'Vanessa' by Tandy Pengelly
'Vanessa' is a contemporary oil painting on a canvas board. It was painted using a palette knife and offers a very free texture. The poppy is one of my favourite flowers as it has such a poignant history. The Remembrance Day symbolism of the poppy started with a poem written by a World War I brigade surgeon who was struck by the sight of the red flowers growing on a ravaged battlefield.
From 1914 to 1918, World War I took a greater human toll than any previous conflict, with some 8.5 million soldiers dead of battlefield injuries or disease. The Great War, as it was then known, also ravaged the landscape of Western Europe, where most of the fiercest fighting took place. From the devastated landscape of the battlefields, the red poppy would grow and, thanks to a famous poem, become a powerful symbol of remembrance.
Across northern France and Flanders (northern Belgium), the brutal clashes between Allied and Central Powers soldiers tore up fields and forests, tearing up trees and plants and wreaking havoc on the soil beneath. But in the warm early spring of 1915, bright red flowers began peeking through the battle-scarred land: Papaver rhoeas, known variously as the Flanders poppy, corn poppy, red poppy and corn rose. As Chris McNab, author of “The Book of the Poppy,” wrote in an excerpt published in the Independent, the brilliantly coloured flower is actually classified as a weed, which makes sense given its tenacious nature.
This painting was painted for a special person who enjoys it everyday.