PAINTING IN A CROWD

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Grinter Sunflowers, acrylic, 16″ x 12″

I have been painting at the Grinter sunflower field for some years now as the mother of the man who plants these gorgeous fields is an artist friend of mine. The sunflower field is located between Lawrence and Tonganoxie, Kansas. On Sept. 2 I drove out there to paint. I loaded my painting gear and me, not an easy task at my age, onto a flat bed parked near the field. The day was cloudy and there was no one around. The sunflowers were at their peak. I began to draw in a few lines on my canvas and then the rain began. I sat in the car for a while hopeing it would stop but it didn’t.

On Wednesday Sept. 9 I returned and what a difference. The sun was shining, the weather was not too hot and there were people everywhere. The grassy area across from the filed was filled with cars. Three other artists that I know of were painting, mothers wandered about with their children too young to be in school. Everyone seemed to have a camera, some fancier than others.

Ordinarily, I don’t like to paint in a crowd, but some of the sunflowers already looked a bit raggedy. If I wanted to paint it had to be today. Up onto the flat bed went me and my gear. I had a great view. I could see an artist with a white umbrella who was actually sitting in the field. Across the road where the cars were parked another artist had lifted his trunk lid to provide a bit of shade and was busily at work.

Soon I was too while the people continued to arrive and depart and snap their pictures. Several even thought I looked picturesque and asked to take photos of me. Overall everyone was polite and good natured. They asked if I minded before they perched their little ones on the flat bed and with flattery or promises of bribes tried to coax them into looking cute. In spite of all the activity I am pleased with my painting pictured above. And I got to meet two women artists from the Kansas City area at lunchtime.

The Lawrence Journal-World wrote that thousands had visited that field this year from across the United States and the world. (It’s a good thing I didn’t come on a weekend.) The paper credited social media, especially Grinter Farms Facebook page, for the field’s increased popularity.

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