Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Straight Eights Cucumber

Here is one from just a couple weeks ago, Straight Eights Cucumber: 
With this one I did something unusual for me. I used a bigger paintbrush. Normally when I get going on a painting I stick with the same tiny paintbrush that I start with, but I just thought, "This would be easier to make look nice and smooth with a fatter brush." And of course I should have done this many times before because it did look nicer and it was much faster. I am sure that I have switched to a big brush actually in the past, but I always seem to go back to using only a teeny tiny brush. And then, it is always good to break out of that habit again. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sweet William

Here's an illustration of Sweet William:
Wikipedia tells me that while there are many legends about the origin of this flower's name, no one really knows for sure where it came from. I think my favorite idea is that it is named after Shakespeare.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Edmonson Cuke

Here's one from a bit ago, Edmonson Cuke:
Umm.... cucumbers are fun to paint :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hungarian Blue Breadseed Poppy

Here's a pretty and useful one, Hungarian Blue Breadseed Poppy:
While this plant makes beautiful flowers and yummy seeds with which to bake it is also used to make codeine, morphine, opium and it makes Alice fall asleep in wonderland.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Here is one that I had never heard of until doing an illustration of it, Epazote:
The SESE catalog says its fresh leaves are ground or crushed for seasoning corn, beans, and sauces used in Mexican dishes, and medicinally a strong tea made from this and rubbed on the skin repels insects and reduces irritation from insect bites.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Large Red Tomato

Here's one from a couple months ago, Large Red Tomato, (way more interesting than its name):
And here is a fun bit of its history from the SESE catalog:
Prior to the Civil War, one of the most commonly grown and best documented tomato varieties in the country. Listed in the 1843 Shaker seed catalog at New Lebanon, NY, the 'Large Red' tomato is vital for antebellum garden re-creations and historic farms. Fearing Burr in his 1865 book stated that: "From the time of the introduction of the tomato to its general use in this country, the 'Large Red' was almost the only kind cultivated, or even commonly known."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Drunken Woman Lettuce

Here's a beautiful lettuce with a funny name; Drunken Woman Lettuce:
I wish I could say why this lettuce is named what it is, but I just can't find an answer to that anywhere.
Sometimes I get working on a painting and really don't like it because it seems sloppy or the colors are muddy or some other thing just isn't clicking, and then sometimes I try so hard to make it look OK and make those problems go away that in the end it turns into one of my favorite paintings. That was what happened to this one.
And although I am not a fan of iceberg lettuce because I believe it is less tasty and less nutritious than just about every other variety of lettuce in existence, here is a fun lettuce fact: iceberg lettuce was called crisphead lettuce before the 1920's when California growers would ship it to the east coast covered in ice.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lemon Basil

Here's another from a couple months ago of Lemon Basil:
Here's a bit from wikipedia about lemon basil:

In Laos, lemon basil is used extensively in Lao curries, stews, and stir-fried dishes as it is the most commonly used type of basil in Laos. Many Lao stews require the use of lemon basil as no other basil varieties are acceptable as substitutes. The most popular Lao stew called or lam uses lemon basil as a key ingredient.
Lemon basil is the only basil used much in Indonesian cuisine, where it is called kemangi. It is often eaten raw with salad or lalap (raw vegetables) and accompanied by sambal. Lemon basil is often used to season certain Indonesian dishes, such as curries, soup, stew and steamed or grilled dishes. In Thailand, Lemon basil, called maenglak (Thai: แมงลัก), is one of several types of basil used in Thai cuisine. The leaves are used in certain Thai curries and it is also indispensable for the noodle dish khanom chin nam ya. The seeds resemble frog's eggs after they have been soaked in water and are used in sweet desserts.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Amish Moon and Stars Watermelon

Here is a fun one from a month or so ago, Amish Moon and Stars Watermelon:
These are the neatest looking watermelons ever because they really do look like the moon and stars are on them! And they taste good. Even more interesting is the variety that SESE sells called Yellow Moon and Stars. Inside that watermelon the flesh is orange!
This one was fun to do because i had to figure out how to do the yellow dots. I ended up painting the watermelons without any spots at first, then putting little drops of water on the painting, letting them set there for a second and wiping them away with a wash cloth with a bit of pressure. That left me a nice light spot that I then painted yellow. To me one of the best things about painting is when you get to experiment with something new. Yay learning!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Garlic Chives

Here's one from a couple months ago of garlic chives:
I think garlic is one of the most fun things to grow. What a neat plant that you can eat the bulb, the grassy beginnings of the plant, and the budding flower. And it smells and tastes so good! And is so good for you! And when you pull the garlic scape out just right it makes that satisfying pop sound. :) Wikipedia says humans have been using garlic for over 7000 years and that it originated in central Asia.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Costada Romanesco Summer Squash

Here is an illustration from a while ago of Costada Romanesco Summer Squash:
...Not too much to say about this one :)
But fellow blogger Jay helped me out! See what he says in the comments :) and see his blog here: http://scientificgardener.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 12, 2013

Corner Sun Logo

Here is another similar logo for Native Grasslands.
Randy wanted a logo that could look nice in the top corner of something. I actually like this one even better than the first logo, something about the strands of hair interacting more with each other.

And below you can see it without the color. I think I like the black and white ones a bit better than the color. I think it might just be because of the pattern in the lines standing out more.

Sun Logo for Native Grasslands

Here is a fun one I completed in January for a nonprofit organization called Native Grasslands:
Randy, the person who started the organization had a very specific vision in mind for the sun he wanted and with a bit of back and forth we finally got to this. I am pretty happy with it and happy to once again do some art for a really good cause. You can read more about Native Grasslands at http://nativegrasslands.com/

And below is what the image looked like before adding color with gouache. I first drew it in pencil, then drew on top of that with an archival marker, and last added the color.

Persimmon Tomato

Here's another from a couple months ago, Persimmon Tomato:
The SESE website says that early fruits of this plant can weigh up to two pounds. That's a big tomato!
One hard thing about tomato illustrations for SESE is making them unique for each variety. With over 150 varieties of tomatoes they can all start to look very similar. So, at the suggestion of Ira Wallace I began adding little hints in the paintings for what the best uses of the tomato might be, a cutting board for a slicer, a jar for good sauce tomato.

Winter Density Lettuce

Here's one from a couple months ago, Winter Density Lettuce:

I have not too much to say about this one. It apparently does well in heat as well as cold even with it's wintery name.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wild Bergamot

This posting is for Liz who keeps asking me to post more. :) Here you go!

And here is what the SESE website says about this plant: 
A favorite of hummingbirds and bees. Flowers of varying shades of lavender may be added to salads. Use strongly fragrant dried leaves for tea and potpourris. Medicinal: Used by several Native American tribes as a carminative.

And in case you didn't know what a carminative was, (because I didn't), dictionary.com says it is:
a drug causing expulsion of gas from the stomach or bowel.

And in case you were wondering what that crazy looking bug is flying up to one of the flowers, it is a hummingbird moth. I was so surprised the first time I saw one of these. They move just like hummingbirds, quickly and then hovering, but are clearly not birds at all.