May was the month for the paint-out groups to paint the striking Matilija poppies. In April we were all in the gardens painting the red poppies. It turns out that the white Matilija poppies are native to Southern California and Mexico. They bloom here in spring and summer, and are also known as tree poppies because they can grow to 8 feet high. The pretty, silvery blue-green leaves are large and deep-cut. Of course the flowers are what we painters love. The fluffy white flowers get to five inches across with large, intense yellow-orange centers. Their name "fried egg" poppies fits well.
My first plein air try with the poppies was a small patch of them at Bailey Canyon Park, in Sierra Madre. I thought a gouache piece might work best considering the white flowers. I also painted a piece with transparent watercolors. I'll add a small gouache piece I painted in February at the same place when there were no poppies blooming. There are more Matilijas to come!