Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Table Queen Bush Squash

The art of the day is here; the finished Table Queen Bush Squash:
So, I decided today that since I had no more fun facts about acorn squash specifically I would find out if the word squash, meaning to squeeze or crush, had the same origins as the word squash, as in the vegetable, and the word squash, as in the game. This is what I found: The game squash gets it's name from the squash-able soft ball used in the game. So, it is directly related to the verb. The verb squash comes from middle French "essquasser" which is from latin; "ex", meaning out, and "quassare" meaning to shatter. And, as I have mentioned before in a post, squash, the vegetable, comes from Narraganset (Algonquian) "askutasquash" meaning "the green things that may be eaten raw. " English is so strange. One word, three meanings, two completely different origins.
Bad idea = Playing squash with a squash

Monday, January 30, 2012

Table Queen Bush Squash

It's back to some veggies today. Here is the yet unfinished Table Queen Bush Squash:
These are really the same as Table Queen Vine Squash, but they take up less space. Kind of hard to show this in a picture of the fruit, but ah well.
Whenever I eat any squash or pumpkin I always roast the seeds as well, and acorn squash seeds are yummy. I think they are especially yummy the same way that I eat my popcorn, with a little oil and nutritional yeast. Mmmmm.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Here is today's drawing:
I'm not entirely sure what it's about. Again, I just drew over the watercolor wash what I saw there and this is what came out. What it seems to be to me, maybe, is about trying to take in all the things that happen around someone and/or to someone, thinking them over. Laying on top of it? :) Eh, I suppose it can mean to you whatever you see in it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Enjoying a Secluded Sunset

Here is a strange one from today:
I was sleepy when I started this one and it was the end of the day. I suppose that explains the sunset, but maybe it could explain the long neck too? As in when you are so tired it feels like your head is far away from your body? Ah, but it is a peaceful tired. And now I get to go to bed.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Get Along Little Doggies

Here is another whimsical from today:
Not sure why it was dogs today. That's just what I saw on the paper. But I won't tell the kitties I am living with what I was up to today.
I will probably do a few more of these drawings over watercolor washes for  the next three or four days and then get back to some veggies and chickens. FYI

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Kitty Dreams Out the Window

I guess I had something fierce in me today:
Poor little dream birdies. But that is one tough flying dream kitty, and one fat cuddly cat on the window sill. Here is a fun fact that I know some of you already know, but I think it's neat and it's been a long time since I've written a fun fact on here; nobody knows how cats purr. What a wonderful thing to be a mystery.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our House

This is what came out of the colors on the page today:
Wouldn't it be nice to really live there? I'm not sure why this one came about. Maybe because the colors on the page were green mostly and they just looked like mountains, or maybe because I was feeling sleepy and a cozy little cabin in the mountains sounded nice. Anyway, there it is. I made a house for me and Juneau to live in :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cozy Dragons

Today, Juneau and I put washes of random color down on several pieces of Bristol board so that I can do more whimsical drawings of whatever comes to mind when I look at the colors. Here is the drawing I did today, which turned out to be a picture of cozy dragons:
I think living with sixteen cats led to this one. Because what are kitties really, but cuddly little monsters. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Whimsy Birds

Today I did not feel like going back to the beans. So this is what I did instead:
You could ask what it's about, but I could not tell you. I probably had one of the best books ever in my head, The Ice-Cream Cone Coot and Other Rare Birds, by Arnold Lobel, and some other random art I have seen recently. But it physically came about because I wanted to do something strange and creative, not my normal realistic stuff. So, I did a random wash of light watercolors on this paper, let it dry, and then, with a fine-point sharpie drew in what I saw in the colors. It was fun. And I want to do more. My partner, Juneau, agreed that he would do a bunch of watercolor washes for me to make more random drawings on. This is exciting to me :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

beginning a pile o' beans

I started something today that I might spend a very long time on, a pile of beans:
I was sketching in cowpeas a while ago for an illustration and I really liked the way they looked when I had just the outlines overlapping each other. I thought then that it would be neat to do do a painting of that, but with lots of colors blending into each other too. So, now is the time. I think this might take forever since it will take a long  time to do each outline and then I will probably want to rework it all, but I have this vision in my head of the end product that looks really neat. Hopefully I can get close to that.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dreary Day

