Sunflower Project Update: Paintings 13 – 18

Sunflower Seed #13
Acrylic, 5 x 7
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec
Sunflower Seed #14
Acrylic, 5 x 7
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec
Sunflower Seed #15
Acrylic, 5 x 7
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec
Sunflower Seed #16
Acrylic, 5 x 7
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec
Sunflower Seed #17
Acrylic, 5 x 7
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec
Sunflower Seed #18
Acrylic, 5 x 7
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec

These 6 sunflower seed paintings, exploring a purple/yellow palette and stripes, have been brought to you by Kamla Hari McGonigal, who donated the funds for the materials for these six paintings. The first four will be going out to Carol Borschneck, Estelle Bungay, Jazmin Tyson and Katia Goussous (in that order) later this week. Sunflower Seed Paintings #17 & #18 are still looking for a home. Go here to learn about the project and sign up to receive one free, or donate to ensure we keep this project going!

The Multiple Charms of Working in Batches

Work In Batches:

I was painting alongside a friend, and she asked what she should do while waiting for the paint to dry on her current piece. I suggested she start a second piece while waiting for the first piece to dry.

This is a strategy I frequently use in the studio to get as much productivity as I can out of that precious time. I dont just start one piece, I start a group of pieces, usually 3 to 6, at once, all using the same process. While I am waiting for one piece to dry, I can work on the next one.

If it is acrylic I am working with that day (like the sunflower seed paintings), by the time I have brought the last one in the group through to the point where it is unworkable and needs to dry, the first one is ready to go again.

If I am working with oil (such as the Western Series), with its longer dry times, it is even more important to work in multiples. I hardly want to wait three days or better between sessions! With that longer dry time, though, I tend to have more time to find solutions to problems I have come up against in a given piece. I can be working on possible solutions to the previous piece subconciously while physically working on the current piece.

If you are working this way on location, like my friend, don’t forget to bring a way to transport all those wet paintings back to the studio safely!

Having Patience

It seems as though I am always waiting for things to come to fruition. To hear back from that application, or for that idea to catch on.

Right now I am working on an addition to my sunflower project that has to do with patience and time. A week ago I planted a Sunflower Seed. I decided to document the growth of this seed through its lifespan. I am interested in what happens to the Sunflower Project during the course of the life of a single planted seed.

Right now, I am waiting to see a sign that the seed is even viable. Each of the daily photos has been just black soil. I have no idea if my effort is futile. I must be patient, and wait the requisite time before attempting to plant another seed.

Here I have a little advantage, as the seed packet has guidelines for germination. The benefit of learning from the experience of others.

However, when it comes to creative projects and the entrepreneurial spirit I have found that, quite often, while patience is advised, the advisors are silent on how long one is to be patient, and when having patience has crossed over into flogging a lost cause.

Fortunately, The Sunflower Project showed it’s viability early on, with the first request for a painting coming less than a week after I announced it on social media. The first donation to support the project came in about a month after the project was initiated. Whether the project can become self-supporting remains to be seen.

Like any good gardener, I must continue to nurture it and have patience.


The Sunflower Project: Why just the seed?

Sunflower Seed #3
5″ x 7″
by Debbie.lee Miszaniec

“Hey, what about adding paintings of sunflowers to your paintings of sunflower seeds? the sunflower is such a happy looking plant.”

This question arrived at my inbox last weekend. It is a very good question, so I thought I would address it here.

The sunflower IS a happy looking plant!

Metaphorically speaking, we all want more sunflowers in our lives. The sunflower seed is a reminder that we can’t have the flower without taking the time and the risk to nurture the seed into a flower.

When we do that, the flower, which only has one season to brighten our lives, will return to us a thousand more seeds, which if nourished will bring us a thousand more flowers, and so on and so on.

Perhaps I personally cannot nurture all those thousand seeds into flowers, and on and on, but if I give you a seed, then we can share that responsibility. Together we can grow a network of people who are bringing more sunflowers into the world, and together we can all benefit from those flowers.

The seed is the potential for future happiness. While the flower may last only one season, the seed will last years through adverse conditions until someone has the ability to nurture it into life. It is hope for the future, and it is the ability to hang in there today.

So the answer to why The Sunflower Project gifts paintings of Sunflower Seeds, rather than paintings of Sunflowers:

Because the seed is an enduring symbol for what I am seeking to accomplish with the project. It is not simply about giving away paintings for free, nor the pleasure of receiving a gift. It is about sharing a responsibility. By receiving the painting, you in some sense take on a responsibility to protect and nurture that future flower; to assist in making the future a bright and beautiful place for all of us with your own thousand gifts to give the world.