I remember my dad painting in the ’60’s. He’d set up his oils and easel in our family room. I remember the smell of those oils and learning to distinguish burnt sienna and umber from raw sienna and umber, viridian, ocher, crimson and cerulean. I loved the feel of the half-dried oils on my fingers, and the way my dad stroked the paint on the canvas. Not gentle, delicate strokes, but broad brush strokes and layers of thick paint. I remember touching the finished canvasses, the paint, still pliable. My dad would never get mad. “You can’t really mess up oil“, he’d say. “If you make a mistake, just add another layer!”
I think pears may be just about the most perfect fruit to paint. The feminine shape, the rich colors, an homage to Seurat’s pointillism, all in one package.
While at the PMA Trade Show this past weekend, I got to sample lots of fruits and veggies. When visiting a trade show, you meet passionate people…really passionate people who are knowledgeable about one thing. Robert Schueller from Melissa’s Produce, isn’t just knowledgeable about one thing, he’s crazy knowledgeable about every exotic fruit and vegetable, as well as the garden varieties. I have to say pears are probably my favorite fall fruit, for cooking, baking and just eating. Visually, I am drawn to the tiny oval Seckel and the Forelle. Both are beautifully speckled green and russet with painterly sienna accents, and super sweet! But then there was the stately Starkrimson, tall, burgundy colored with a lovely fragrance that caught my nose. The poet in me couldn’t wait to try the Concorde. Easily the sexiest of all the pears, tall, elegant with a tiny blush of crimson. She is described as “earthy with a hint of vanilla“, just the kind of girl you’d like to meet!You’re probably already familiar with Bosc, Bartlett and Anjou pears. But it’s worth seeking out other varieties as well. We had a pear tasting with the pears I brought home. I think the best way to sample the more unusual varieties of pears is naked. My favorite cheese with pears is any kind of blue, but my favorite blue is Stilton. Pears are my number one choice for dessert…Poires Belle Helene, when I’m in a sweet mood, and with cheese when I’m feeling like something a little more savory. I love them in a Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Pecans. I’ll be making a Pear and Frangipane Tarte and some Pear based cocktails soon!