Floral and Landscape > Requiem for the Dying of the Sun
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Requiem for the Dying of the Sun

(24” by 36” canvas, 25 by 37 framed)
I love the sunflower in all its stages of life. Even in the autumn as the light gets less and less and its leaves curl in around itself, I think it’s magnificent. Its seeds provide sustenance to living creatures as well as providing for future flowers for years to come. Nature provides me with metaphors for human life. I started this painting on Remembrance Day and finished it just before winter solstice. In its title I was thinking of Dylan Thomas’s poem “do not go gentle into that good night” which deals with rage against death or (the dying of the light). I don’t necessarily feel rage now – more sadness, reverence, respect and awe – I tried to give the dying sunflower a special presence. I made it standing like a person wrapped in a hooded robe with one’s head bowed down.
My dad died when I was 10 and my uncle who had no children was like a father to me. When he was in a nursing home, I would take him for drives in the country and he showed me an old stone house that he helped to build when he was19 with his uncle, an architect. There was one large sunflower growing near the house, which my daughter picked for him. He put it in a jar in his room and phoned me every day describing the minute changes in it. When he died I found the dried sunflower in a jar in his window. When I found that flower I knew I wanted to paint this picture. . I took some of the words of the poem and meshed them within the bottom leaf on the left side of the painting. Like the golden seeds of the sunflower, some of what my uncle and my father taught me continues on in me and in others. Their light continues to glow and to carry on.