Monica’s Persimmons & Scarce Swallowtail Butterfly, ©2010 Kelly Leahy Radding


While I was drawing the study of the olive branch in Monica’s Orchard, this butterfly ‘flew by’ me. I dropped my pad & pencil, grabbed my camera and followed the butterfly. It went to a flowering hedge where I took some photos, and then flew to a neighboring tree.  A large tree, laden with this creamy yellowy -orangey -greenish fruit. Some of the fruit had ripened and fallen, splatting on the ground. Behind the tree was a little curving stone staircase that led to a quiet, private nook in the garden. It is a picture I tucked away into my mind’s eye and my memory. When it came time to choose the subject for my final botanical painting, I was perusing my photographs. When I came to the pictures of the tree and its fruit I knew I had found my subject. And of course I had to include the butterfly that led me there.

The harder part was figuring out just what the tree was! The telling clue was the unique sepals attached to the fruit. Where had I seen that before? I know, in the ‘Fruiti’ botanical art book I bought at the Uffizi book shop. Sure enough, it was a Diospyros variety, which by the way means “the fruit of gods” in ancient Greek. I don’t know about that, as I have never actually eaten a persimmon, but I’ll take their word for it. They sure looked luscious enough to be a fruit the gods would like!

I took a break in the middle of working on this painting to finish a painting I had started of the heirloom apple ‘Granniwinkle’ so that I could enter it into our ASBA/New York Horticultural Society show, along with the painting I did at the beginning of the year of the heirloom shell beans.

Here is the finished painting –

heirloom apple ‘Granniwinkle’, ©2010 Kelly Leahy Radding