The last in a trio of vegetable paintings, I present "Farm Onions" I love how, unlike most onions that I buy, you can see the part of the plant that grows above the soil.
The painting challenge here is in the subtle study of white... for white objects are rarely actually white. I learned this from my hero John Singer Sargent. When I look at paintings like "Simplon Pass: Reading" done in the Alps in 1911, the multitude of greens, blues, yellows, and grays that create the white drapery stun me. Feast your eyes on it here.
Locally grown, organic vegetables inspire me. They feed me both physically and artistically. And, best of all, I know that I am supporting farmers who are on the front lines of improving our sustainability. *
I really enjoyed the range of greens in this painting, which are all mixed. The painting begins with a cobalt blue and winsor lemon, continues with a prussian blue and winsor lemon, then ends with Prussian blue and indian yellow. All relatively transparent mixtures.
Like several other vegetable paintings I've done in the past year, this head of lettuce came from the Pennypack Farm and Education Center last summer. I've recently prepared for the 2018 growing season by buying into the Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. I'm looking forward to the variety and quality of produce they grow and I plan to continue this series of paintings. :)
*Notably, organic farmers are supporting our declining bee populations by not using neonicotinoid pesticides, or seeds treated by this noxious chemical which has become too common in the conventional agricultural market. Organic veggies support bees, and who doesn't love bees?
Upon reflection, I see a great metaphor in this watercolor study. Not only are these beautiful potatoes a product of organic farming practices at Pennypack Farm and Education Center last season (so delicious!), they refer to a common phrase.
I first approach that phrase in my quest to simplify. It acts as a mantra to avoid letting the small stuff block my sight of what's really important along the lines of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. However, after finding a quote by Charles Dudley Warner who while gardening in 1870 wrote, "What small potatoes we all are, compared with what we might be!" I feel like my eyes have been opened. His view in this quote is that we often stunt our growth because we "don't plow deep enough." (Thank you Project Guttenberg, where I found Warner's book My Summer in the Garden.)
I am inspired by a new mandate to nurture my small potatoes into big potatoes by taking the time to dig deeper into the earth. Stay tuned for next year's crop!
Recent Pennypack Farm bounty included these beauties which together make a very tasty slaw!
Kohlrabi came on my radar this summer. It's a part of the cabbage family and originates from northwestern Europe. A friend of my mother's who is of Hungarian heritage said that she grew up on it. It's crisp and crunchy. It's flavor is like a mix of a radish and a cucumber. It's so delicious raw.
Fennel is a little more familiar. It originates from the Mediterranean and is a part of the carrot family. I've loved its anise flavor ever since I tasted roasted 'finocchio" in Florence.
I've been greatly inspired by the beauty of the fresh produce we have been picking up from the farm every Monday. I hope to paint some more!
Red globe radishes bring me such delight. Fresh from the Pennypack Farm & Education Center where I pick up my CSA (community supported agriculture), this bunch did not last long in my house even though I am the only one who eats them.
This power food is so heathy to eat that there is a Chinese proverb that says, "Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors bend on their knees." No offense to my doctor friends.