There is a field of red poppies, on Micklow Lane, in Loftus. It looks at its best around the Summer Solstice. I had painted it a few years ago, on square canvases. This year it was superb, and I decided to paint it again. The painting was in its early stages (I paint the bare bones, the structure, before I use colour) when a couple saw it in my studio, ad I told them it would be a field of red poppies. After they went back home, they asked me for first refusal. I said that I had just started another, quite different one, and they asked for first refusal on both. I never really know how my paintings will turn out. I establish the composition from observation of the landscape, but once colour takes over, it often is a surprise for me. So I hoped they would turn out fine…
I emailed photographs of the paintings some weeks later, when finished. And they both loved them! Today they came back “up North”, and picked up their paintings.
Now that is great, because I liked the paintings, and they liked them too; but mostly it was just brilliant because until their visit in early July, I had not met him since we were both sixteen years old, and I had never met his beautiful wife. I stayed in his parents’ house on my first visit to England when I was 12 years old, then he later spent a Summer on my parents’ farm in the South of France. That was decades ago… Old friends are wonderful, and they open the gates of shared memories, of youth and sunny summers. These Solstice paintings, with their vibrant red, are a celebration of friendship, and Summer.