Inspire comes from the Latin: in- + spirare – to breathe.
So I breathe. I take deep lungfuls of clean forrest air, fragrant with bay laurel and dry brush. I am quiet so I can hear bird feathers beating against the breeze. I am still to gaze at the deer who freeze and gaze back at me before bounding away. I look for the lizards fleeing from my shadow. I take in every hue and texture and form of the dormant thickets that lace the woods. I take sensory notes and digital photographs. All of this will inhabit my paintings one day, some of it already has.
Clear blue sky and raking clouds.
Birds feasting in the persimmon tree.
Old pear orchard flaming red and gold.
Deer bounding through the silvered grasses.
Dormant forrest rich with texture and subtle color.
Here in emerald and blue…
Here in a green cascade over lavender…
Here in a gray tangle…
Here in a tunnel that leads to golden sunlight…
And here in the details of a desiccated leaf, seeds about to fly and the warning of poison oak and a dried thistle.
Live oak lounger.
Walking through light and shadow.
Soft and hairy leaves still clinging to water droplets.
Picchettti persimmon tree ornamented with ripe fruit, photo Marie Cameron 2012.
The storms have past, stripping persimmon trees of all their leaves, leaving their fruit dangling naked and ripe for all to see. This tree at Picchetti tempts hiking visitors to wade through poison oak and blackberry brambles to see it they can pocket a few. Picking wild fruit is a primal urge my mother and father-in-law and son couldn’t pass up while on a family hike over Thanksgiving. While they didn’t harvest many (two actually) they were all the sweeter for the effort!
Persimmons are not only decorating trees all over the valley but hanging on gallery walls too! Here are two great works currently on exhibit at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery by member artists, Susan Elwart Hall (susanhallstudio.com) and Betty Turrentine McGuire.
Stages of Life oil painting by Susan Elwart Hall – Los Gatos Museums Gallery
Persimmons oil painting by Betty Turrentine McGuire – Los Gatos Museums Gallery
So, what to do with this abundance of persimmons? The Fuyu (above) can be eaten like an apple but with the softer Hachiya I like to make persimmon chutney which is especially delicious with duck!
- Persimmon Chutney:
- 1/4 c chopped onion
- 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp grated lemon peel
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 6 peeled ripe Hachiya persimmons
- Reduce all ingredients over medium heat adding persimmons at the end.