Monday, December 14, 2009

'A' is for Artichoke

I think artichokes have dual personalities.  A rather regal looking vegetable it is at home in elegant surroundings, or can fit into a relaxed party atmosphere as part of a dip recipe... which is why I painted part of it propped against the rich reddish toned jacquard fabric and the head resting on the playful stripes.

The Artichoke originates from the Mediterranean region and was brought to California in the 1600's by the Spanish.  It took over 300 years before this member of the thistle family gained sufficient prominence in culinary circles to make it a viable cash crop.  In the 1920s artichoke fields were planted just south of San Francisco and soon became a better investment than sugar beets for farmers in the region.

Marilyn Monroe put Castroville, California and artichokes on the map when she was crowned 'Artichoke Queen' in 1948.  Eighty percent of all the artichokes grown commercially are from Castroville.  I wonder how many chachkas with Marilyn's image painted on them are for sale in Castorville?  Maybe my next painting should be of her holding an artichoke...

$150.00, 9x12 oil on canvas 

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