Wild Tomato Arts is a celebration of all the surprises hidden in the compost of life.
My art is an outgrowth of all the magic I have experienced since I began living life from my heart’s truth. Living in California, hiking and backpacking in our National Parks and open space preserves, tasting the bounty of our local organic farmers, having my own garden and backyard chickens, volunteering as a goat milker, and becoming a Community Supported Agriculture member have each changed me and how I see the world.
My creations are organic in that they arise spontaneously from my daily life, which is inspired by living in close contact with so much natural beauty. I have a passion for local food systems and land conservation, and my art is the result of my attempts to appreciate what our earth offers us freely in every moment.
What about the name?
The name “Wild Tomato Arts” came to me after my friend Jane told me that her entire garden full of tomatoes had grown from seeds in her compost — that she had never planted any of them, but now had more tomatoes than she could ever eat herself. I didn’t believe her (or I wanted to see for myself) so I went over to her house to tour her garden. Sure enough, it was overflowing with wild tomatoes — some large and close to the ground, others climbing trellises and hanging like little golden dewdrops from the vines.
I also got to taste them, as she had a salsa recipe she wanted to try making while I was there. I took home a small tub of salsa and a few tomatoes, planning to paint them to remember the experience of real life wild tomatoes.
For some reason I can’t explain, the next morning I decided to open the gate of my own garden at home, which I hadn’t looked at for several months. I had harvested the last of my lettuce and let the land lie fallow. But that morning, something led me to open that door.
I was totally shocked to see that a tomato plant, with six, bright red cherry tomatoes, had appeared in my garden. I had definitely not planted it there. And only because of my visit to Jane’s house the day before could I have even imagined that these had come from my own compost. Did I really put those tomatoes in the trash? I couldn’t recall.
But I was smiling ear to ear as I looked at those six perfect tomatoes on the vine, ripe and ready to eat. I snapped a quick photo and picked the tomatoes off. I wanted to make sure I tasted them, to have the memory of their flavor, texture, sweetness, and particular experience on my tongue, part of me forever.
I realized in that moment that everything I create is a miracle like a wild tomato. I don’t often plant the seeds, but I cultivate the compost by living each moment of my life. Sometimes it takes patience for this process to yield something sweet. But I have learned — and continue to learn — to trust the surprises, and be ready for delight, awe and wonder in any moment.
If my art can remind you of the beauty offered by the twists and turns of life, and the miracle of the natural processes occurring constantly and often hidden from view, then I am grateful to have shared it.