The symbolism of the poppy has long been used as that of sleep, peace and death. Sleep because the opium extracted from some varieties is a sedative and death because of the blood red colour of the red poppy. This sleep / death symbolism is evoked in the famous novel "The Wizard of Oz." The symbol of the poppy is also used for wartime remembrance. In many countries around the world, artificial poppies are worn to commemorate those who died in war.
Poppies are actually one of my all time favourite flowers. I really love the delicate papery, crumpled translucent quality of the petals. I'm really interested in trying to evoke this translucence with watercolours. I also love the long spindly stems and how they explode in a pop of colour at the top of these long spindly stems when they bloom. I could gaze at these flowers for hours and find every detail about them fascinating. Above left is a recent painting I have completed of a bunch of colourful poppies I bought from the shop. Above right is a old painting I completed quite a few years ago of a Himalayan poppy. The original sold a long time ago, but unfortunately I didn't take a high resolution photo of it, so it will never be available in print form. Below left is a red poppy that I painted in a more freer, spontaneous style, trying to capture the essence of the flower. This one is available as a print by clicking on the photo. Below right is one of Georgia O'Keefe's most famous paintings of a Red Poppy (1927). It is a perfect example of the macro modernist style for which she became most famous.