms to when it withers—rendered in bold colors. What he created was a representation of what the flowers were supposed to look like, not a duplication. He gave these sunflowers a different vibrance that you wouldn't see if all you had was a carbon copy of the flowers. 

The "Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers" was created in Arles, France 1888. Van Gogh created seven versions of sunflowers cut in a vase. Van Gogh leased a Yellow House where he planned to showcase his Sunflower series. For an artist who only sold one painting in his lifetime, he probably never expected that his work would cost millions after his death. 

Sadly, these paintings were the last expression of his unbelievable talent before his mental health went downhill. If there's one word to describe Van Gogh's paintings, it's evocative. They don't come close to what the real thing looks like, but they brim with life and emotion, ultimately moving the person viewing them. 

Suppose the Twelve Sunflowers painting or the entire Sunflower series was never made. In that case, we'll miss out on one of the most brilliant paintings ever created. Its perfect imperfections make it an iconic painting. The bright shades of chrome yellow and blue-green blend together to create a stained-glass window effect, as intended by Van Gogh.

Not only that but through these paintings, Van Gogh gave artists the liberty to go beyond what they see physically. This rendition of sunflowers opened doors for painters like him who see more than what meets the eye. Art Critic Sue Hubbard once said that Van Gogh was the trailblazer of modern art. He pioneered out-of-the-box interpretations that involved more depth and meaning. 

Artists after Van Gogh would only have the confidence to do abstract art with his boldness to move away from the norm. When they saw that they could create something powerful and beautiful by not limiting themselves to what they saw, his successors were encouraged to do more than just copy objects. 

His Sunflower series juxtaposed realism and idealism. It's realistic because it represents the actual sunflowers, and it's idealistic because of the extra richness in color and beauty that transcends the real thing. 

He belonged to the Post-Impressionist movement, and his style was adopted by many Abstract Impressionists even after his death. If he hadn't created these paintings, many artists would not have realized their own artistic vision. They would not have taken risks like Van Gogh did, and they would not have been able to express their creativity recklessly as he did. 

Van Gogh once said that he uses colors to capture moods rather than in their realistic form. He was the only one doing it during his time. That boldness rippled throughout art history, touching different artists who succeeded him.

He said, "Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of color to express myself more forcefully."

This aesthetic is what we see in "Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers." There's more to what the painting depicts. It's not simply an artwork you hang on the wall; it's a conversation piece that stirs your mind and heart. This is probably Van Gogh's greatest contribution to the world—the ability to create and transcend art to convey not merely brushstrokes but emotions. He makes you feel, not just see. These things would have been lost to us had Van Gogh not created this masterpiece. We can only be grateful that he did and that this creation has influenced many artists to express themselves freely and be appreciated. 

Thanks for reading my essay! Cheers to you!

Now it's time! Drum-bells, please! SEE MY OLD CREATIONS BELOW. During art class, I paint from photo references of other artists' work. Here are a few of my finished pieces. If you take a closer look at my signature, you'll notice that I used to sign as A. Daló or Adrianna Daló (birth name). Later on, I started using Drica Lobo, which is actually my nickname.

Please share your thoughts with me! Do you think I should paint more flowers? Let's start the conversation in the comments!

Color Your Life!

Love, Drica


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