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Sketch First; Paint Later

Sketch First; Paint Later


“Last Sunflower, Red Barn,” oil on canvas, ©Sukie Curtis, 2014

Well, the barn was a small putty-colored garden shed, not a large, red barn!  And who knows if that was truly the last sunflower blooming in the Gardens at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth when I was there one afternoon last September.

But that’s the way I was inspired to go when I let my two quick, gestural plein air sketches suggest what to do in paint. And the painting shown above is the result.

Here’s a glimpse of the sketches, done sitting on the ground looking up at the sunflower against the garden shed. I drew with a thick graphite pencil and oil pastels.

Sunflower Sketch 2

Sunflower Sketch 2, 9.9.14 at Tidewater Farm

Sunflower Sketch 3

Sunflower Sketch 3, 9.9.14, at Tidewater Farm











Unlike the painting featured in my last blog post, this one happened rather quickly. I don’t remember much agony or self-doubt along the way, although it’s possible that I’m just not remembering that part!

This painting is one of two that will be on view and for sale next week at the Yarmouth Art Festival, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, Maine, October 21 to 24. Come if you can!



  1. Love the movement and textures in the painting.

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