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A Signature of Italian Summers

When travelling in Italy, let it be known that we brake for sunflowers!

Whenever we find a field, it’s very common for us to pull our rental car over to take loads of photos. And there are fields everywhere in summer, so we have certainly irritated a lot of Italian drivers with our sudden swerves to the shoulder of the road. Totally stereotypical tourist behaviour! But in my defence, where I live sunflowers are much smaller and appear once a year, 3-at-a-time wrapped in plastic, in florists or grocery stores for exorbitant prices. Seeing a whole field is just too exciting!

Pulled the car over suddenly to take this shot near Volterra, Tuscany

As I’ve written about before, a sunflower field in Umbria was the sight of a memorable vacation where I spent many hours on our BnB terrace overlooking a huge field of sunflowers. Like watching water, there’s something hypnotic and relaxing about staring into these fields, and in tracking the movement of the flowers’ heads with the sun.

My son and I in deep conversation overlooking that field

And in some small consolation for our cancelled 2020 Italy trip, I did get to see a sunflower field this summer in, of all places, Prince Edward County, Ontario. And I can say we proudly upheld our vacation tradition by suddenly swerving off the road to get the photo below.

Found an Ontario Field!

So with summer coming to an end, I had a desire to paint something that signifies the season. Sunflowers, of course! As the photo subject for this 2.5″ square mini, I selected one of my husband’s close up photos from that field in Umbria where he went walking one day. I loved the variation in the girasoli (as they are called in Italian) and the tangle of leaves and stems, in addition to the one little brown piece of dying leaf foreshadowing the change of season to come. Now onto autumn!

Girasoli (Sunflowers)

2.5″ x 2.5″ ink and watercolour

Looks great framed!

If you like sunflowers as much as I do, and want to avoid potential traffic accidents, you can acquire this original miniature here.



4 replies »

  1. I too love sunflowers and we are fortunate to have some lovely sunflower fields here in Spain. Once during a trip to Provence, a friend and I took a wrong turn and ended up driving on a small toad that took us through a sunflower field. Best mistake ever!!!

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