Wild daffodils & the beech tree

March-April 2010, Acrylic on canvas 50 x 60cm

I’ve been working on this painting following a walk in the mountains where I experienced  an amazing mass of daffodils as I have never seen before! At this time of the year, in the mountains you might if you are lucky , see 1 or 2 of these type of daffodils growing solitarily, but they seem to be pretty rare. The more usual (although neither particularly common) wild daffodils that you can see in the mountains here are the tiny “Hoop Petticoat Narcissus” (I’m not sure if they are Narcissus bulbicodium or Narcissus Cantabricus) which are tiny & delicate with long trumpets & tiny thin petals.

The added excitement of seeing  these daffodils was that they were growing from just below the same beech tree I painted in May last year. You can compare here how I saw it with  its leaves  and from the opposite direction  https://sonyartchasey.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/may-beech-tree-with-white-asphodels/ I already thought it was a very special tree!

To arrive at  this point you have to have walked a few hours along a ridge which is just above the tree line & you look out across vast areas of beech forest & across to other ridges & peaks. But until this point there were no daffodils to be seen. I guess for their success there has to be just the right combination of  temperature/altitude (at around 700m /2,000ft), a north facing slope, a not too thick growth of forest, a lack of human intervention & probably lots of other things I don’t realise.

They are Spanish Daffodil, Narcissus hispanicus. If ever you have the opportunity to see them in real please never pick them – I wonder if over the years they have been picked because they are so spectacular & if that is part of the reason for their  rarety. Many places in the mountains have tracks that some people drive up, whereas this place  would be impossible to get to in a car or a quad.

So, for everyone that can’t experience wild daffodils  in real, here is my painting  of them .


9 thoughts on “Wild daffodils & the beech tree

  1. This is wonderful. Really lovely. there are many of yur paintings I would love to have hanging on my walls and this is definitely one of them. The low perspective creates such an intimate fel, yet at the same times there’s such a great sense of space too – it makes me feel expansive and full of the promise of spring.

  2. Thank-you Sarah- it was a pretty uplifting feeling to be surrounded by all the pale yellow. There is a wonderful sense of space up in the mountains which gives a feel of freedom.

  3. Really nice perspective, feels like i’am sitting on ground enjoying the wide open fields fills with blooming daffodils. I also like the distance trees, it really give a sense of space. Nice work.

  4. There is a lovely feel of the promise of spring to this, with the beech tree not yet leafing. Thank-you for the information regarding this rare view of so many wild daffodils.

  5. Hi Sonya, that must have been spectacular when you came upon the field of daffodils.

    Interesting how it seems like the beech tree is rising out of the daffodil field. Daffodils always say “spring” to me, yet there are no buds on the tree. Interesting contrast.

  6. Thanks to all 3 of you for your comments.

    For me too daffodils are pretty symbolic of spring. Beech trees seem to be later in leafing than some other trees which is why no leaves yet.
    Having just been walking in the mountains again today (nearly the end of my holiday) I can say that it’s very springlike in the valleys – lots of oaks with vibrant green leaves, white wild cherry blossom, primroses, violets etc. Beech trees only grow in this area at higher altitudes- in other words when you climb up. This one was just below the ridge, so this view looks back up at the ridge.
    I can see how the dark green in the background can also be read as trees. In fact it’s low lying gorse but it doesn’t matter what it is for the picture. Likewise, I can see how you can interprete the flowers as being in a field as that’s what we’re mostly more used to & there are no clues in the picture to tell you otherwise. In reality there aren’t any fields at this altitude – just open space.

  7. Sonya,
    This is nice text to go with your painting. You really have to work for your imagery! I vicariously took the walk with you, although I don’t think I could manage such a hike anymore. It was a breath of fresh air.
    I love the form of the tree in the background, and the build up of pattern by the flowers, their leaves and the grasses beneath them. A beautiful painting.

  8. Sonya, I like the way that each picture you make has a unique composition, a new set of patterns, a completely different palette. In this one as in the previous, I can feel that specific time of year when the first blooms come, but the trees have not yet leafed-up yet, so the form of the tree, its skeleton, is still visible. You are doing fine work. Congratulations on it.

  9. Thank-you for all your encouragement
    – Spring has already moved on since these paintings & it’s hard to keep up with everything so that actually I think the easiest part is going for the walk! The problem then is too many ideas for new paintings & not enough time to be able to do them all. Still, I guess that’s better than not enough ideas.

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