Those delicate red flowers are a passion for painters. They love to stand outside in a sea of red capturing the vibrancy, the shimmer of the petals, their movement in the breeze. In America we rarely find the blood red fields that are common in Italy and other parts of Europe. They are an intoxicating visual assault.
|Painting IN the Poppies!|
Every year when we arrive in Tuscany it is part of our job descrip- tion to find the most spectac- ular field of poppies around. That is not as easy as it sounds because first, they grow wild and second they only pop for about 10 days in early spring. Poppies appear in the fields that are left fallow when the farmers rotate their crops which change every year. You can never be sure where the latest poppy fields will be until one day you round a corner to find a red carpet of flowers that have all burst open at the same moment. So this week our responsibility is to drive the winding roads of Tuscany in search of that streak of red staining the bright green fields of spring.
Papaveri is the mellifluous, happy Italian word for them. It’s pure ecstasy when you discover an explosion of papaveri along a dirt road. You can’t help giggling at the sheer number of these flowers crammed into the same square footage. You just want to plunge in and roll around in them.
One of the best poppy exper- iences we ever furnished for our painters was two years ago when we brought the group to a remote field down a thin dirt tractor path. They set up stools and easels in the scrub, donned their straw hats and set about mixing their brightest reds. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, three hunky guys rode up on horseback, trotting through the poppies as the painters gasped in delight. The jockeys were not unaware of their admirers so the leader signaled for the trio to strut back and forth before the ladies. When they had had enough, the leader whipped off his T-shirt, swung it around his head like a lasso and in formation they all dashed away at full speed over the hillside. The normally sedate painters squealed like schoolgirls at a Justin Bieber concert.
|Even horses love Poppies|