Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Teasel Path
Watercolor on paper, 7" x 5"
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Teasel is a strange and interesting plant. It starts in spring with clumps of wrinkled, spearlike leaves, then sends up tall stalks with multiple blooming heads that dry in winter to stiff, sharp spines. Everything about the plant is sharp and prickly, much like cactus.
I'll admit, before I did this painting I really knew nothing about the plant, except that it is considered an invasive weed. I did a little online research and discovered that teasel was once grown as a crop, first in Europe (where it is native) and later in New York state and Oregon. The prickly heads were used to card wool and fluff blankets, among other uses. One source said that the plant then "escaped" (I love that term) and spread all across the country. So I guess the teasel plants in this painting are the proud descendants of ancestors who escaped captivity many years ago.
And that's my little agricultural lesson for today.