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…

collage3

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

..

Sketches on a perfect Friday.

Today was a productive Friday, artwise. Early this morning I took off to paint the poppies plein air. Took the car to Midas for serice.  While Hartman saw to the oiling and fixing, I had 2 hours on my hand, so I walked to the art store to buy Liquin.

They weren’t open yet, so I continued walking to Biocoop, where I always buy my turps – pressed from orange peel. On my way there, I passed by a farm with some geese and remembered that this WALK could serve as my “Sketchercise” contribution  for this Friday.

…attitude…

geese

I usually carry a rotring pen and moleskine in my bag, as well as my compact watercolour palette and brush.

So. Took out the molekine and pen and asked the geese to hold still. They refused and left. Now my sketches look odd.

Sulking, I continued on to the Biocoop, just to find they were not open yet. Everything closes up between noon and 14:00 and sometimes even up until 14:30. The further south you go, the later the reopening in the afternoon…maybe 15:00, but most likely 16:00.

Anyway! I turned on my heels and walked all the way back to  the art store, passing the geese again. Being a bit more sensitive in my approach, I managed to squiggle a few lines before they noticed me and swaggled off.  I shrugged my houlders and turned to a wild rose/prickly rose.

…a second try…

geese2

With my art and bio stuff heavy on my arm and my feet burning from wearing light sandals not fit for walking, I limped off to the nearest bistro for a coffee and water. After a walk up en down of roughly 4 km, I met up with Hartman, plonked in the car, stopped off at the boucherie for a medium rare steak over hot coals for dinner tonight, and kicked off the sandals to let my sorry blisters breathe.

The sun was still invitingly high in the sky. Along with Hartman on our bikes, we set off in  search of a plein air painting spot by the Loire for tomorrow morning, since the sun had promised to be present this weekend. I stole a quick sketch of a fisherman with his back to me. He smiled at me, thinking I was sketching the Loire.

…an unsuspecting fisherman…

fisherman by Loire

I found my painting spot for tomorrow, we enjoyed our peach and Coke, I gave Liandri a lift home on my bike, we lit up the fire, opened a red wine and scorched our steak. A perfect day.