In homage of the dreary day that was in Clarksville, Tennessee today I painted this:
I wanted to make it sort of fuzzy and hazy the same way things look on days like today, and in order to do this I actually did a lot of it with my fingers. That's right, it's a finger painting. Well, half brush half finger. Acrylic is pretty good for that.
And to those of you who may be wondering if I am ever going to do vegetables again, don't worry. I will. I just need to take a little break and let painting be playful again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

She comes in colors

I did a little more doodling on the picture of Red and Lyndsey from last week today:
I like the color, but Red's face looks a little funny now hehehe. It's ok, he is a little funny anyway.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Clouds

Here is another little cloud painting from today:

The actual painting has more yellow in it where the clouds are light. When I first decided this was finished I didn't think I liked it, but the more it hangs around I like it better. I think it might just be better from farther away, rather than right up close where I have to be while painting it.
I think this is the first time I've painted clouds with more darkness than light and it gives them a bit more form. They look more three dimensional that way.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today I wanted to paint some clouds, so this is what happened:
I have been wanting to do cloudscapes and landscapes for a little while now. I suppose it is partly because I have seen some other people's work that I really liked similar in style to this, and partly because I think I need to practice both things. I can do people. I can do vegetables and still lifes (still lives?), but I haven't spent much time trying to figure out landscapes. So here we go. I think this is a good first stab at it and that after a good number more they will be better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gloria Finished - Plymouth Rock

I finally finished that second heritage breed chicken portrait today. Here is Gloria, a Plymouth Rock:
Since I already posted Gloria's story on December 16th, I won't post it again here. Instead, here is a bit from wikipedia about the breed:
The Plymouth Rock was developed in New England in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869... Plymouth Rocks were bred as a dual-purpose fowl, meaning that they were valued both for their meat and for the hens' egg-laying ability. The first Plymouth Rock was barred and other varieties were developed later. The breed became popular very rapidly, and in fact, until World War II, no breed was ever kept and bred as extensively in the United States as the Barred Plymouth Rock. Its popularity came from its qualities as an outstanding farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of both eggs and meat.
Gloria here looks like she was bred for toughness. I think I just heard her say, "Are you talkin' to me?"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hale's Best Muskmelon

here's what I finished today, Hale's Best Muskmelon:
I really like the way these turned out. When I first started this, I thought that painting in all the negative space around the interconnected off-white lines covering the melon was going to take forever because they are such little details and you have to paint each one, but for some reason it took about half as long as I expected. I guess I thought it would take a ton of time also because the first muskmelon I ever drew took me a long time to figure out how to draw it, but maybe the different approach I took this time sped things up. For the first muskmelon I drew all the white lines and then filled in the spaces with peachy colors afterwards, but this time I went right into painting the peachy spaces. Also, the first time I made sure I painted exactly what I saw, and this time I just wanted to make sure it looked like a muskmelon would, rather than the exact melon I was looking at.
Here is a little muskmelon history from wikipedia:
Muskmelon is native to Persia (Iran), Armenia, and adjacent areas on the west and the east. Persia and the trans-Caucasus are believed to be the main center of origin and development, with a secondary center including Pakistan and the northwest provinces of India and Afganistan. Although truly wild forms of C. melo have not been found, several related wild species have been noted in those regions.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

sugar cherry tomatoes

Here are the sugar cherries one last time, as finished as they are going to get:
I can see places that I would like to fix up still, but sometimes you just have to let a painting go. Maybe one day I will come back to it. I also started working on a muskmelon today, but I am going to do some more work on it tomorrow and will post it then.
Here is some more tomato history from wikipedia:
The tomato is native to South America. Genetic evidence shows the progenitors of tomatoes were herbaceous green plants with small green fruit and a center of diversity in the highlands of Peru. One species, Solanum lycopersicum, was transported to Mexico, where it was grown and consumed by Mesoamerican civilizations. The exact date of domestication is not known. The first domesticated tomato may have been a little yellow fruit, similar in size to a cherry tomato, grown by the Aztecs of Central Mexico. The word "tomato" comes from the Nathuatl word tomatl, literally "the swelling fruit".

