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If you've heard random cries of glee lately, it's the floral painters in your local area. Because it's spring. And spring means ALL THE FLOWERS.

I’ve spent the last two Mondays at peony fields about an hour south of where I live. I have to hold myself back from doing a reenactment of Maria running through the fields a la the Sound of Music.

The excitement is overwhelming. This is probably how Christmas felt to my 7-year-old self.


But once I calm down, apply sunscreen like an adult, pet the farm cat, I head out into the fields to immerse myself in the beloved peony.

So here's why I go see the flowers live:

Reference Photos
The main reason I go is straight up reference photos. It’s an incredible opportunity to see a flower at every stage of its life cycle from bud to blown out bloom and every lovely shape in between. There’s also an abundance of healthy foliage to capture. Not every floral bouquet from the farmer’s market will come with foliage intact and so it’s a great opportunity to get some of that information with my camera.

Seeing it Live
Reference photos are great. I paint from photos. But looking at something in person teaches me much more than I can learn from a reference photo.

In fact, once I had gotten photos, I pulled out my sketchbook. I gave myself permission to just pay attention to what was happening in the flowers themselves. Low colors change when the light hits. What color is doing in the shadows. How my eye reads twists and turns from a value standpoint. These are all things that are really hard to capture in a reference photo.

Mind Wandering
The third reason to go see the fields live is because it gave my mind an opportunity to wander. So much of life is a series of to do lists and schedules. I can easily forget how important it is to just go out and be inspired. Let ideas float around. Ideas for possible future studies or series. I took no notes, I just let myself be present, surrounded by and filled with the beauty of the fields.

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