My Own Kind of Sunflower

For as long as I can remember, I had an obsession with sunflowers. From planting seeds in my parent's backyard to collecting a pretty golden sunflower pin, I thought that one day I would have a designated room in my house to display every sunflower memorabilia that I had ever owned. I never seemed to outgrow this obsession either. In 9th grade, we made plaster masks in art class. While most kids used their creativity to paint bright, colorful designs over the white chalky plaster, I decided to mix brown paint with paper shavings to produce a thick and bumpy texture which I could then adhere to the face of the mask. I wanted to mimic the center of the flower as best as possible. I then drilled holes around the edge of the mask and attached styrofoam posterboard that I had cut in the shape of petals and decorated with orange and yellow tissue paper. I'm pretty sure most students spent 2 days on this project and I took at least 2 weeks.

Fast forward 6 years and I took a leap of faith to study abroad by myself in Italy the summer after my junior year of college. While I didn't know a single soul in the entire country, I was surrounded by an awesome group of people who also had a passion for art and traveling. It didn't hurt either that my days were full of gelato, homemade pasta and italian speaking children that loved to play soccer outside our classroom door. In the afternoons, we spent our time in the studio learning about traditional painting methods. It was to no ones surprise that the oil painting on my hand stretched canvas turned into a radiant sunflower. On my very last afternoon there in the small town of Sangemini, I snuck away and went for a car ride in hopes to find a field of sunflowers that I had passed just a few weeks prior.  While I may have been with a boy I barely knew who spoke a language I didn't know in a country that I was very unfamiliar with, I was determined to find a sunflower and bring in back home with me. While it may not have been the smartest decision I ever made, I was a sucker for accents, broken english and language barriers. With my luck, I made it back safely to Sangemini with a flower in hand.

As one would imagine, when I heard that Colby Farm in Newbury had a field of sunflowers, I immediately grabbed a friend and drove 45 minutes north of Boston. When we arrived, the parking lot was full of cars and people waiting to see this magnificent field during the last weekend the flowers were in bloom. I wandered around with my camera in hand mesmerized by the endless amount of these tall and dangly fiery flowers. I was so fascinated, I didn't even notice the bumblebee that my hand grazed against. While I may have left with a bee sting, I also left with these captivating photos.