Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Walk, A Gathering, A Cup of Desert

What do you do when the economy is tanking, fuel is too expensive for traveling and politics resemble a mangled car wreck from which you find it too difficult to turn away?

Take a bucket and a pair of tongs, wander over to the nearest prickly pear patch in the evening sun, harvest some fruit (tunas) as the ancestors, the Tohono O'odham, did long ago.

Put them in a pot, boil them into a softer mixture, mash them until they release their dioxazine purple/permanent rose-like liquid. Add lots of mesquite honey and some lemon juice. Have a small cup of desert.

The Moleskine journal paper seems to be the most ideal surface for caran d'ache that I have found. I'm really enjoying they way the water soluble crayons hug the paper, producing a soft, blended, painterly like surface. Image: 4 1/2" x 6 1/2"


Anonymous said...

Yum! Looks like a powerful and wonderful antioxidant drink! By the way, thanks for commenting on my blog today. Be sure to go back and see what I just posted about this current mess we find ourselves in. Your response to it is more upbeat than mine.

Melinda said...

Thank you, artistsjournal, for visiting. I just got back from your site and from commenting there.

I get so deeply upset by what is going on that I am nearly disfunctional, too. The positive things I do or write are my way of talking myself off the ledge! It mostly works because...art is medicine. It is my medicine to you and anyone else who will partake.

susan hong-sammons said...

what's the size

Melinda said...

Sorry, I consistently seem to forget to post the size of these things!
The image is 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" I'll edit the post to show this.

Thanks for stopping by!

Marian Fortunati said...

I've seen them in the market many times, but never eaten them. They sound good.
They look good in your painting as well!

Melinda said...

Yes, they are good. I have a link to a site with recipes, if you ever want to try them. Gotta watch out for those stickers, though!

Today I put a little of the juice in with sparkling mineral water. It was a comforting drink.

Karen said...

That sounds way too delicious. But I think I like the process even more ( I guess this is like my interest in painting?)...the walk, the gathering, the preparation...

Plus the image is beautiful. I like the wavy border.

Have you ever tried the watercolors on really absorbent paper like rice paper?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, vivid colors in your painting! Love the deep cool blue/purple shadows.

I understand the next "political car wreck" (Palin/Biden debate) will be on Thursday.
I'll need to go to the local Mexican market and pick up some prickly pears (tunas) to savor some desert myself. Thanks for that recipe. I didn't know people cooked those!

Edgar said...

Lush image: luminous underpainting, good contrast. Pops off the page. A dangerous-looking fruit, though...

So, it seems like the comforting journey from prickly pear to "cup of desert" is a bit like making lemons when all you have is lemonade (and honey, water, ice and a clean pitcher -- which is important to remember, because if you are going to wind up on a street corner with a cardboard sign, remember you need a piece of cardboard and a magic marker before you can do that).

But, once you have the pitcher full of juice (your drawing), then you can share it with anyone (we virtual people), and we can all be refreshed by the comfort that it gives. Thanks for the sip :-)

Sylvia Jenstad said...

I agree this is a cool painting...

Anonymous said...

Melinda- what a terrific segue from your great rendering of the prickly pear, to the recipe for cooking with it. I had no idea.

First- the drawing with colored pencil has so much depth of color- really beautiful.

Second- we have prickly pear all over the island and I've stayed away, far away, to keep those thin fibers out of my fingers. You need gloves.

worth trying now.

And a final PS- Great mountain landscape on your previous post too. Very bold and simple.

Melinda said...

Hi Bonnieluria,
I avoid touching the fruits at all! I use tongs when I load them in the pot to boil too. Then, after using a potato masher, I use an old pillowcase in a strainer to get the juice out. I work really hard not to get any stickers, but usually get at least one!
I found a recipe (scroll to page 14) that doesn't require any boiling. I did find that this batch was very strong tasting and that I had to add lots of honey. Yours may be similar. I now think of the batch as a concentrate.
Walking in the desert, harvesting 'wild' food, helps me to calm down--like camping in a remote area and hiking do. Getting away from technology and scuffing around in the dirt feels healthy.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you like the landscape too.

Melinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melinda said...

I haven't tried the rice paper you mentioned, but will try to get some in my next paper order. ASW is offering a great $5.95 shipping charge and no oversize charges this month (Oct) hmmm...!

Thank you for your comment! I was diligently working to get those colors. As you know, prickly pear are neither cadmium red, alizarin crimson, dioxazine purple or cadmium orange, but a strange combo of all of them. I hope you do get a chance to try them. That reminds me. I checked out Gotan and like them too! Sometimes I listen to the Frida movie soundtrack while painting. Do you have that?

It's still a bit hard to concentrate with all of the political and financial stuff going on. I get to be a real junkie for info during these times. Hope you're doing better than I am.

Thank you for your kind words. I do have a cardboard sign and some markers. What's even better is the fact that I know someone who studied calligraphy and can help me make a sign that will really stand out! That alone may keep me from starving.

Looking forward to your next post on 'Fice...

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll visit again!

loriann signori said...

Another beauty! Your use of color and temperature makes these little prickly pears sing.

Jeffrey J. Boron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe Melinda, facinating! I deleted my earlier comment due to errors I couldn't live with =;0

Melinda said...

Hi Loriann,
Thank you for your generous comment. I walk by the prickly pear cactus nearly every day with our dogs and they do call out to be harvested! That I could render them "singing" as you say is just what I had hoped to accomplish. It is quite the challenge to capture their color too.

Melinda said...

Hi Jeffrey,
I hope you get a chance sometime to try the recipe. I guess it would be an exotic treat for your region, but worth it if you get the chance. Of course, you could plan a trip to Arizona some day and then try them. If you ever do want to visit the area, it's best to come in the fall or winter. It's really too hot to enjoy anything in the summer, except a swimming pool and lots of air conditioning!

I've been having to delete and edit a lot of things lately myself. I think I'm too distracted or trying to do too much. Or, it's sunspots. But, no problem--thank you for stopping by.

Barbara Muir said...

I like the connection between
picking, painting and cooking and the
visual links you've provided. The
painting is lovely -- and I've never
actually seen prickly pears, but feel
like I have now.


Melinda said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by Barbara! Wish I could share some prickly pear sparkly water with you. The taste is similar to a pomegranate. These tunas (fruits) are still sitting on the kitchen counter--haven't gone bad yet and look so beautiful. I'm glad that you liked the study. Hope you'll visit again.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

In Scotland we would deep-fry them and have them with chips and Tepary beans dipped in pakora sauce - but that's why we don't live so long!

I agree with your assessment of Neocolour II's on moleskine paper -I also think they work pretty well.

I like your pastel of the prickly pears.

ps: I have eventually got round to answering your comment on my Bum's Rush posting - cheers :o)

Now I need to wrestle with your word verification. Here goes....