Craving Vibrant Spring Colors? A Guide to Create your Unique Version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

An Art Tutorial by Larry Weinberg

The start of creating a new art piece is often the most daunting part. But when you break the process into manageable pieces, it can disarm feelings of overwhelm. Rumriver Art Center Director Larry Weinberg has done that for you below.

But first, let’s boost your Art History knowledge with a quick overview of Vincent Van Gogh’s story. 

Vincent Van Gogh (1853- 1890) was the son of a Dutch pastor in The Netherlands. He was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. Little appreciated during his lifetime, his fame grew in the years after his death. Today, he is widely regarded as one of history’s greatest painters and an important contributor to the foundations of modern art. Most of his best-known works were produced during his final two years in Arles France. He painted several studies of the Sunflowers as a deliberate experiment in color. Our project uses one of Van Gogh Sunflower still life to work on the elements of composition and color.

Materials: I have used acrylic paint, oil pastel, watercolor paint, watercolor pencil and chalk pastel for this project. I like to have the students be like Van Gogh and try the project several times and then look at the results.

Step #1: Draw the bottom of your flower vase. Draw a line behind the vase for the table.

Step #2: Draw in circles and ovals for your sunflowers as shown below (Van Gogh sunflower works had from 9 to 15 flowers in the vase).

Step #3: Draw in flower petals, stems and leaves with the materials of your choice. Have fun with color and don’t be afraid to experiment!

So many possibilities! Notice the lovely striking contrast between the warm (red, orange, yellow) and cool (blue and green) colors.

P.S. It’s not too late to join Rumriver Art Center’s 100 Day Project. We invite you to be inspired and encouraged in your art endeavors. Click on this link to join the free and private Facebook group:   We hope you’ll post your Sunflower results!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *