Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Teasel Path

Watercolor on paper, 7" x 5"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
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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.


martha miller said...

Don, your watercolors are superb! When was the last time you did a watercolor series? Interesting that you started this series just before Andrew Wyeth's death. You seem to have taken on some of his energy. In my opinion you are just as accomplished a painter. Your work has more juice and warmth, I think.

Don Gray said...

Martha--I was just looking at your mixed-media portraits in your Etsy store--terrific! I do my own version of "mixed media" by shifting around between oil, acrylic and watercolor. I never know for sure what I'll use when I go in the studio. I did a lot of watercolors years ago, then didn't use it much for a long while. Great getting back to it.

Thank you for those very encouraging comments!

Art By Erika said...

Don I'm glad you're an artist, I think if you were an agriculture professor, your students will only get hired as stand up comedians lol!

For the love of art you tackled this busy image! No amount of detail discourages you from painting anything huh? You have great artistic stamina and appetite, it's very admirable.

Don Gray said...

Erika, if I were an art professor, my students still might only get hired as stand-up comedians!

The image is not as busy as it seems--more the power of suggestion. I'm more into trickery than artistic stamina. Thanks for your note.