Giant Van Gogh Painting a landmark for Goodland
Repair, Repainting, Relaunch completed in July 2012
The 24-by-32-foot replica of a Vincent Van Gogh sunflower painting by Canadian artist Cameron Cross has been getting noticed. People pull off Interstate 70 to look at the giant painting and to take photos of the 80-foot easel near the intersection of Cherry Ave. and Business U.S. 24.
Feist area wide phone book (right) for northwest Kansas featured the Van Gogh painting on the cover several years ago.
The painting was erected on June 19, 2001, through a special project at a total cost of $150,000. The Sunflower USA non-profit corporation received an attraction grant from the State of Kansas to help with the project. This is one of three large Van Gogh sunflower paintings in the world. It is the only one in the United States. One is in Altoona, Canada and another in Emerald City, Australia. Cameron Cross, Canadian painter, has been in Goodland for the past couple of weeks cleaning, repairing and repainting the Van Gogh sunflowers. The painting was literally cut down on July 11, 2012 and weld back on the easel on Monday, July 23, 2012. Cross has been working on the painting in the early mornings and late evenings to avoid the hot midday temperatures to get it ready to be relaunched. About 50 people attended a breakfast on Monday to watch and celebrate the relaunch of the Van Gogh Three Sunflowers in a Vase as it was hoisted back onto the easel.
The Van Gogh has been featured in national magazines, on a state list of top 8 sites in Kansas, on a special show on the Smoky Hills Public Television and has brought many people to town to see the unique piece of giant art.
The painting is across the street from Pioneer Park, which was finished several years ago, and some landscaping has been done around the base of the painting. In 2004 The Goodland Rotary erected a floodlight in front of the painting to allow it to be lighted at night as part of their Rotary Centennial Project. The light makes the painting stand out and is visible from I-70. The Rotary volunteers have erected brick sidewalks and viewing benches plus a visitors logbook.
Check out The Big Easel on Facebook
Check out the photos and videos of the Van Gogh project on The Goodland Star-News Facebook page!
"I feel awesome," Artist Cameron Cross said as he watched a crane hoist his Three Sunflowers in a Vase onto its giant easel Monday morning, July 23, in Goodland, Kan. "[Repainting] was a challenging task, but it was very rewarding. I am so happy with the way it looks."
Cross had repaired and repainted the three-story tall painting in the hottest summer in recent memory. The canvas felt like "the hood of a car in the summer," he said. "When the air was 100 degrees, the canvas was 120 degrees." The heat Òcurtailed" his painting hours, he said. "One time I stayed until 1 p.m. When I got away from the canvas, I felt cool." He learned that the outdoor temperature was 101. This time, he chose more vibrant colors than Vincent van Gogh had used when he painted the original Three Sunflowers in a Vase. "This is bolder with fewer details," he said. "That will help with the fading over time."
The number of visitors who came surprised him. "I couldn't believe the amount of people who came to see the painting while I was working on it, people from Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Dallas, Atlanta. And these people already knew about it. They had seen it on the Internet or in a brochure they'd picked up at a visitors center. A lot of hard work and effort went into this," he said, "and I hope Goodland continues to benefit."
Today an effort is underway to add trees to the landscaping around the Van Gogh painting. The land around the painting belongs to the City of Goodland, and the city commissioners have agreed the area needs to be spruced up. The plan is to bring in up to 25 Pine, Blue Spruce and Austrian Pine trees this fall and then add more trees and shrubs next year. So far 25 to 30 pine trees have been donated, but the Shine On Sherman County Resource Development Committee and Beautification Committee are trying to raise money for more trees, to add an information kiosk and to maintain the painting. The funds are being raised through a special fund at the Sherman County Community Foundation.
More information about the painting and the painter can be found at: www.thebigeasel.com
Views of the Van Gogh painting as it was erected, and lit at night
The painting has been featured on television, and was part of a comedy series based in Kansas in 2004. The big painting is based on Van Gogh's painting of three sunflowers in a pot. It was one of a series of seven sunflower paintings done by Van Gogh while he was in Holland.
Van Gogh/Goodland pin available!
For information about wholesale purchase call Donna Price at the Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 890-3515 or 888-824-4222. The pin may be available for purchase at a suggested retail price of $3.49 per pin.
Van Gogh paintings in Altoona, Alberta, Canada and Emerald City, Australia
The painting is located at Pioneer Park
which is off Business U.S. 24 at Cherry Ave.