art and agriculture
i am in france with my husband, a food lover, which is in many ways a wonderful combination, although things can get a little food-centric around here, as a result of his boundless enthusiasm. that, i will admit, is not much to complain about, but it is sometimes too much, when i would rather be walking the countryside noticing the infinitesimal daily changes of color in the wild scrubland around us, or working on a new composition instead of wiping the kitchen counter after one of his passionate culinary leaps. on the other hand, what i do have going for me is the fact that art and food are never separated by much, here in the land of food, and art, and food-as-art. today’s exhibit: ail rose de lautrec. rose garlic from lautrec, which not only sports the obvious name of a great french painter, but is, almost intrinsically, a work of art. a beautiful rose streaked head of garlic, from which all but the final layer of papery husk has been removed, so that the tight pink cloves can be seen through the last translucent layer of skin. these are then tied into braids like sleighbells, and sold in fall markets, with a shelf life that lasts through to the following spring. they happen to taste strong but not overpowering, and as a result, i think of them as a sort of minor agricultural masterpiece, combining taste, tradition, terroir, art history, and simple beauty. three or four of these cloves will feature tonight at our table, in a daube de boeuf, or provençale beef stew, and there i am again, talking about food when i wanted to talk about art. still, the smell coming from the oven after five hours . . .
rose garlic/ ail rose du tarn (ail rose de Lautrec)
in plant morphology, thorns, spines, and prickles are hard, rigid extensions or modifications of leaves, roots, stems or buds with sharp, stiff ends, and generally serve the same function: physically deterring animals from eating the plant material. in common language, the terms are used more or less interchangeably, but in botanical terms, thorns are derived from shoots, spines are derived from leaves, and prickles are derived from epidermis tissue. who knew?
thorny winter branches from the garrigue
a house divided
steve says i can’t keep posting succulents. i say yes i can. he says no i can’t. i say what if i do. he thinks of an answer. while he’s thinking, i post another succulent. he says something else, but i don’t know what it is, because my fingers are in my ears and i’m saying, “la-la-la.” i may or may not stick out my tongue. i can’t remember.
succulent from my terrace; autignac, france
as a bit of relief from the diabolical thorniness of my recent images, here are some friendly, nonthreatening, comfortable lobed leaves. the chesterfield sofas of mediterranean flora. there are not many of them. enjoy.
pressed mediterranean botanicals
i still have louise bourgeois on my mind. the beauty of this lethal length of blackberry cane reminds me of the delicate menace of bourgeois’ spiders. just as there is something implicitly motherly in her spider sculptures, there is something generous in these thorns, which will eventually help create another crop of soft, round, black fruit next august.
blackberry cane; languedoc, france