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Finding Color in My Paintings or, How Canola Flowers Found Me

I didn’t plan on painting flowers, but it seems my love of color has naturally led me here. In 2008, I moved to the Caribbean where I lived and painted for nine years. The bright sunlight, the beautiful turquoise water, and the colorful island culture changed the way I see and paint the world. After moving back to Virginia because of the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma, I found myself seeking out bright colors. I became enamored with the beautiful, bright yellow fields which are spread throughout the Northern Neck each spring.

Within the last decade Rapseed, also known as Canola, has become a popular winter crop here in Virginia. In early April the fields begin to fill with beautiful yellow blooms. As the flowers open fully, the fields literally stop traffic as people pause their busy lives to take photos. Rapseed oil is processed from the seeds of the plant and has many industrial uses. Canola oil was was developed and re-named in Canada when the Rape (the name comes for rapa which is Latin for turnip) was altered to contain less toxic oil. These fields are rotated every year so I start early scouting out the location of each season’s fields.

Life in Yellow, Acrylic on canvas, 24x30", 2016

Canola Farm View, Acrylic on canvas, 36x24", 2017

After selecting some promising sites, I make plans to photograph my favorite scenes and in the process I choose the time of day where the light works best for my composition. Whenever possible I start my Canola paintings on location and return as many days as I can. I often finish my paintings in my studio.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Acrylic on canvas, 24x30", 2018

Yellow Days, Acrylic on canvas, 20x24", 2019

In 2022 when Covid19 closed galleries and dramatically changed our lives I found it difficult to find the motivation to paint. My large painting, Social Isolation, was my attempt to find beauty in the midst of a difficult time. It helped get me back to my easel.

Social Isolation, Acrylic on canvas, 36x24", 2020

Over the Hill, Acrylic on canvas, 30x24", 2021

Fields and Flowers/Trails and Trees, Acrylic on Canvas, 23x30, 2022

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