Tag Archives: anthem

Insights: Why A Sunflower

Why a sunflower?

In order to journey through my own anthem, I needed to breakdown what best represents me as an individual, business owner, and an artist. It happens to be a sunflower.

I like to follow a simple life plan:

  • Sort out
  • Set guidelines
  • Shimmer
  • Structure
  • Support

There is an interesting correlation with a sunflower and my simple life plan that I would love to share:

Oil Painting

A sunflower is often utilized in the Feng Shui philosophy which creates harmony between an individual and their environment. Sorting through the chaos in one’s life ultimately brings balance, an easy flow and happiness which are essential in everything I do.  

The golden ratio is an application of harmonious proportions that applies a set of guidelines in art, design, music, architecture, math, science, and much more.  The spiral formation seen in the sunflower’s head is a true natural pattern that relates to the golden ratio.


The natural pattern occurs uniformly because each new cell is formed after a turn resulting in the spiral formation. The sunflower has constructed this natural occurrence in its own way.  A seashell applies the same true natural pattern. I was raised by the ocean and now live in the country. The interrelationships of these two elements (seashell and sunflower) are symbolic in my business, in my home décor, in my art, and in all other aspects of my life.

Oil Painting, Series 1

A sunflower has a natural habit to move across the sky from east to west in the direction of the sun. The sunflower lets the light shimmer down onto its regal stature in the morning light, follows the sun as the day progresses, and at night waits for the sun to rise once again. The heliotropic movement of the sunflower interconnects with my faith journey of steadfast loyalty, everlasting faith and always seeking truth.

Oil Painting, Series 2

The vibrancy in its yellow/orange color transmits energy and warmth to its surrounding environment making way for the light of life. Standing steady and tall, I strive to follow my dreams, form strong bonds, be loyal and won’t let anyone or anything get me down.

There are 8 stages of sunflower growth which will produce over 70 varieties of sunflowers. It starts with planting the seed, germination, leaf and plant development, growing a bud, flowering, pollination, seed development, and harvesting. Following the 8 stages formulates a structure that will result in a gardener’s dream of having the tallest sunflower in their garden. Maintaining structure formulates a stable foundation and keeps a steady form of order.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love structure. It keeps chaos away and keeps me in check. Planting sunflowers equally spaced and in a line brings protection and serve as a barrier to keep what is inside safe. They are like guardians standing watch.  I often think of a sunflower as a loving mother over seeing all the other children in the garden.  As of mother of three beautiful daughters, I can especially understand the sunflower’s protection of its garden.

After its life cycle, the sunflower seeds fall to the ground; the seeds replant, supports new life, and provides nourishment once again.  It is often depicted as the cycle of existence; birth, life, death, and heredity. As a person, I can relate to the cycle of existence with the loss of those who I hold dear, but also the welcoming new relationships in my life. As I reflect, I often wonder what kind of legacy will I leave to others, not by the roles that I have played in my life, but as an individual. As a little “moment” in the cycle of life can I honestly say that I have left a mark behind. 

The other day, I was looking through my old graphic design sketch books and graphic design class notes; I stumbled on why the sunflower mimics the whole essence of who I am.

I was gravitated back to my late mentor and graphic design teacher, Dale Rosenbach. In one of his graphic design classes, I had to develop my own brand identity for my future business.

As always he gave great instructions and advice on his expectations for the assignment, he instructed the class to pay attention to the details when designing a brand identity. You must know who, what, where, when and why. From the font selection, color choice, to the final design, the brand identity must be able to answer all the questions about you; the client. The design has to convey your story and you have to love the experience. That is what makes great brand identity.

 I guess Dale could tell I was dumbfounded by the assignment. He came over to help me out. He led me through a creative thinking process to get my creativity flowing. Through a quick series of rapid questions, I was able to begin to conceive the start to a wonderful journey. I was given less than a minute to scribble down my answers. Here is a brief summary from my class notes:

Quickly write down any objects that come to mind when you think about yourself:

Family Water Ocean
Shells Sunflowers Art
Sun Sand Beach
Home Car Camera

Quickly write down words that best describe you:

Steadfast Opinionated Strong
Honest Perfectionist Thinker
Empathic Short Fused Crusader 
Trustworthy Counselor Fearful

Quickly write down who you are or what roles you play:

Women Wife Mother
Daughter Sister Aquarius
Student Homemaker Mexican American

Quickly write down things you like to do:

Painting Photography Reading
Music Movies  Dancing

Quickly write down any words that come to mind when you think about your answers so far:  

Reflection Nourishment Vibrancy
Sunshine Warmth Adoration
Color   Radiance Happy 
Steadfast Golden Strong

From this process, the sunflower serves as the foundation of my brand identity. I continue to use the same philosophy that Dale instilled in his students that the client must love the experience and whatever you design must convey their story to the best of your abilities. I utilize a similar creative thinking process when working with my clients to gather all the information needed to deliver a product/service that leaves a lasting impression and communicates the client’s message.


I could go on and on about the similarities of the sunflower and my life, but would take up too much time, just know that there are many still untold. My adoration of a sunflower is a reflection of who I am which keeps me grounded, fills me with grace, and abundant in blessings. The correlation of the sunflower and my simple life plan sustains the whole system and that is a great thing!

Unfinished Oil Painting
Oil Painting

Why a sunflower? Why not!


Cheryl Matsumoto

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”
Helen Keller

(All oil paintings, graphic designs and photography were created by Cheryl Matsumoto)