Memories of poppy fields from my childhood walks in the Yorkshire Countryside with my family inspire me to paint poppies. They represent the coming of summer and the carefree times of childhood enjoying the summer sun and the countryside with my family.
It is the most beautiful of flowers, it is simple yet at the same time exquisite in its simplicity. It appears delicate and fragile, with floaty petals and fine twisted stems, but it is robust and enduring. Its can stand alone without looking lost or in a carpet of poppies, as each flower still makes its own statement in its uniform manor. It is this individuality which I like, as well as the wildness of the flower.
The History of the Poppies
Papaver, the Latin name for poppies belong to the Papaveraceae family of plants. There are annual, biennial and perennial forms of poppy.
The red field poppy ‘Papaver rhoeas’ is that which we know as the remembrance Poppy in the UK and some other Commonwealth countries. The Poppy self seeds freely and its seeds can lie dormant for long periods until the soil is disturbed, when the seeds can be triggered into germination. This happened in the fields of France and Belgium during the First World War, when the impact of trench warfare disturbed the soil and as a result fields of beautiful red poppies bloomed amongst the destruction.
Artist that inspire me
It is mainly nature that inspires me - though obviously I find great beauty and am in awe of many pieces of art. Pieces of art inspired by romanticism or mythology, I love – especially those by the Pre-Raphaelite, particularly John Everett Millais and John William Waterhouse. These pictures as a whole make a great impact on me, but also their attention to details and the nature in their painting are exquisite.
The Process of Painting poppies
The first thing I do is come up with a composition for the poppies - how I want them to sit in relation to the landscape around or just as simple poppies on a canvas. The composition comes from within and just flows out of me onto the canvas and I paint the stems. Then, I will start building up texture in the grasses using thick layers of paint, then usually at the end, the poppy heads, impasto painted (thick layered paint) to give them depth, as they are usually the main focus of my pieces. Though quite often my textures grasses make quite a statement. The last process is usually adding detail to the poppy heads – this probably takes the longest time, which I do not mind at all – most people would become impatient, but I enjoy the serenity when concentrating on detail.