First snowdrops

First snowdrops

“Little bulbs that would be overlooked in the peak season have their day.  The snowdrops are improbable if not preposterous.”
— Beatrix Potter, from Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell

Beatrix Potter's rare painting of snowdrops

Beatrix Potter’s rare painting of snowdrops

It turns out that Beatrix Potter loved snowdrops and often mentioned them in her letters, but she seldom painted them.  I realize as I try to sketch and paint snowdrops that I don’t know how to paint white-colored things!

Pencil sketch oof snowdrops

Pencil sketch of snowdrops

Ink sketch of snowdrops

Ink sketch of snowdrops

 

 

 

 

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Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts

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I can’t remember eating Brussels sprouts as a child, but now they’ve become part of our traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well as a favorite winter vegetable.  I like them best sliced thin and sautéed in walnut or olive oil.  But I’d never tried eating them raw.  So I was intrigued by this recipe for a tossed raw salad from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:

Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Cheddar

1/2 c toasted nuts (almonds, pecans or hazelnuts) chopped coarsely
5 oz fresh Brussels sprouts, cut into thin slices
A good squeeze of lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
a few springs of thyme, leaves only, coarsely chopped (I used a bit of dried thyme)
salt and freshly-ground pepper
1 tart, crisp eating apple, quartered, cored, and sliced thin
1 oz cheddar, grated or crumbled

Toss well.  Serve immediately.

Brussels sprounts, apple and cheddar salad

Brussels sprouts, apple and cheddar salad

I discovered that I did like raw Brussels sprouts, too.  Next time I make this salad, I will add a few craisins or dried apricots.

Watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

Watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

Another watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

Another watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

I’m trying to stay committed to sketching and painting frequently, but my life feels fragmented and I can wrap my hands around only small projects these days.  I’m happy if I manage to paint some little thing from around the house, like these Brussels sprouts or a kale leaf.  I take heart from Beatrix Potter, who also painted plants, fungi, and small scenes from her immediate garden.  Many of her watercolor paintings are included in a lovely new book, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell.  I found her life and work inspiring.
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Watercolor sketch of kale leaf

Watercolor sketch of kale leaf