Lady with Sunflowers Oil Painting

I might say this too often, but the oil painting featured in this post seems to represent somewhat of a milestone for me. It’s of a lady with sunflowers behind her, and is another attempt at a partial figure study rather than the usual head-and-shoulders portrait I tend to roll with. It’s noteworthy to me because right around this time, I started feeling proud of the paintings I was creating. Of course, I will always have rough attempts that don’t work out the way I wanted…but I believe I started becoming a bit more consistent in making something I feel solid about. Basically, that thought of, “hey I think I’m getting the hang of this.”

I believe this is my fourth or fifth figure study (or at least partial figure) with oil paint, and it’s still something I want to keep pushing myself to do. My comfort zone or “happy place” is still doing head and shoulders portraits, but I know I need more practice zooming out a bit and attempting things I’m less accustomed to. It might be true for all artists that it can be easy to fall into a rut, but it’s very true for me – I am a creature of habit, so sometimes I need to make that extra effort.

This painting was quite a fun one, but it did start of a bit rough. Trying to continue painting freehand without measurement, sometimes things get a little crazy. With this one, the head shape was a bit out of control, so I definitely had to do some reshaping to get things back on track. I certainly appreciated the flexibility of working alla prima on this one – it saved the day. I was able to push and mold the paint into the right shapes, and even achieved some nice textures and distinct color zones. I had never painted a sunflower, or really any flowers at all (I think), so I’m glad that aspect seemed to work!

I’m also continuing on with the “painting to music” videos on YouTube with this one. As it stands right now, I’m really running out of royalty free classical music. But at the point in time when I shared the lady with sunflowers painting, I still had plenty of pretty famous symphonies to choose from. In the near-ish future, I may have to start reusing tracks.

Blick Art Materials


  • Well done, I liked watching the video too, in fact I thought it showed the painting slightly better in terms of contrast than the photo for some reason. Pushing out beyond the comfort zone is always a challenge but necessary, good to see. Keep going! Best wishes!

    • That is an interesting observation – I have to say, I have wondered that for a while about the videos vs. photos. I feel like so many of the videos depict these various paintings in a much more accurate way in terms of color and overall presentation. Honestly, I think I’m just really bad at photography (and using my scanner).

      I appreciate the comment, Surfsensei – hope all is well!

  • Wonderful. It has feeling, personality beyond a photo. Keep on!

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