“Poppies,” by Rich Gallego

If you have painter friends in California, then you have undoubtedly heard about this year’s crop of wildflowers. Although the state suffered a terrible drought last year, this has been a wet winter and early spring, and this and other favorable conditions have resulted in a crazy abundance of blooming wildflowers in the Golden State. Artists report in, below.

“The wildflowers have indeed been amazing this spring,” affirms Rich Gallego. “Lake Elsinore has been experiencing a ‘Super Bloom’! The California Poppy Reserve was expecting a moderate bloom, but it’s been quite impressive, so far. I taught last Saturday’s class there, and it was remarkable. It’s expected to last until mid-April, perhaps a bit longer. Truly, it hasn’t been this good in many years. Record rainfall in winter will do that, I guess. Most of the bloom is poppies and goldfields, but there are also plenty of areas with lupine, fiddlenecks, desert daisies, and some whose name I don’t know. It’s awfully pretty!”

“Poppies,” by Rich Gallego
“Poppies,” by Rich Gallego
Photo of poppies by Rich Gallego
Photo of poppies by Rich Gallego

“Here in Northern California the lupine, orange poppies, and yellow mustard are abundant everywhere you look,” Beth Winfield reports from Sacramento. “Even driving on the highways, the flowers make you appreciate living here. I hope to go out and paint the poppies by the farms, the lupine along the river, and the mustard among the vines.”

“Mustard Pickers,” by Bob Francis
“Mustard Pickers,” by Bob Francis

Terry d. Chacon has been enjoying the blossoms as well, and painting plenty of pieces to document it. “Much to my surprise, the blooms started a little more than a month ago in the Lake Elsinore area,” she says. “The blooms stopped traffic, and the traffic jams were up to two hours long to get through on a very busy Interstate 15. The blooms are good up in the Lancaster area but not as good as I have seen them before the drought, but I believe they will be going on until the end of April, so we may see more pastures of orange poppies than what we see now.

“Lancaster Poppies,” by Terry d. Chacon, oil, 12 x 12 in.
“Lancaster Poppies,” by Terry d. Chacon, oil, 12 x 12 in.
“Poppies,” by Rich Gallego
“Poppies,” by Rich Gallego

“The lower desert areas have been blooming for a few weeks, and that will soon close as the warmer season is upon us. You can still see clusters and pastures of yellow along the interstate, with purple and pinks scattered. The cactus plants are blooming as well. In my immediate area, the wild daisies are coming to an end and the purple verbena is scattered, poppies are scattered, but we don’t get them like they do in Lancaster near the Poppy Reserve.

“Poppies and Bay,” by Catherine Fasciato, oil, 9 x 12 in.
“Poppies and Bay,” by Catherine Fasciato, oil, 9 x 12 in.
“Taquitz Canyon, Palm Springs, CA,” by Terry d. Chacon, oil, 12 x 12 in.
“Taquitz Canyon, Palm Springs, CA,” by Terry d. Chacon, oil, 12 x 12 in.
“Below the Shamrock,” by Catherine Fasciato, oil, 12 x 16 in.
“Below the Shamrock,” by Catherine Fasciato, oil, 12 x 16 in.

“By the end of April I think the intense colors will be gone in the lower elevations, but then we should get some beautiful colors in the higher elevations after that — it’s still a little cold at night in those areas. Still time to get some beautiful color in the paintings, and I plan to be out painting when I can. Amazing what a little rain does for the desert.”

Photo by Beth Winfield
Photo by Beth Winfield
Photo by Beth Winfield
Photo by Beth Winfield

Finally, further up the coast, one last report. “I paint in Pacifica, and there the cliffs are covered in wildflowers,” says Catherine Fasciato. “I thought the Bermuda buttercups looked like shamrock, so I named my painting ‘Below the Shamrock.’ I painted two others on Mt. Diablo, near where I live. Every spring the California poppies explode on the slopes there. It is quite a sight.”

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