California poppies are extraordinarily bright and cheerful flowers - very much representing the essence of the California sun for me: I love it but sometimes it is too much. I cherish the instantly recognizable color of both flowers and the rest of the plant, the delicate wrinkles of the petals, the fingers of the leaves, and the hats of the seed pods. I love how flowers open and close based on the amount of sunshine they are getting, how you can always find a variety from warm yellow to burnt orange if you look for them, how they dance in the wind, and how shadows change colors with that dance. How you see them in the wild and an urban setting - still wild. NASA published photos of fields of California poppies visible from space. I didn't have a chance to check that out but my friend Suhita Shirodkar took me to some amazing hills down south: covered in so many versions of that orange!
We sat in the grass and painted both the hill and individual flowers. A Black Tailed Jack Rabbit (which is a hare) ran past - just a few feet away from us. Lots of people were on the hill - some drawing too! We came for the poppies but talked about so many other flowers covering the hillsides - the variety of their hues. And how we approach the endless task of learning all the names of plants that we see. It was a magical day when crayons were starting to melt in the sun but you could still enjoy a bit of a cold breeze in the shade. I wondered how long the poppies will last but then realized that there is always one or two even in the middle of August heat - if only you are patient enough to look for it :)