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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Up Close and Personal with Wildflowers...The Red Poppy

'In Flander's Fields'            6x6             pastel          ©Karen Margulis
I love a good zoom lens. When I am taking pictures I love to zoom in and get up close and personal with my subject. I love cropping and isolating the subject. I love focusing on just one thing allowing everything else to become less important. I am  also drawn to these quiet intimate vignettes when I am painting.  I love painting the big view...the vista....that big field of poppies. But then I am drawn in to a more intimate look.  I want to study a single poppy or two. I want them to become the star of the painting. I zoom in and bring them close for a more personal painting.

These paintings help me paint the larger view. Studying one or two blooms up close gives me so much more information about the flower. What shape is it? What is the growing habit? What colors are they? What kind of foliage does it have...foliage colors? I get the answers to my questions when I am painting close up views.

'Where Poppies Blow'        5x7        pastel      $75
It also helps to learn more about the flowers I am painting. Take the Red Poppy for example. Did you know that the wildflower Red Poppy is also known as Shirley Poppy, Flanders Poppy and American Legion Poppy?  These red poppies can be pink and white and they are not the same as the large red orange Oriental Poppies and smaller Icelandic poppies we see in gardens.

The Red Poppy is best known for the large meadows of poppies in Central Europe. They have become permanently linked to World War I where the fields of poppies disappeared during the war due to the unrelenting battles. You may recall the famous poem by John McCrae 'In Flanders Fields' written as he gazed at the fresh graves of his fellow soldiers in the poppy fields.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
Written in Flanders on May 3, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I will be sharing tips for painting both distant and close-up views of Wildflowers at the upcoming IAPS convention. My three hour demo will be packed full of information and several painting demonstrations. I am so excited about my plans for the 3 hour session. You will not want to miss it if you are coming to IAPS!  Remember that registration for classes and workshops is now on October 8th at noon on the IAPS website

Read more about the Red Poppy and order seeds for your own poppy meadow from American Meadows. 

Painting notes: Both paintings are done on gray Pastelmat paper with no underpaintings. I used Diane Townsend Pure color set soft pastels.



I identified with everything you wrote. Everything. Your poppy painting is absolutely gorgeous. You will soon be in Albuquerque, where I live, but I am not a pastelist so won't be at the convention. Welcome to the city!

Karen said...

Thank you Carol! I love visiting Albuquerque and I am glad the convention is always there. It gives me an excuse!!