Bright white tents mimic the clouds in the endlessly blue sky, shading shoppers dressed in colorful clothes handling a varied assortment of vegetables, the harvest after a long growing season, ready to pop in a pan and savor the smells of simmering sauces, soups and stews.
Strolling the stalls, I can’t help but be enthralled with the mix of textures and tones, colors and composition begging to be put on paper with pencil and paint. I photograph woven baskets from Africa, stacked one upon the other, handles mimicking twining vines. Good gourd! Look at those bumpy pumpkins, pimples and puckers creating a mottled surface sure to challenge an artist intent on accurate rendering. But the colors! Oranges, reds and yellows, greenish-blue, cream and pink! When did pumpkins become drenched in such a palette? Crookneck squash, pattypan, chayote, shiny aubergine, baskets of scarlet tomatoes — I’m choosing paint tubes in my head already.
Moving on, drawn to the crackling hiss of hatch chilis, roasting in a rotating cage, radiating aromas that scent the scene. Autumn is imminent when blistering poblanos tantalize the taste buds with the promise of a pot of hearty green chili.
Stall tenders probably wonder why I’m photographing their produce — aren’t artists always anxious to capture their impressions to save for a future masterpiece? With the images in my camera, bounty in my market bag, inspiration in my mind, I head home ready to create —good food, captivating paintings and a home that, like the farmer’s market, offers a delight to the senses.