The History of The Big Easel
The Big Easel is an enormous recreation of one of Vincent van Gogh’s famous still life paintings from his 1888 Sunflower Series. This oversized canvas was painted by Canadian artist Cameron Cross for his Big Easel Project.
The project aimed to recreate seven of Gogh’s art pieces from his famous Sunflower series to be mounted in seven different global locations. The location depended on its relation to the original artist Vincent van Gogh or sunflowers.
Cross has since made three of his targeted seven paintings. He began the project in 1998 in Altona, famously known as the Sunflower Capital of Canada.
His second city of choice was Emerald, Central Queensland, in 1999. Emerald was also a suitable choice because of its sunflower production and the annual sunflower festivals held in the town. Finally, the third piece of the project was mounted in 2000 in Kansas, nicknamed the Sunflower State of the United States.
The Big Easel in Emerald is said to be the largest painting in the Southern Hemisphere. Cross did an excellent job ensuring that the results of his work would be durable for ages. The canvas measuring 7 x 10 metres was created with 24 sheets of plywood laminated together from four panels. The panels were then reinforced with fibreglass and sealed with a gel coat.
He used about 50 litres of high-performance paint to spray and hand-paint the 17,000-kilogram masterpiece. The painting was then mounted onto three steel tubings measuring 30 by 30 square centimetres, which elevated it 25 metres off the ground.
The huge painting is now a famous landmark and roadside attraction adding to the beauty of the surrounding sunflower fields of Emerald.
Away from sunflowers, Queensland is home to other roadside attractions such as: