Earl Hubbard: The Flat Reality

“Until the advent of the photograph, the mainstream of Western art was intentionally figurative. Photography reproduced figures more successfully than art, potentially a devastating blow to art. Some artists reacted by seeking to redefine the purpose of the figurative as the representation, the emblem, of feelings. Other artists point blank rejected the concept that the figurative was the intention of art, and declared that the intention of art was to be non-figurative. They said art didn’t represent anything outside itself-art is for art’s sake.

For a hundred years artists working in the shadow of the photograph have consciously tried to do what a photograph can’t do, even as the photograph was evolving the capacity to do what the artists were doing. Unconsciously, in fighting the photograph, artists were learning to see in ways artists had never seen before. Primarily, the photograph radically altered how artists see foreshortening and perspective. In effect, photography flattened the image of reality. Without the photograph, there never would have been Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, ,and so on.

One can say that the last one hundred years have been a period of Research and Development in the techniques of art.

This period is now over. Art has now passed over the wall the photograph represents. The challenge is to know what comes after, or beyond, or on the other side, of the photograph. The anatomy of the new art is pattern. There is no foreshortening in pattern. There is no perspective. There are only two dimensions, the dimensions of pattern. Technologies developed over the last hundred years offer to the artist a treasure trove of techniques with which to express his/her view of the new art.

This period is now over. Art has now passed over the wall the photograph represents. The challenge is to know what comes after, or beyond, or on the other side, of the photograph. The anatomy of the new art is pattern. There is no foreshortening in pattern. There is no perspective. There are only two dimensions, the dimensions of pattern. Technologies developed over the last hundred years offer to the artist a treasure trove of techniques with which to express his/her view of the new art.

The art of the last century hasn’t, however, altered the intention of the thousands of years of art that preceded it. Art seeks to affect the viewer.How does the artist of today fulfill that figurative intention? How does the art of today rejoin the mainstream of Western art? That’s the question I seek to answer.”

“Art is as native to the parcel of earth on which it is conceived as the vegetation that naturally grows there. One culture does not transplant to another culture. There are Italians in America but no American-made Italian art. And though we were originally formed as a nation by transplanted Englishmen, we have not produced another English Shakespeare. As potatoes and tobacco are native here, so are comic strips and jazz. As corn is All-American, so is the American movie.

And, as the potatoes, tobacco, and corn plants that were originally weeds through cultivation have become the staples of life we now know and grow, so it is with culture. Native cultures are cultivated from weeds that originate as folk art. Jazz, the comic strip, and the movies are the cultural weeds, the folk arts of America.

Where previous cultures have had folk tales, Americans have movies. The movies of the l930s, l940s, and early 1950s, are folk tales. As folk tales, they deal with the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil. As folk tales, they tell us, Americans, who we are. I, who grew up as an ardent member of the movie generation, have been painting the faces of some of my favorite stars of those early films.

What is distinctive about those faces, what is in fact their star quality, is their reflection of the then American perception of itself as a God-given manifestation of inviolate innocence.”

Art deals with concepts of reality. The last great concept of reality was introduced in the Renaissance. It was the reality of matter. The most influential architect of the three-dimensional reality was Leonardo da Vinci.

The stuff of our 1994 reality, the reality of this Computer-Space-Age, is not matter but ideas. The visualization of an idea is pattern. As a matter of fact, we don’t see three dimensions. We see patterns.

The new anatomy of art is that of pattern.

The evolution of my art has been the evolution of the use of pattern in an effort to picture the reality of our time, Mind.

Butter Beans to Blackberries

A cookbook that puts you on the front porch, snapping beans, sipping iced tea, and waiting for your peach cobbler. In this definitive cookbook, Ronni Lundy draws upon her Kentucky mountain roots and on the recipes and food passions of the fellow Southerners-from home cooks to a new generation of professional chefs-she met in her extensive regional travels.

Lundy cooks her way through the bounty of the Southern garden, from succulent purple speckled butter beans and lady cream peas to corn and greens, muscadines, Georgia peaches, figs, mayhaws, and watermelon. She visits farm markets and festivals, finds heirloom-seed growers, and provides mail order sources for everything from sweet-potato chips and “old-fashioned whole heart” grits to fiery-orange HoneyBells.

Check out an excerpt from the book:

It was likely June when Faulkner and Porter had their historic conversation. At least that’s when the butter beans, the speckled ones, come in around Mississippi, Faulkner’s home. Wylie Poundstone, the chef at King Cotton Produce Company, a combination produce market and restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama, says, “It takes awhile for butter beans to grow, but if the weather cooperates, we can have them from June right on through the fall.” Bob Gulsby, one of the four owners of King Cotton says, “As long as we’ve got ’em, we’ll ship ’em fresh to anybody who wants to order.”

