young vincent

I sketched this from the only authenticated photo of Vincent van Gogh, taken when he was 19. While he famously recorded himself in many selfie paintings, he apparently refused to sit for photographs as an adult. He didn’t even want to see photos of his family members.

He wrote to his sister Willemien on September 19, 1889, “I myself still find photographs frightful and don’t like to have any, especially not of people whom I know and love. These portraits, first, are faded more quickly than we ourselves, while the painted portrait remains for many generations. Besides, a painted portrait is a thing of feeling made with love or respect for the being represented.”

platanus racemosa

I took myself down to a nearby (dry) creek and sat in the shade of a California sycamore for a while. This is my favourite local native tree, with its mottled leopard bark and floppy clown-glove leaves. I’d plant one at our place if we had the water, but alas our block is too dry for a sycamore to thrive here.

psidium cattleyanum

Our strawberry guava tree is busting out all over with fruit in varying stages of ripeness. We usually leave them for the birds to eat, though sometimes I’ll gather enough to extract a cup or two of juice. We preferred the lemon guava, but sadly that tree died after a few spectacular crops.

When looking up its Latin name, I learned that Psidium cattleyanum is (a) named for English horticulturist William Cattley (1788 – 1835) and (b) considered the most invasive plant in Hawaii. So many unintended consequences, when we move biota around the world.