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View Full Version : Cactus and succulent series: Prickly Pear Profile


Katherine T
08-15-2007, 06:00 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2007/48045-web_Prickly-Pear-profilev2.jpg

This is "Prickly Pear Profile"
It's 7" x 5", coloured pencils on Arches Hot Press

I can't remember where I came across these particular pricklies but it was either in Yuma or at the Mission San Xavier del Bac in Arizona on the big San Diego/Albuquerque road trip last July.

I do open hatching very lightly to get the optical effect. I need to find a way of getting my prickles to be more prickly. I'm not a fan of indentation but I think I might have to go down that route.

Diane Cutter
08-15-2007, 10:25 AM
I really like the 'airy' look of your pencil work inspite of a lot of color build-up and layering.

Having picked 'tunas' to eat on many occasions, I think these look just right prickly. Maybe a few very short white scratches with a few very blackish lines, stategically placed...

Diane

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 11:14 AM
Thanks Diane - I didn't know you could eat them - and why are they called tunas?

Enchanted
08-15-2007, 11:15 AM
The thorns are normally quite straight. Here is a reference photo closeup of a typical Prickly Pear Paddle with Fruit. (http://qdig.sourceforge.net/qdig/qdig-demo/qdig-files/converted-images/med_A-PricklyPearFruit.jpg) I think using an ordinary white pencil - Prismacolor works well - you should be able to draw those thorns on top of the already applied color.

I see we're posting at the same time.

The fruit can be found in grocery stores where I live. But of course the tiny thorns have been roasted off. In really dry times (drought) the cactus paddles become life-saving feed for cattle - after the ranch hands burn off all the thorns using flame throwers. The fruit is sometimes used to make jellies and I presume jams too. Flavored with a bit of hot chile, it's quite the odd treat from normal fruit jellies.
:wave:

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 11:23 AM
So how do they vary from the cactus proper? Are they like baby cactus and they've not got tough and fibrous yet. (Not that I know cacti are but I imagine they are! :rolleyes:)

Enchanted
08-15-2007, 11:29 AM
So how do they vary from the cactus proper?


I presume you're asking about the fruit (tuna, in spanish)? They are the seed pods that form - always on the outer edge of the paddles. Before they become harvestable for eating they go through a flowering phase. The flowers are gorgeous usually, and can be a variety of colors from this brilliant red example (http://www.garden.org/images/App/regional/garden5-2.jpg), yellows, and even fuschia colors.

When people transplant the cactus to places where they receive a regular watering, they can get huge - sprawl over large areas - whereas left to the desert they grow much more slowly in the sparse rainfall.

:wave:

NativeAmericanArt
08-15-2007, 11:34 AM
I'm always learning something on WC! I never heard of these fruit. How did they get the name of "prickly pear paddles"? Is it because they look like pears, but are flatter (like a paddle)? I assume they grow on cactus.

Katherine, am I to assume, also, that you are doing a series of cp drawings involving cacti? What an interesting choice. Your "prickly pears" have been done very nicely with interesting color choices.

Lois

I posted at the same time as you, Enchanted. The flowers on that cactus are beautiful! I didn't even know cacti have flowers on them.

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 11:35 AM
Wow! Most of the ones I saw were all in Arizona and were in areas where there were buildings but it was unlikely they got watered much. They were quite profuse but not that big.

In San Diego Old Town I saw some that were plump and had huge flowers on them. But they looked a bit more 'cultivated'.

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 11:36 AM
So if they're green does that mean they're new fruit and then ripen and go those fuschia and crimson colours as they age? That's what I assumed but wasn't sure whether I was right

Enchanted
08-15-2007, 11:41 AM
I'm always learning something on WC! I never heard of these fruit. How did they get the name of "prickly pear paddles"? Is it because they look like pears, but are flatter (like a paddle)? I assume they grow on cactus.
Char

Prickly Pear IS a cactus - here is another photo of a large patch growing somewhere in the Sonoran desert (http://www.grandarizona.com/arizona57.jpg) - you can see the saguaro cactus in the photo too. When the photo was taken the cactus wasn't bearing the fruits. And you can see why I referred to the "paddles." I don't know if that's a term everyone uses but I think it's appropriate when speaking of the cactus itself, and not just the fruit that grows out of the paddles in season.

