With the proceeds of the miniature sale I treated myself to a workshop at NJCVA this weekend, taught by Victoria Starger. My knowledge of art history can be described as "spotty" at best, so this seemed an ideal class - "active" art history.
Rather than copy the painting straight, I decided to draw the actual still life, but looked to Monet's painting for inspiration on colors and brush strokes. I am very happy to have discovered Vermilion, which makes the soft warm pink in the background and also the orange highlights in the sunflowers. It is not a color I would naturally choose -the color always looks too overpowering - but it is quite delightful.
I think Monet's compositional choices are slightly more masterful than mine. The pointy table edge compared to the straight really draws you into the picture and makes it more dynamic. And the way the sunflowers overflow the picture space enables you to revel in their exuberant abundance.
As you may be able to tell from my picture I was more interested in the purple backdrop than the flowers. I find that is the case with more traditional still life set-ups. It is usually the way the light falls on the tablecloth, the background or the cast shadows that really excite me.