I've wanted to paint a Tulip Poplar blossom for a long, looonnnng time now- as long as I can remember. Unfortunately about three years ago when it occurred to me to go take some reference photos, it was about a month after the flowers had come and gone. They don't last long at all, which makes the blooms even more special.
The following year (2007) I promised myself that I would absolutely NOT miss bloom-time, and thus kept a very watchful eye on a carefully selected Tulip tree (with low-hanging and easily accessible branches) in my dad's yard that entire spring.... waiting for the flowers. Exactly when they bloom depends on the harshness of winter, the warmth / intensity of Spring, rainfall, and of course a host of negative man-made influences which is pretty much a given with anything in nature now... but I digress.
I was able to capture these photos in mid-May, and the blooms- as usual- didn't last more than a few days, a week at most. I photographed them daily in various stages of bloom (okay, call it what it is: TREE SEX). You can easily see the differences in lighting/weather/time of day in these 3 pictures I have posted, and these are my favorites of the set. I'm looking at these 3 pictures as inspiration for a new painting. Or three.
Surprisingly, I actually have never seen this flower painted, although I'm sure somebody has had to feel the same inspiration as me and captured its glory with some form of artistic media.