Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Best Gifts

The best gifts are those that come when least expected.  A couple months ago I was shopping at the Norwich Meadows Farm stand at the greenmarket.  After inquiring about an unusual looking artichoke on display by the cash registers, I found myself the lucky recipient of it.
Of course my primary interest in such a cool vegetable specimen was aesthetic.
For most of my subjects, I stop at only the one drawing.  But out of gratitude for this surprise gift, I felt compelled to make the most of it.  So I kept drawing...
 … and drawing - until I had an image I was truly proud of.
study alongside regular globe artichoke
Some gifts just add to the recipient’s store of material possessions, the best ones can actually improve the recipient.  Thanks to the generous guys at Norwich, I was motivated to push my drawing skills to a higher level.  
In the days I spent observing it, I noticed the artichoke was slowly splitting apart.  At first I thought I thought it was deteriorating, rotting from the inside, but the slightly stale but otherwise inoffensive aroma suggested otherwise.  It opened slowly, like a bloom and it occurred to me that this may not be some heirloom breed, or deformed artichoke, but an artichoke flower - something I had never seen before.  My suspicion was confirmed days later, when my gift blossomed, revealing a heart of teensy purple petals.

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