“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.