On the way to Santiago: Poppies

 

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Poppies – Mixed Media on Paper – 8×8 inches

On the way to Santiago we saw many poppy fields.  It was springtime and the poppies were interspersed with a little blue flower that I don’t know the name of.  Some of the poppy fields were mowed for fodder.  I took loads of photos of the poppies on the way to Santiago.  Sometimes seeing a poppy would be the only thing to uplift my spirits on a long and tedious journey.  Red is such an energising color.

In Acrylic Expressions, by Staci Swider, she uses images in her work that mean something to her.  I have noticed how other artists that practice intuitive painting methods tend to repeat the same symbols and images in their work.  I have been thinking about what symbols that I would like to use in my art.  I love flowers, all kinds, but I particularly like poppies.  I am uplifted every time I see one.  The flower and pods are also easy to draw.   So if you see poppies showing up in my work, you will know why.

I have always been drawn to folk art and the art on narrow boats.  It reminds me of the embroidery that my Hungarian grandmothers used to make on my dresses when I was little and on the Hungarian dolls that were my first toys.  The designs are simple, yet effective.

If there is only one thing that I could take away from this book, it would be to paint images that have meaning for you.  If that means you use images that other people also use, then make them your own.  Such as, a fish, let’s say.  I love fish, and is why I scuba dive.  Nobody owns the fish shape.  My dad used to take me fishing when I was small.  I remember drawing basic fish shapes when I was young.  Do you know that I forgot all about drawing fish until I read this book?  If anything, reading Staci Swider’s book brought back so many memories for me and for that I am grateful.  Plus I learned a few tips along the way.

 

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On the Way to Santiago

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From Leon to Villa de Mazarife – Mixed Media on Canvas Board – 10×12 inches

A couple of years ago my husband and I walked the Camino de Santiago from St John Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, over 750 kilometers.  We did it in six weeks (that included 7 rest days).  It was springtime and I managed to take many photos of flowers and fields over the course of our journey.  This field has been stuck in my mind since then.

I have been trying to work out how to paint this view ever since I first saw it.  Firstly, this was taken with an i phone, so the quality is not that great.  The fields on the right side of the track were yellow, green and orange.  The fields on the right were orange, green and lavender.  The lavender was just growing wild.  It was quite a site to see while walking in the mid-day heat.

At first, I was going to try and paint it in the style of my Hayfield in Normandy.  When I finished painting the sky, I wasn’t happy with it.  Then my new book arrived in the post!  I had ordered Acrylic Expressions by Staci Swider.  I really like her style, along with Chris Cozen and others.   The book is quite informative on how to paint intuitively, but also with a purpose.  I had a quick read through and got a couple of ideas on how to make my painting.  I had already scraped lines for my fields in the gesso, so I outlined them in red and took it from there.  The finished result is what you see at the top of the page.  It is rather vibrant, but that is how I saw it in my mind.