"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Leaf of the Day: Persimmon 482 and Lotus Eating

Today I walked down to our other local supermarket Publix. It is probably the Tesco of Orlando whereas Albertsons is more the equivalent of Sainsburys. They both have excellent fruit and veg counters. I am short of time today and I saw this little persimmon or sharon fruit which I thought would be both nice to draw and good practice with yellows and oranges.

The American name 'persimmon' is adapted from the native Indian word pesimin, early settlers would learn from the Indians to leave it on the tree to ripen until well into October or it is a bitter fruit. Recipes for cooking with persimmons and making wine are many and various as are the varieties of this fruit.
The "Diaspyros lotus" , the date plum, translates loosely as "fruit of the gods", and is one of the contenders for the wonderfully dangerous lotus fruit mentioned in the Odyssey. Eating the fruit erased the memory. The desire to return home was replaced by the desire to stay in idleness and pleasure with the "lotus eaters". Odysseus had a problem persuading his men back on the boat..who could blame them.

A passage from Tennyson's strangely alluring poem "the Lotos Eaters" explains their feelings.

"Round and round the spicy downs the yellow lotos-dust is blown.
We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
Roll’d to starboard, roll’d to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind. "

Perhaps my occasional expat longings for home might be cured with a plate of these delicious fruit.

I spent most of the day considering my watercolours, reading up about which are transparent and making yet more colour charts. My approach to watercolours has in the past been a bit haphazard and as it is really important to keep colours clean and fresh for botanical painting its time to be more disciplined. For anything you need to know about watercolour visit http://www.handprint.com/ It's a fantastic site, full of technical information about every aspect of watercolour. I am going to put a links box for good art sites on soon.
Meanwhile the coloured pencil work continues.
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Persimmon


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