The Poppy Paintings!
When you are an artist, you never know where the inspiration for your next painting (or series of paintings) will come from. Of course, you will have your tried and true themes (flowers for me) but sometimes your next big thing will come from an unexpected place. While it is important to be dedicated to your studio practice, you also need to get out and look around a little. One of the ways I do this is by painting outdoors with the Loudoun Sketch Club.
It was a beautiful day in May, when I went out to paint with the club. The air was cool, with a gentle breeze, the bugs were not bugging us, and the sun was not sending us running for the shade. In other words, it was a perfect day for outdoor painting. When I arrived at this particular farm, I began walking around the property with my camera. I always start out this way, to get a sense of the place and to choose my painting spot for the day. I had spent the winter painting florals and still lifes, and my intention for the day was to focus on big vistas and beautiful mountain views. It was a lovely place with stunning views and I was happily walking around the property, taking photos when I turned a corner, and BAM! Spread out before me was an incredible patch of poppies. They were glowing in the sunlight, and gently swaying in the breeze. I was irresistibly drawn in, and sat myself down in the grass right in front of them to draw and paint the day away. Not a single landscape or big vista was painted by me that day, only poppies.
When I returned home, I kept painting that property - six of my mini paintings are from the photos I took that day. After all of those, I thought I was done with that property, but there was more to come.
Months later, in September, I planned to start a series of large landscapes inspired by my outings with the Sketch Club this season. I had a number of photos I planned to work from, and the poppy field was the first I was planning to paint. As soon as I picked up my canvas, the poppies took over, and instead of a group of landscape paintings, I ended up with six poppy paintings.
Now that I'm done with the poppies (or done with them for the time being) I'm going back to my original plan of a landscape series. Will the flowers take over these paintings too? I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!
So, if you are an artist, make sure you get out of your studio from time to time - you never know what you might find.