By the studio door we have a giant banana plant, whose huge green leaves unfurl every spring from the most unpromising stumps. The storm in the early hours of Monday morning brought a tiny casualty – a banana flower head, complete with rings of tiny green bananas, snapped off. It’s been a great source of interest in the studio – the flower head is astonishingly heavy, and the stem must be the softest, most velvety thing in the plant kingdom. Artist Joe Madeira, who has his studio in The Art Cabin downstairs, drew the banana flower then passed it on to me – then I did a quick painting after which we ceremonially sliced into the flower to see what was within. It’s fascinating to see the rings of tiny embryonic bananas, bright yellow when cut then swiftly becoming purple and black. And the sap it exudes is as sticky as PVA.
The final step was to try some print-making – I inked it up with goache and took a few impressions. The results were rather fuzzy, but it was a good experiment to try. I’ve used all sorts of vegetables for printing in the past, and the best without any doubt is okra. So now you know!