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Sugar Cherry Tomatoes

I did some more work on the Sugar Cherry Tomatoes today:
It still needs some detail with colored pencil, especially up top, but i just needed a tomato break.
So, I don't really have any fun facts about the sugar cherry to share, but here is a bit about a tomato record from wikipedia that is kind of fun and crazy:
The massive "tomato tree" growing inside the Walt Disney World Ressort's experimental greenhouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida may be the largest single tomato plant in the world. The plant has been recognized as a Guinness World Record Holder, with a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and a total weight of 522 kg (1,150 lb). It yields thousands of tomatoes at one time from a single vine. Yong Huang, Epcot's manager of agricultural science, discovered the unique plant in Beijing, China. Huang brought its seeds to Epcot and created the specialized greenhouse for the fruit to grow. The vine grows golf ball-sized tomatoes which are served at Walt Disney World restaurants.
I'm not a big fan of Disney World, but that is pretty neat. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Red and Lyndsey

Today while sitting around at the O Gallery in Nashville this is what I did:
I am still going to do more to it over the next couple Fridays when I am there. It was a nice way to take up my time and I get to finally make Red happy by doing it :) Although I will still have to do a painting of it too I think. This is drawn from a picture of my two good friends, Red and Lyndsey, that was taken while we were all together in upstate New York. We had the best week or so hanging out together, playing music and games and just enjoying each others' company. It feels really good to draw people again, my favorite subject. And it feels especially good to draw two people I love! Next Friday I think I am going to add more colors besides blue and the pinks you can barely see.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sugar Cherry Tomato

Here is the beginning/middle of a Sugar Cherry Tomato Illustration:
You can't entirely tell yet, but the top tomatoes are still on the vine, a few in the middle are just on the ground and a bunch in front are on a salad. I like way they sort of look like they are tumbling forward right now.
I have to say, after painting so many tomatoes, they kind of get old, and it was a bit hard to motivate myself to start these ones, but as I began, I got really into it. I think partly it was the coffee :) but also it was that cherry tomatoes are different. I get to make patterns with them on the page because they are so small, and putting a salad in the mix helped too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Golden Bush Scallop Finished

Here is the finished illustration of the Golden Bush Scallop:
Not my favorite illustration, but it's acceptable. That same article by HS Paris I was quoting yesterday also has this to say about the scallop squash:
For many years, the more familiar scallop squash fruit were pale green in color, but the yellow scallops appear today to be increasing in popularity. It is becoming more and more difficult to obtain seeds of the old open-pollinated cultivars such as 'Benning's Green Tint', 'Golden Bush Scallop', 'White Bush Scallop', and 'Yellow Bush Scallop'. It is much easier to obtain seeds of the modern hybrids, 'Peter Pan' and 'Sunburst', as these are offered by many seed companies.
Luckily anyone reading this won't have a hard time at all since SESE sells them in their catalog :) Hooray!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unfinished Bush Scallop

Today I began an illustration of Golden Bush Scallops, a type of summer squash:
Here is a bit about Scallop Squash and its history from an article by HS Paris from 1996:
As all forms of C. pepo are pollinated by bees, cross with one another freely, and produce fully fertile offspring, it is amazing that most of the summer squash groups have maintained their identity for hundred of years. In the scallop group...the fruit are flat, with scalloped margins. The history of this group in Europe dates to the middle of the 16th century.
The SESE catalog offers a lot of open-pollinated seeds, (98% of their seeds), because one who wishes to grow the veggies of an open-pollinated seed and then save the seed from what they grow can do it and get similar plants. But this is not the case with hybridized seed. For a thorough explanation of this check out their website: http://www.southernexposure.com/open-pollination-ezp-19.html. They also prefer open-pollinated over genetically modified.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Brandywine Tomato (Sudduth Strain)

Today I finished that illustration of Brandywine Tomatoes:
Mmmmm, I want to eat one right now, but it is just not that time of year. When I first was around these on the farm in New Hampshire I loved to have one for lunch, either just a tomato basil sandwich, or stick a big thick slice on a veggie burger. Oh why is it January? Perhaps to make tomatoes taste even better when you can get a tasty one at the right time of year. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Brandywine Tomato

Here is a half done illustration of Brandywine Tomatoes:
I think Brandywine tomatoes were my first introduction to an heirloom variety when I first tasted them at the Dartmouth Organic Farm and perhaps it was then I fell in love older, tastier varieties. I still sometimes buy tomatoes in the grocery store, but I probably shouldn't because it is most often a disappointment after growing them myself. They just tend to taste like mealy water.
Here is a little bit of Brandywine history from wikipedia: It reached modern popularity after being introduced via the Seed Savers Exchange in 1982 by an elderly Ohio gardener named Ben Quisenberry. He received the variety from a woman named Dorris Sudduth Hill who could trace Brandywine in her family for over 80 years. Brandywine has become one of the most popular home garden cultivars in the United States. Due to the proliferation of many misidentified varieties, the pink-fruited, potato-leaved Brandywine is sometimes labeled Brandywine (Sudduth's).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rainbow Chard

