Sunflowers By Van Goth

   by Kathleen Burggraf for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Sunflowers

Inspiration Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

I chose Sunflowers by artist Vincent Van Gogh as the inspiration piece for my Mystery Build. I like this particular painting because several of the flowers appear wilted and to have lost some of their petals. Where many would see a pot of dying flowers worthy of the trash,Van Gogh saw beauty. I thought it would be a fun challenge to reinvent this painting in a darker mood within a Gothic scene, hence the play on words.

I began by painting the canvas board a Midnight Blue. I added mystic clouds, and flying Ravens against the backdrop of a bright full moon. I glued the thin wood strips together for side walls, and cut a piece of the ¼ inch for a base floor. I was then able to construct a three sided shadow box.

Using cardboard from the Mystery Build packaging box, I cut the shape of a wall with a window. The blocks of wood from the kit were cut with a chop saw into various sized lengths of bricks, then stacked and glued against the cardboard template. I used a scroll saw to clean up the inside edges. I stippled dark paint randomly around the blocks to create a weathered look, and glued a painted piece of ¼ inch on the window ledge for a shelf. The Sunflowers were made from molded clay, as was the pot. I used the thin wire for stems and created the center buds by using a small set of tweezers. I then painted them a dark purple with red centers.

Using molding clay, I rolled pieces into various sized logs which formed the tree trunks and branches. Using the end of a small brush handle, I carved deep random lines into the logs giving them the appearance of bark. I painted three trees and glued them to the insides of the box. The shredded packaging paper was recycled as moss hanging on the the branches. Ravens made of white molding beads were painted black then scattered among the tree tops.

The headstones were cut from wood blocks, then aged with paint. I added a sculpted clay Raven to the top of Van Goth's stone along with his cut off ear, which incidentally was fodder for the bird. Grass clumps were made from cut portions of the rope piece, then painted green.
I used a Dremel to engrave the names in the headstones. I chose to bury “Uncle Sam” in the grave next to Van Goth. Befitting place for a grim government that shuts down, don't you think?