Here I painted a scenery from Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel. Eilat is beautiful to me because of its blue skies, the lofty reddish mountains surrounding it, and the brilliant blue of the Red Sea by which it lies. But this picture shows Eilat on a rainy day, when the brilliancy was washed away leaving the landscape pale and grayish.
This did not take me much time to paint. There is very little color here, and very little detail. A few pale washes and some simple brush-stokes for the date trees and I was done. I look now at this painting, and something in it pleases me. I can almost feel the cold breeze that blew that day, and the sense of calm as I looked out onto this view. It was not supposed to be an ideal day to enjoy the city, but I found beauty in it nevertheless. This painting did not take much effort or much paint, but it feels real. Sometimes less is more.
One day I found that a large flower had popped out of the ground. “It is a poppy” I was told. Was it? It couldn’t be, where poppies really that big? It was as big as an apple! I opened some botany books and was convinced that that large flower really was a poppy. Over the next couple weeks I saw the flower changing into a perfectly shaped seed pod.
I painted here a time course of this flower, showing it when it was a bud, when its petals opened wide, when its petals were falling, when it was a green seed pod, and when it was a dry and grayish seed pod.
This is no meek plant. Its flowers are large and bright, demanding attention. Its pods are beautiful in their symmetry. Its little black seeds are nutritious and are used in baked goods, sprinkled over bread or as the basis of poppy-seed cakes. Its latex (which oozes out when the pod is scratched) when dried is opium, a powerful substance that has helped many as a medicine, but has harmed many when abused as a drug.