Carnival Squash – only a vegetable but…

December 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

In the local market, among the massive pumpkin display and decorative gourds for sale, was a very small variety of squash that caught my eye. I brought one home to admire nature’s handiwork. The label was useful for identification, and I thought that I had never noticed this before now.  Read on. I learned that it was developed in 1991 and later, commercially grown. At my age, this is recent and new.

Carnival Squash is a cross between an acorn and sweet dumpling squash, it’s a round, mini-sized winter squash with a deeply indented stem area with skin that is white or yellow, with green jagged stripes. It is very sweet in flavor with tender light orange flesh. Squashes of the Cucurbita pepo acorn group were domesticated by Native Americans then later made their way to Europe and Asia, but I wanted to know more about this.

This is an excerpt from an article by Native American foods expert Lois Ellen Frank, “History on a Plate…..” on “Corn, beans and squash, called the Three Sisters by many tribes, serve as key pillars in the Native American diet and is considered a sacred gift from the Great Spirit. Together, the plants provide complete nutrition, while offering an important lesson in environmental cooperation. Corn draws nitrogen from the soil, while beans replenish it. Corn stalks provide climbing poles for the bean tendrils, and the broad leaves of squashes grow low to the ground, shading the soil, keeping it moist, and deterring the growth of weeds.”

This squash is a descendant of squashes native to Mexico and was developed and introduced to the market in 1991 by plant breeder Ted Supernak of Harris Seeds (founded 1879) in North America with the intent to improve on the Sweet Dumpling Squash.  The color vibrance in the rind is the result of seasonal temperature variations with warmer temperatures producing squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes.  

The Dumpling variety specifically was first developed in 1976 by Sakata Seed Corporation of Yokohama, Japan. At the time it was a popular practice in Japanese squash breeding to take larger popular American squash varieties and breed them to be smaller in size. These are more home garden and home chef friendly since they grow on shorter trailing vines and benefit from being trellised to keep fruits off the ground.

It takes a plant nearly three months to grow one petite squash, a treasure from soil.  I am grateful for all the labor it takes to bring this to my table that includes germinating seed, planting, watering, harvesting, packaging, shipping, and transport to my market.   

It was delicious roasted.  Think about where your food comes from, when and how did it arrive in America.  There is so much to know. Be thankful. Stay curious.   

Green Spring Gardens Sketch Club

February 20, 2020 § Leave a comment


I could have drawn this for hours, never tiring at looking at the dramatic fold of parts and edges

October 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

study - succulent

It is fun feeling scared while drawing …. a wolverine’s skull

November 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

wolverine skull

Scared, no, terrified! I’ve been thinking about what I could draw as a metaphor for what is lost in our culture? Recently I watched a Discovery Channel program about scientists finding skeletal bones of a dinosaur even larger than a T-Rex. It was amazing how much effort many designers, artists and scientists spent creating computer models and sizing missing skeletal parts to complete the entire dinosaur model. It walked the earth and now it’s disappeared, lost to our culture. Searching my computer I found photographs taken at the Alaskan Sea Life Discovery Center, a wonderful experience. I think that this one is a wolverine. More bone drawings to come.

take photographs whenever you’re inspired…to use as reference material for your artwork

November 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

very old skates roller skate WC

I had a pair of skates just like these when I was a child. Inspired by the memory, I took a snapshot years ago. When I looked for something to draw, I researched my digital photo library and retrieved this photo. Sometimes the work in my sketchbook is about the drawing, not the painting so I’ve added just a painted leather strap. When you’re inspired by the subject of your work, it is a work from your heart and the effort is with passion because you care about the imagery.

drawing at The Clearing workshop

August 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

20140618 Prismacolors -1Prismacolors in a Stillman & Birn sketchbook

Rust growing on an old stone wall, Stillman & Birn sketchbook with Derwent Graphitints

August 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

20140804 graphitints-1-20140804 rock graphitints no spiral -1
My background as a black and white film photographer has taught me to always look closely for light, shadows and distractions, something out of the ordinary, details. When I photographed the orange rust growing on the old wall, I knew that I needed to see deeper. Experimented with Derwent’s pencils, challenging because are so soft and low contrast. I did add some Inktense color too. I really like the way graphite moves when water is applied. Both the Graphitints and Inktense are water soluble.

September sketchbook

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

20130907 handcycle-1



The challenge was to use some garden sketches and draw an imagined bicycle.  Since riding a bicycle is physically challenging for me, I researched more comfortable ones on the internet and came up with a hand driven bike with a plush seat.  I drew mine as a natural wooden seat, one that can last a lifetime.


My husband was taking photographs for a project and stopping in various locations.  I tagged along and drew wherever we stopped.  I only had to look up for inspiration, power lines everywhere.  The man-altered landscape. One page, 8 ½ x 11″, colored pencil.




20130921 powerlines-1

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