Here is a rainbow chard illustration from 2010:
One thing I really like about colored pencil over water color is that I am just better at getting in the fine details, like all the little wrinkles in these swiss chard leaves. Perhaps it's just that the fine pencil tip makes me slow down more than the spreading watercolor. But I love the texture in these.
Rainbow chard is also called five color silverbeet and the SESE tells me it is originally from Australia. I think it is one of the most beautiful vegetables. 

Thai Red Roselle

Here is an illustration of Thai Red Roselle from earlier this year:
The SESE catalog has a lot of fun stuff to say about this beautiful plant:
Its "bright red calyxes make a "zingy" tea, sauce, or jam. The tea is widely popular in Egypt where it's called karkade. Roselle was called "Florida cranberry" in the 1890s and is still sometimes called sorrel or Jamaica sorrel. The creamy-white flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang. It is also grown in warmer areas as a thick ornamental annual hedge."
And if anyone who is reading is near Nashville, TN I have some prints up in the O Gallery in the Arcade this weekend for the gallery crawl.


Today I'll post an illustration of peppermint from earlier this year:

Here is an interesting fact about mint from the SESE catalog: Mint grown from seed does not come true and produces plants which vary in flavor from spearmint to menthol mint to peppermint. I guess they are kind of like us humans, you never really know what you're going to get because we have so much diversity in our genes. Apples are the same way, that's why we have to graft stems from existing trees onto new roots of other trees if we want to get more apples that taste the same way. So, I suppose if you find some mint that you really like, let it spread and enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lemon Balm

Here's an illustration I did of Lemon balm earlier this year:

And no, lemon balm does not grow lemons. I just put them in the picture to make whoever is looking at it think of the scent of lemon rather than just another green leafy herb. Lemon balm in great in hot or cold tea or you can even put a bit in salad. The SESE catalog tells me Lemon balm has anti-viral action (in lab tests) against herpes simplex, mumps, and other viruses and that its also a sedative, calmative, and carminative. Wikipedia tells me its native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Region and that its crushed leaves when rubbed on the skin can be used as a mosquito repellant. I will have to try that one!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tithonia Torch

Here is an illustration I did in, I think, 2009 of Tithonia Torch Sunflower:
The SESE catalog tells me it is also called the Mexican Sunflower. These are not your typical big and tall sunflower as they are a bit smaller, they grow to about half the height of other sunflowers and they spread out with big bushy leaves. They are native to Mexico and Central America. Why am I not surprised?
According to gardeningcentral.org they are also unique in that they will bloom twice in one summer. Of course, I imagine this is true only if your summers are long enough. The website says. "If you plant it in March or April it will grow and produce beautiful flowers into June.  The blooms will then fall off and germinate.  You can then expect more blooms by October."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blue Larkspur

Here is an illustration of Blue Larkspur that I did in 2010:

For this one I actually got to draw them from the real thing, which is so nice when I can manage it. Normally I have to draw from random pictured I can find on the internet because actual variety of plant I am trying to draw is out of season and/or too hard to come by, but the land-scaper and herb gardener at Twin Oaks, Hildegard, grew these down at the end of the drive way. The funny thing is, that I actually ended up sketching them in and then taking pictures of them to work on them inside because it looked like rain. But it is still nice to be able to draw from my own pictures. That way I can get the angle and plant parts I want to see in good detail. It's also nice to draw things that I have at least seen very close up in person rather than only in a picture because I have a better understanding of how it all looks together, the angle that the flowers come off the stem, the shape of the leaves etc.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

German Chamomile

Here is an illustration from this summer of German Chamomile:
I love to have chamomile tea before I go to bed, but there are lots of other uses for chamomile besides making you warm and cozy. The SESE catalog tells me chamomile has long been used as a carminative, [an herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of said gas] and as an anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer remedy to protect gastric mucous membranes. It is also anti-spasmodic and anti-microbial. Used as a nasal wash to treat sinusitis.
And its also a really cute flower to grow in you garden or decorate a cake with. :)