Masterpiece Inspired

van Gogh Irises

Sarah Yakawonis, 1985-


Paper flowers

When I was a teenager I first visited New York City. One of the clearest memories I have of that trip was seeing van Gogh's paintings in person for the first time. It literally brought tears to my eye's in a way that no other work of art had ever done. I had seen van Gogh's work reproduced in but the feeling of seeing it in person, the feeling I got. . . It's never left. When I began my exploration of recreating masterpieces in paper flowers, I used those feelings, that experience to guild me to this painting. The same painting I stood in front of all those years ago, that painting that made me weep.

Bouquet of Flowers in a Glass Vase

Sarah Yakawonis, 1985 -


Paper Flowers 

Ambrosius Bosschaert was a master of Dutch still lifes, especially those with flower bouquets. That is why I selected this painting to recreate in paper flowers. I thought the combination of flowers an existing challenge. I was also fascinated by the fact that these flowers didn’t bloom at the same time in 1621, so Bosschaert must have worked from his memory, drawings from his studio and his imagination. It never existed in real flowers, but I wanted to pull it from the canvas so that it could exist in paper flowers.


Making the yellow bearded iris and a red-and-white striped tulip, roses, a blue-and-white columbine, fritillaria, grape hyacinth, cyclamen, lily of the valley, forget-me-not, globeflowers, and a sprig of rosemary was a true challenge. I hand painted or printed all of the paper I used, experimenting with several papers, pigments and techniques to achieve this amazing array of flowers! It took over two years on and off to finally bring Bosschaert’s stunning bouquet to life. 


Chinese pinyin bouquet

Sarah Yakawonis, 1985 -


Paper Flowers 

In the fall of 2016 I was asked to perticapapte in the 2017's spring PMA 360 event. I asked them to select any pice in their collection that featured flowers. They sent me some amazing images of this charger. I was totally inspired by the challenge of interpreting the Chinese pinyin style of the charger and turning them into a bouquet of flowers. The peonies, daisies and “greenery” on the charger are the flowers I chose to make, and finished it off by taking the pattern on the fence to make the vase. 

Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 10

9:00AM - 5:00PM

Paper Wildflower Workshop


As the summer bursts with wildflowers, wouldn't it be nice to enjoy them all year round? In this class, you'll learn how to make wild roses, daisies, black-eyed susans and greenery out of paper. You'll get step by step instruction and tips and tricks on how to achieve life-like flowers that will last years. 


TUITION: 55 + FEES: 20


Enroll here - 

Past Events

Friday, March 17

5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

PMA360 presents: Spring Flowers


As the final month of winter comes to a close, let’s think about Spring flowers! We’ll ask local floral designers to talk about their favorite works of art; host an aromatic bitters tasting with Coastal Root Cocktail Bitters; and teach you how to create paper flowers inspired by a work of art with artist Sarah Yakawonis.


PMA360 is a monthly series as part of select Free Fridays. It introduces innovative ways to engage with the museum, through special guests, exclusive gallery experiences, and more! It's a new way to PMA.



Inspired by a Chinese pinyin (blue flowers) charger in the Portland Museum of Arts collection, I'll be showing this arrangement and will be teaching how to make these daisies. 

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