Friday, January 6, 2012

Nature And the Russians Have the Upper Hand

Winter skies from my hilltop, as this one two nights ago, implode my senses. They are the jewels which make living in this old house a fair trade-off. They give me visual orgasms. In the last moments before sinking behind the hills San Francisco Bay takes on all the colors spread in the canopy above it. Yet I've never painted even one of them. I think I feel inadequate to the task. Nature has the upper hand. Instead I paint people and old buildings and sunflowers. Musing on this picture I realized it is the same color pallette as many of my sunflower watercolors. How curious.
Yesterday I chatted with my very Russian pilates teacher, Yulia, about the fact that we have Peter the Great to thank for our crops of sunflowers even though the seeds came from America, the Indians having long cultivated it. I had heard this on NPR driving to the gym. Seems sunflower oil was not on the forbidden list of oils during Lent in the Russian Orthodox church and so the clever Russians hybridized the plant to satisfy their palettes and produce the lovely oil which is today used all over the world. Virtually all American potato chips are now fried in sunflower oil.


Pat'nJomama said...

another attempt to "post a comment"...this is my fourth

Pat'nJomama said...

So, let's try again: Bonnie, your comments re: sunflowers were news to me. Here I thought the only plants imported from Russia are the Russian Thistle, aka: tumbleweeds and Russian Olive, super-hardy ornamental, excellent tree for bird sanctuary and considered a noxious weed in Nevada. We have our purposely-planted trees here on the hill above Fernley. They have deep brown, smooth bark, long thorns, grey-green leaves, lovely sweet yellow blossoms in spring and bear heavy clusters of beige-colored "olives" in fall. The birds love them.
Let's see if this one goes through. Pat Jesch