Food Challenge

Pears & Fish


There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yet, Pears are one of the worlds oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. Thanks to their versatility and long storage life, pears were a valuable and much-desired commodity among trading routs of the ancient world. Homer lauded them as a “gift of the gods.” Pomona, goddesss of Fruit, was cherished by Romans. Evident in the works of Renaissance Masters, Impressionists, and Modernists alike, pears have long been an elegant still-life muse for artists. In popular culture, the pear tree was immortalized alongside a partridge in 18th-century Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The tradition of Pears for Christmas from Harry and David. First, they are grown in the Oregon and Washington region. The Cascade Range is part of the Ring of Fire, the mountains that ring the Pacific Rim. Many of the Northwest’s snow-capped peaks are dormant or still active volcanoes. The principle growing areas in the region are literally in the shadow of these mountains. The brothers branded their luxurious pears “Royal Riviera” and by 1934 created the gourmet gifts.

I was delighted to see an open box of pears on display at a friend’s house that was otherwise free from Christmas decor. Ah, pears. Nostalgia of childhood holidays waiting for the box of pears from Harry and Davids - my father’s Christmas bonus. (Maybe later, it was the fruit-of-the-month.) I made a nice photograph of the pears.

My first attempt of food for the Quarentini Painter‘s challenge was the box of pears. A spherical collection set in a grid, pears with delicate wrapping paper and one still in gold the subject. A mix of textures and shapes, I thought an interesting composition. While I enjoyed making the painting, the use of gold watercolor paint at the end disappointed. The prize ended up a dark void. Unsatisfactory. Hence, the second, fish, food painting followed.

From my sketchbook:

Papers of green

Cardboard Browns

Foil of Gold

Shapely Pears

Of Ripening




Recipe for a New Year

Take 365 days, trim off all the old memories of hate and discord. Soak and wash thoroughly in plenty of love and courage. Cut these days into 12 parts, cooking only one day at a time. Be sure the fire is hot with enthusiasm and your kettle is bright with hope.

Season each kettleful with some kindness for others and add patience, for small trials that come up every day.

Add a little earnestness and willingness. Serve with smiles, praise and plenty of heartwarming joy, with your chin up. - Unknown

Watercolor painting of Harry & David Christmas Pears and collage of famous artist pears (Cezanne, Van Gogh, etc):

Box of Christmas Pears

wc/p, 24” x 18”

Pears painted by famous artists

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