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My Love Affair With Squash

November 8, 2011

My mother asked me the other day when I was going to write another blog…I told her that I didn’t have anything relevant to write about…and then it hit me.

I have not entered very many art competitions but every one that I have entered, save one, I have entered a painting of squash.  I just realised this today….never even thought of it before.  The funny thing is, every time I have entered a competition I have won in some category.  I wonder if this is a sign 🙂

I absolutely love squash.  I love their shapes, their variety, their colour.  I love their texture, their smell and their taste.  But most of all, I love to paint them….especially on gessoed board.  That amazingly smooth surface lends itself to the linear and textural description of the squash…pretty much any squash.

This painting to the right is called Celebrating Harvest and is one of the first paintings I entered into a juried show.  It won ‘Best In Show’ for artist not in a gallery…I was happy with that.  That was the beginning of my love affair.  Since then

A Study In Orange

I have painted a ton of squash paintings and chances are I will paint a ton more.

This little painting is a 10″ x 10″ Oil painted from a squash that I grew in my garden.  Many of the squash I paint are grown in my garden….I have a real attachment to their growth and eventual maturity.  It could be said that I baby my squash.  I have even started raising Mason bees to ensure the outcome.

This past weekend we had our vegetarian dinner club dinner at my place.  The way our club works is that the host chooses the menu, sends the recipes to the rest of the group and waits for the group to arrive on the designated night, gifts in hand.  The recipes have to be ones that no one has made before.    It is a real adventure and very satisfying on many levels.  Well, you will never guess what my theme was for this get together?…SQUASH!  Yum, not one dud recipe.  But, then why would I think there would be?  We ate squash after all.

The lowly squash has quite a history.  My friend brought a recipe book with her simply titled ‘The Squash’.  In this book is written the history, folklore and ancient recipes of the squash (and I mean ancient).

Did you know that every part of the squash is edible?…nothing goes to waste.  Did you know that ‘it has long been known for its refreshing and emollient properties, and for its use as a laxative, diuretic and sedative, as a tonic and to combat infections of the digestive tract and remedy disorders of the heart and kidneys.’  (The Squash by Arneo Nizzoli, 1996)  It has been documented for its medicinal use with acute infections such as enteritis, dysentery and typhoid fever.  It was used to fight cholera in the early 20th century and in traditional Chinese medicine  is viewed as a cleanser and anti-inflammatory, soothing coughs and bronchial asthma.  It is also said to be a potent aphrodisiac….that ought to gain some attention.  Scientists say it is because of the high concentration of potassium and magnesium that it is seen to be effective for the digestive tract.  Go figure….  This book is a gem on many levels…photography, history/trivia and of course the recipes.

All this talk of squash is making me hungry…making me want to get into my studio and pull out the cad orange!


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