Strawberry is the quintessential flavor of the summer: is the sunshine and the ice cream, it is the fruit of long walks in the beach of the woods, it is a fruit for lovers, for friends, for early sunny mornings, for longer days of love and fun.
After the many events of the spring and summer (which I was so happy and very busy) I am back to my Series of “Our Garden of Everyday” to add to the already popular giclee prints available for sale.
Throughout the summer, I was stealing time here and there to keep a record of the flowers and fruits of my garden: sketching and drawing but without so much time to actually paint the garden’s fruits! Well, now it is time to honker down and paint and this is the first illustration of the summer’s garden: Strawberry – Fragaria Ananassa
I have a big strawberry plant in my garden, the first of the plants I got for this summer. Using a lovely pink sack (a present from my friend Dawn), I planted my strawberries thinking that it will remain small. What I’ve got is a huge plant with many little children, some of them are already with friends… and it is because this is such an extraordinary fruit!
According to the website at the University of Illinois, strawberries are part of our stories and traditions across the world: In some parts of Bavaria, country folk practice the annual rite of spring by tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. The elves, who love this berry, will help them to have fertile reproduction. For some others, when you share a double strawberry with someone, it is inevitable to fall into passionate love!
In this botanical illustration I wanted to bring out the aphrodisiac effects of this fruit as I weave a sort of I ❤ U message with the strawberry as the heart of it all. It is definitively a fruit of seduction, and Anne Boleyn had one beautiful necklace pendant in the shape of a hearty strawberry. And this fruit has been celebrated in our traditions and literature: from the early medieval manuscripts, illuminated by this marvelous berry, to the plays of Shakespeare who used strawberries to decorate Desdemona’s handkerchief in Othello.
I was also fascinated by the beauty of its flower: delicate as a rose, revealing a familiarity with the species of this family. I had two types of strawberries: “Cambridge Favorite” and “Rhapsody”, both with pale whitish pink and strong pink flowers. I also love that it changes colours with the seasons, and now there are these strong reddish leaves, creating a sort of abstract textile composition in the garden. It is an easy plant to keep: sun and water… and it attracts birds, friends and bees…
While writing this post I also learned that the ancient Romans praised the medicinal properties of strawberries as remedies for melancholy, fainting, inflammations, throat infections and diseases of the blood. What is truly remarkable is that the strawberry is packed with Vitamin C and managese, and some studies have shown that its consumption increase sugar regulation and anti-inflamatory properties.
Long life to the beautiful and seductive strawberry!