Persimmons + how I resource myself
Generally speaking, when I go to paint a vegetable or fruit or plant that I love, I really like to focus on just the plant-muse itself. My subjects usually find themselves floating in white negative space so that I can really bring the viewers attention to the little details existing within the folds of leaves, flowers and stems of the living beauties. When I decided to paint these bright persimmons, I felt like they needed to be held. Painting one wasn’t enough, and a few floating on their own didn’t feel quite right either.
I have some very talented maker friends in my life and one of those friends is Keith Freeman. He’s one of those people who doesn’t really aknowledge how incredibly talented he is at just about anything he puts his creative eye and hands to making. I think he made this bowl in one of his first ever pottery class, maybe only a few times on the wheel. It’s one of my favorite dishes and it felt like a real honor to get to paint someone else’s artwork. The bowl seemed to be the right kind of vessel for holding these little bursts of joy.
I didn’t discover persimmons until later in life. I feel like we didn’t even see them in grocery stores around where I grew up outside of D.C.. When I first moved to New Zealand in my later 20s, I wwoofed on a very cool farm called Wilderland, in the Coromandel peninsula. It was the very first time I saw avocados growing and also got to taste my first persimmons. Some of the farmers were slicing up the juicy fruits into thick slices and then dehydrating them overnight, which turned them into the sweetest chewiest natural candy. Their juice tastes like sugar water, and there are so many creative and diverse ways of enjoying them. There are two kinds of persimmons that are most popular here in the States- fuyu and hachiya. The fuyu variety can be enjoyed as is whether soft or firm, in a salad or as a dessert. The hachiya are much more astringent in flavor until they are soft and ripe. I chose to paint the fuyu variety for their brilliant orangey color and soft furry leaves, almost tomato like in shape but not quite.
The hachiya variety is popular for making hoshigaki, which I have yet to try but definitely hold as a future goal. You dry the persimmons by peeling, hanging and then massaging them over a pretty long period of time to move their sugars around. If anyone reading this has made these before, feel free to leave some lessons learned and tips in the comments below!
I painted this painting in February and March of 2022 when the dark days of winter were getting to me and I needed some brightness in my life. I definitely added a lot of colored pencil on top of the watercolor, so that then I could get that sort of chalky sheen that persimmons take on, while still holding the brilliance of the orange-red depth below.
A dear friend bought the original from me, and it now hangs in her kitchen that has some similar tones surrounding it. It makes me so happy to see where my pieces end up landing, and even more special when it is with someone I love and know.
The first tiny whispers of fall have come in the last few days. A couple of surprise cooler evenings amidst the sticky Virginia heat, and the sun is setting earlier and earlier in the evening. It feels like I didn’t get enough of summer, but at the same time fall is always one of my very favorite times of year. The collective feeling of slowing down, the ability to turn on my oven again without my whole house turning into a sauna (yay baking!), and the coziness of camping in the cooler temps and bonfire time shared with friends and loved ones. August has always felt like the end of summer even though temperatures will remain warm for quite some time. I hope you can soak up the tomatoes and cucumbers and eggplants galore, while getting excited for persimmons and squashes and root vegetables coming soon…
Current Musings and Inspirations…
I’ve started an affiliate program for restaurants and retail spaces that are showcasing my artwork! If you have a public space and are interested in being a part of it, here’s how- You get a unique QR code that can be displayed by my artwork that will take people directly to my site to that particular piece so they can purchase it (or any other works in my shop). Every sale made from your QR code gives you 10% profit on all sales. If you don’t already have artwork hanging but are interested in having some, please reach out for a special offer on that as well. This feels like a more sustainable and equitable way of getting my artwork out in the world instead of a typical wholesale model of print buying. Please reach out with any questions and if you are interested in becoming an affiliate.
I’ve been thinking a lot on how we resource ourselves…to be healthy, happy, kind people in the world to ourselves and to others. How so many little and big supportive rituals can play a role in how we feel in the day to day, and especially when faced with surprising obstacles or circumstances that can knock us off our smooth sailing ships. I’m a big fan of hearing about other peoples rituals and ways they care for themselves, so I thought I’d share a little bit about mine.
I’m very fortunate to have a solo morning ritual that truly is the foundation to my every day. I’ve been doing some form of this for over 10 years and the actions feel like a big part of who I am and how I show up in the world. I start my day with meditation, whether it’s 10/15/30 minutes of sitting quietly, or something guided from insight timer. I then drink warm lemon water while I make up some decaf coffee (can’t really do daily caffeine anymore, just too sensitive!) and get to sipping my coffee while I write my morning pages. I’ve written morning pages forever. I think I first read The Artists Way in high school or college, and so ever since the idea was planted in my head, I’ve just never stopped. There have been seasons of less frequency or not as many words put to the page. I’m not very strict about the length or what I write, more just that I have the practice of writing something every day. I usually end up writing about my dreams or what I have planned for the day ahead, and a new practice i’ve started recently is adding in daily gratitudes followed by daily desires.
Some other ways I resource myself creatively, emotionally and physically-
Ishtara- I’ve mentioned this movement practice in previous newsletters, and I’ve just joined a new continuing series. I can’t recommend this practice enough. It has been a huge creative and exploratory space for me, and is so complimentary to any other creative endeavors you may be practicing. My dear friend Kathi is an incredible teacher and space holder, and you can learn more about how she approaches her work by clicking the link above.
Working with a coach- I get to work with the incredible and wise Chetna Mehta of Mosaic Eye. Chetna specifically works with creative women and non-binary change makers. She has really helped me form a kind of sacredness around my art practice and definitely helped in my moments of low self-worth and lack of motivation.
I am fortunate enough to know quite a few coaches in my life! Here are some other brilliant coaches depending on what you are seeking support around-
Katherine Brooks (specializes in coaching for men)
Rob Douglas (my husband! Who I am excited to share is now facilitating full-time, focusing primarily on offering support within the pillars and framework of safety, trust and rest.)
Getting into nature- This one feels like maybe the most important resource of all. Every day I go outside and move through nature. Even when it’s SO dang hot, or raining or really cold. It’s important for me to take regular studio breaks from whatever I am working on in my painting practice, and being outside and refocusing on plants and trees and the sky are all good for the eyes and for the spirit.
Community- I am VERY lucky and grateful to have an incredible community of friends where I live. Sharing time with people I love is crucial to a happy heart.
What are the ways that you practice taking care of yourself? What are your go-to ways of resourcing yourself? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Maui Relief Print-
Thank you for all of the support coming in for Maui United Way via ordering one of my pineapple prints. I’ll be sending all sale profits to Maui United Way, as well as 10% of all other sale profit from my shop for the rest of August and September.
Stay tuned for a FALL SALE announcement coming next month. If interested in the Persimmons as a giclee print, you can check it out here.
Thank you for reading through! A joyful easing into this next quarter of the year to you all.