View Purchase OptionsOil painting on canvas by Kathy Shute, Artist
Description by Heather Rice, Sustainability Educator
“Spring was brushed onto the Anza Borrego Desert landscape in an astonishing palette of color during this springtime hike. This cluster of succulents and flowers presented themselves as an unlikely bouquet, pushing their way up through breaks in the arid soil. Following ample winter precipitation that the parting clouds allude to here, there is a narrow interval when the desert enters full bloom and an explosion of life ensues!
Many annual plants grow from hardy dormant seeds that only germinate after rain moistens them, and then bloom briefly before retreating from the unrelenting summer sun to come.
The resilient prickly pear is a less cautious plant, which has the gift of being able to reproduce either through the help of pollinators, or on its’ own – by dropping a pad into fertile soil. Its springtime mission may be less urgent, but is no less fervent than that of the other flowers, with pink blossoms springing from every pad.
This cactus has a prominent position in the painting that parallels its ecological niche. As a remarkably well-adapted species in the Southwest and a formidable, spine-clad photo synthesizer, other species often congregate around it.
A cactus wren, aptly chosen as the Arizona state bird, is comfortably perched on a pad between the security of the spines. Wrens are at home in the prickly pear and they often make several nests in one cactus, with some serving as decoys to confuse predators.
The prickly pear also provides a “succulent” treat for those willing to undergo the adventure of removing the spines– an art the coyotes and foxes have mastered. Native Americans have also used prickly pears for medicinal, domestic and culinary purposes. These uses have spread worldwide and remain active today in the Southwest, Mexico and in parts of Latin America.
The pads (nopales in Spanish) and the fruits (“figs” or tunas in Spanish) are eaten plain and as jam and distilled into spirits, and are also taken as an anti-inflammatory agent. This beneficial plant is one of the desert’s most versatile and pleasant surprises!
Shute captured this 2009 spring vignette in the Anza Borrego Desert in California while hiking with her husband and their friends, who enjoyed photographing the blooming landscape.” – Heather Rice, Sustainability Educator
Springtime Succulence is available on mugs, note cards, and other personal gifts in my Gift Shop.
My vendor for quality print reproductions is Fine Art America – a well-respected art reproduction company. They utilize a process called Giclee, which captures the details of my original paintings.
Springtime Succulence reproductions can purchased on canvas, museum quality prints, posters, and more. Artwork can be purchased in any quantity and includes options for custom matting and framing.