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Painting poppies

When the poppie came into bloom a few weeks ago, I was highly excited. Been counting 365 and a quarter days for them to reappear.

Las year they were spectacular! I spent days with my camera next to these fields, planning to take out the brush and sketchbook next,  but before I knew it, there were only a few late bloomers still standing…

Too late for a painting. Too late for a sketch. Next year is after all, another day.

…poppyfields of Vernou, 2008…


Next year showed up.

This time I had my act together. My easel was packed. My tubes were sqeezed. The oil was ready to swirl. Until I came to the poppy fields of last year. Not a poppy in sight! Instead, the wheat fields were covering every square inch as far as the eye could see. I drove around a whole morning in search of poppies to paint, heavily disappointed in myself for not taking an opportunity when it blatantly flashed itself to me!

I finally came upon a few poppies here and there, but nothing close to the spectacular drama I had seen last year. It was nonetheless an opportunity and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice!

…poppie field in Vernou, 2009…

Among the poppies

I parked myself in the midst of the wheat field, in bright sun and delighted in capturing the even brighter burst of reds at the end of the field. My painting doesn’t really meet my expectations and I can’t even blame the poppies of 2009! Hopefully there is another year of poppies waiting for me; or even better, many years!

Life gave me a last reminder about opportunities and all those life – talking stuff, when I packed up and wanted to leave. I backed up into a ditch on the narrow farm road and it took me some thirty minutes and some broken and bent taillights connections… and wheely skidding… and exciting vocabulary to get the point.

…la matinée rouge…

oil on canvas, 41x33cm (16″x13″)

matinée rouge

…detail: click on image to enlarge

detail - matinée rouge-1


24 responses

  1. Great to see the poppy painting that you did accomplish this year – aren’t they among the most beautiful of flowers with their brilliant orange petals and purple interior?

    June 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm

  2. Both the photos and your paintings are a joy!

    June 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

  3. Pat

    Thank you. Because you persevered, I get to see your wonderful painting and read your description. I feel like I was with you during experience.

    June 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm

  4. Lovely painting, as always. Great to hear you discuss the year-to-year process – I know exactly what you mean!

    June 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  5. hfm

    Perfect! I love poppies and in France they are really caught by our eyes and soul like lavanda.

    June 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

  6. sue

    Ronell, you have the best stories! And those brilliant, beautiful poppies! Wow! Stunning! I love your paintings–you’re way too hard on yourself! Gorgeous!

    June 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

  7. I was immediately reminded of a little film I saw in school. Here is the youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQYFhUhOuw0 I pictured you as the main character of the film. Hope you like it!

    What a beautiful painting. The reds, oh, the reds! I’m thinking of reading the book The Perfect Red which is the history of the color. It is my favorite color because of the vibrancy you have captured here.

    Shirley says poppies are red with purple insides? Maybe I’ve only seen California poppies which are bright orange yellow! Just as lovely I think! I missed the poppies this year too. Better plans next year.

    Bisous, marta

    June 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm

  8. Oh, the perils of poppies…or is it parking? Anyway, glad it all worked out and you were able to paint them and share this vibrant painting with us. I think seeing a field of red poppies would make me weep. They are so beautiful! Like Marta, I am only familiar with the orange California poppies, also lovely to look at.

    June 14, 2009 at 6:44 pm

  9. I am so glad you persevered and found a field of poppies to paint. Your painting is very vibrant and gorgeous!!!

    June 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  10. annie

    That red and that texture…And I agree with Sue, you just tell the BEST stories…and mARTa’s film– yes, I can see you as the main character. Thank, mARTa, for the link to that touching film.

    June 14, 2009 at 9:09 pm

  11. Gorgeous painting! Thanks for asking about me! Unfortunately work has become WORK! I am working 6 or 7 days a week and 10 to 12 hours a day. I just can’t find much energy or motivation for much besides surviving! Art still has my number and nags me almost daily to return, though. Thanks again for caring about me!!

    June 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm

  12. I think your painting is breathtakingly beautiful, Ronell. I’ve never managed to do the poppies justice but you have! Yours has a gorgeous impressionistic flair. Wonderful photographs as well.

    It’s so lovely to have you painting and posting regularly again 🙂

    June 14, 2009 at 10:34 pm

  13. lin


    June 15, 2009 at 1:10 am

  14. dinahmow

    Ahh! Poppies…whether Iceland, Shirley, Oriental, Californian or Welsh, I love them all.
    And, looking at this one, I thought of Manet’s poppies and what a (pretentious!) old fellow told an art student about her poppies. “Manet’s painting works” (he declaimed) ” because the poppies advance towards us. Yours “(rather scathingly!) ” are timid little things that run away! Paint it again, with the flowers to the fore!”

    I bet he never had such adventures in a poppy field!;-)

    June 15, 2009 at 1:39 am

  15. Ronell, this painting is beautiful! And so are your photographs from last year. Last year you painted with your camera – just as valid, just as beautiful.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:40 am

  16. I agree, the photos are spectacular, as is your painting – I wonder if that red would be as striking without the green wheat foreground..? Such a wonderful, colourful story as well – we so enjoy your life!

    June 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

  17. Thanks for all the comments and links and interesting quotes! I love it when you share your own thoughts and stories!

    June 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm

  18. Your painting is beautiful, though you might have a case for painting from photographs as opposed to from real life.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  19. oh these are fabulous! I haven’t seen a field with so many poppies in years – pure Monet!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:14 am

  20. You are a great story teller and a great painter… and a great photographer I must add!!
    These fields of poppies seem too gorgeously red to believe!! and your painting is… awhh… so very beautiful!! I love the light you’ve created there. I don’t know why it makes me think of Hopper, may be light is the connection; elle a un je-ne-sais-quoi de triste ou de regret… peut etre le regret de ne pas les avoir peint la première fois?

    June 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  21. Gorgeous!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

  22. Bill Sharp

    Great little Plein Aire. And I love anything with power lines in it.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:17 am

  23. oooo-la-la love these poppies!!!!

    June 19, 2009 at 2:14 am

  24. Pingback: Sunflowers in France – to sketch and paint « Africantapestry

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