by Kirsten Barton
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Inspiration for Poppies
I was born with a brown thumb; I can kill any plant. For the longest time I tried to grow poppies. Year after year I would cultivate a small patch of soil, hoping to have my beautiful poppies emerge, singing colorfully to the world. None survived.
So, last year I tried a different approach. I painted them instead! I imagined what they would look like if I planted a field full of them, with nice dark evergreen trees as a rich backdrop to set off their brilliant color. In my mind they were swaying gently in a soft Michigan summer breeze, reaching for the glorious sun that is so scarce in our winters. There were no weeds in my poppy field, and all of the insects were well-behaved. They would never fade and could be “transplanted” at will. My gardening skills (or lack thereof) would not cause them to fade to brown.
Although I still try to cultivate a garden, some of my best specimens are painted, not planted. You should see my hydrangeas!
Kirsten Barton was born and raised in Philadelphia. She dabbled in art as a child and young adult, taking occasional classes in drawing and painting. Later, in the interstices of a life spent raising two boys, one of whom was autistic, she was able to devote progressively more time to her art, focusing on watercolor and oil painting.
Kirsten is currently painting through several series, taking breaks to work on commissioned pieces. One series is based on spiral staircases, a metaphor for the struggle to climb out of depression. Another explores sudoku puzzles and their odd relationships to philosophy and life. She finds inspiration everywhere she travels, even from the basement window of her studio. Textures of old architecture, abstract patterns of flowers, and the effects of light on color all draw her. She lives in Okemos, MI with her family, paints and Apple computer.