So if they're green does that mean they're new fruit and then ripen and go those fuschia and crimson colours as they age? That's what I assumed but wasn't sure whether I was right

The pears are red when they first begin sprouting from the paddles. They then flower, and it's the flowers that vary in color. Once the flowers dry up and drop off the fruit goes to seed and can then be harvested and eaten. It's not much different than say an apple tree. First the tree gets buds, the buds flower, and then the buds grow to be apples.
:wave:

vhere
08-15-2007, 11:48 AM
this is great Katherine :)


I wonder how the resist that watercolour painters use would be any use for reserving the prickles? you could then scribble right up to it. It might work.

I've eaten prickly pears in Malta - they are quite nice, sort of cross between water melon and strawberry to eat .

Mikki Petersen
08-15-2007, 02:41 PM
Those prickles look pretty painful to me. Another beautiful piece, Katherine.

Mikki

sassybird
08-15-2007, 02:53 PM
The fruit is yummy:) I think you did a good job on this one. Staightening out those thorns should not be too much of a problem. If the prismacolor doesn't work right then try a white china marker. You can sharpen that. I love the colors in this piece.

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 03:20 PM
I'll try and dig out my reference shots - my fruit were all different colours - that's what I found interesting.

Diane Cutter
08-15-2007, 03:58 PM
Thanks Diane - I didn't know you could eat them - and why are they called tunas?
I don't know the origin of the name. It's probably a Yaqui Indian word... (and not to be confused with the tuna fish which is 'atun' in Spanish). I've also heard it referred to as 'higos de tuna' ('tuna figs')...

Like Charissa says, the fruit is yummy but it is full of lots of seeds which you carefully munch around and swallow... no spines though. To eat it you need to carefully peel the outside layer off, avoiding the fuzzy little spines which are worse than the bigger ones.

Diane

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 04:57 PM
Diane - I'm useless at peeling an orange so I guess I'll pass on this one!

Enchanted
08-15-2007, 08:25 PM
... no spines though. To eat it you need to carefully peel the outside layer off, avoiding the fuzzy little spines which are worse than the bigger ones.

Diane

I said that you "roast" the spines off. What I should have said is you "singe" them off. People do roast the fruits too before eating - but to remove the spines you need to pass the fruit over an open flame - or better yet - pass the flame over the "pear" before you try and pick it off the paddle!

:evil:

Old Tex
08-15-2007, 10:58 PM
The patch that Enchanted showed in the photo from the Sonoran desert is very typical of what grows in west Texas. They grow everywhere, sometimes acres of them. And in fact, some people use them in their southwest landscapes around their homes. I always wondered what they did about getting under there and pulling weeds. Can't remember when they flower, but we always enjoy driving out that way and seeing them covered with beautiful red, pink or yellow flowers.

Barbara Art
08-20-2007, 04:29 PM
Katherine, this prickly pear portrait has a beautiful glow. It must look really exotic in London! I've never eaten the fruit, but we have prickly pear pads pickled in jars here in New Hampshire, plus, once in awhile, fresh ones (spines already removed). They aren't fibrous at all, in fact, they're smooth and almost glutinous. They make a semi-authentic addition to our faux-Mexican fare.
Barbara

MKathleen
08-21-2007, 06:27 PM
Hi Katherine, lovely work I always enjoy seeing colored pencil and pastel. I live in the Arizona high desert and we have prickly pear cacti all over the place. I even have some in my backyard which I started from parent plants. Two of my starts have fruit on them now. Yes, the fruit is green and as the summer goes on turns crimson. You can make jelly, from the fruit--the deer and havolina love the fruit. If not picked it will soon dry up much like a fig would. I have even had prickley pear tequila and wine.
Kathy

SunsetSue
08-26-2007, 02:12 PM
Simply beautiful.