Nicolai Fechin, a respected member of the Taos community of artists, developed a very unique approach to painting that set him apart from his fellow Taos painters. As opposed seeking out artistic education on the East coast or in Europe, Fechin received his rigorous academic training at the Imperial Academy in St. Petersburg, where he excelled in draftsmanship and painting. This training "explains the solidity and 'built-up' qualities of his work. The drawing always dominates and defines form or volume and there is a strong sense of organization. Fechin wrote: 'A high degree of expertness in technique (draughtsmanship) always has had and always will have a predominant place in art. The subject, by itself, has value only according to the mode of the day: tomorrow it will be superseded by a new one. With the passing of time, the subject loses much of its meaning, but the fine execution of it retains its value.'" (M.N. Balcomb, Nicolai Fechin, San Cristobal, New Mexico, 1975, p. 88.)
These qualities are evident in Indian Girl with Sunflowers, where Fechin creates a beautiful yet simple composition of a small girl resting in front of a group of large, colorful sunflowers. The artist's strong draftsmanship is visible in the subtle and detailed beauty of the girl's face and hands. The sunflowers, costume and background are painted in an abstract riot of color, lacking fine detail, but completely full of artistic energy and vitality. Fechin applied color with rapid, deft strokes of a palette knife. His work shows a predilection towards modern art and is indicative of the artist's Taos period, considered to be the period of his finest achievements in oil and his greatest American works.