Those who do are often transplanted Southerners longing for the taste of a vegetable as common as July fireflies where they grew up, but hardly known elsewhere. My experience has taught me that asking for butter beans north of the Mason-Dixon is apt to get you a bowl of thick soup made from very large, dried lima beans. It’s tasty, but a bit on the brackish side and doesn’t have the sweet, creamy flavor of a Southern butter bean at all.

The term “butter bean is used to refer to lima beans, which fall roughly into three categories. First it refers to fresh limas, with the most prized being those with beans of the “baby” variety-small (about the size of your thumbnail) and very tender. Such beans can be found “throughout the United States either fresh (in season), frozen, or canned.

Second, a distinction is made in many regions of the South between this already small lima bean and even smaller ones. These smaller beans may go by different colloquial names. They are known as butter peas in the Montgomery area but may be called “sieve” beans in other parts of Alabama or the South. This is also the bean prized as the “savvy” of Charleston and the surrounding Low Country area of South Carolina. Joe Kemble, assistant professor of horticulture at Auburn University, says the common names are a corruption of the more proper name, sieva bean. Sivvy beans are prized for their sweetness but, alas, don’t ship well.

Third, the speckled butter bean is a variety of lima with a colored, mottled ,skin-usually a deep purplish brown and green, or black and green. Speckled butter beans have a creamier texture and more buttery flavor than their green lima cousins. 1, like my mother before me, watch religiously for speckled butter beans in the very brief period in the summer when they may show up shelled and fresh in the produce department of local supermarkets. Although the farmers in this part of Kentucy don’t grow them commercially, speckled butter beans are a summer staple in farm markets throughout the deeper South, and if you drive the noninterstate highways in June, you are apt to see hand-lettered signs on the side of the road preferring “fresh speckled butter beans-just in.” Most commonly, though, I come by these beans frozen, and sold throughout the year at supermarkets here. They are very nearly as tasty frozen as they are fresh.

Like sieva beans, speckled butter beans sometimes go by colloquial names. For instance, Wylie Poundstone says lots of folks around Montgomery call them rattlesnake beans. And elsewhere a lima variety with cream and maroon speckled skin is called the Christmas bean.

Technically, you can interchange the more widely available baby lima beans for the speckled butter beans in most recipes, but the flavor will be different. All of the beans are delicious, however, and, as Wylie says, “You can do so much with them. They’re some of the most versatile vegetables in the Southern kitchen.”

Remember to go easy on seasonings when you cook butter beans, since it’s the beans’ own subtle flavor which you want to emphasize.

Classic Southern Butter Beans
Serves 6 to 8

This is the fundamental recipe for fresh shelled butter beans. If you’re accustomed to limas cooked in very little liquid (seasoned with a pat of butter and dash of salt on the way to the table), this may seem like a lot of water for cooking, but you want the dish to yield some sweet pot likker to be sopped up by Real Cornbread (page 103). If you’re eating Low Country-style, serve the beans over rice.

2 quarts water

1 ham hock

6 cups (about 2 pounds) fresh shelled baby lima or speckled butter beans


In a large pan, bring the water and ham hock to a boil. Cook, partially covered, at a low boil for about 30 minutes, to season the water. Add the beans and bring the water back to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour (see The Time It Takes, below), until the beans are tender and creamy inside. Remove the hock and add salt to taste. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving.

Note: Frozen speckled butter beans or baby lima beans may be used. When you add them to the water, use a wooden spoon to gently break apart clumps.


Southerners cook butter beans anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. The choice depends somewhat on the size and freshness of the beans (the larger or older they are, the longer they take to reach tenderness). Some folks like butter beans just at the point when the inside is tender but the skin still pops when bitten. Unless you are making a salad or relish with the beans, I think that’s missing the point. Perfect butter beans are cooked until the insides are quite creamy-the reason for the ‘butter’ in their name.

In most of the recipes for butter beans here, you will find estimated cooking times with a wider variance than is usual in a cookbook. Experiment until you discover what degree of tenderness you prefer, and be aware that even the same type and size of bean will take a different amount of time to cook from one batch to another, depending on the freshness of t e beans. If you want to serve butter beans for a dinner that requires precision timing, cook them to doneness a day or two before, refrigerate them, and reheat thoroughly at serving time.

Jerry’s Speckled Butter Beans
Serves 4

My mother loved to cook frozen speckled butter beans in the winter when their rich, creamy texture and nutty flavor were salve to the soul. We made many a meal of these beans, her mashed potatoes (page 171), and Real Cornbread (page 103), and thought ourselves supremely well fed.

2 cups water

16-ounce package frozen speckled butter beans 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons half and half salt

In a pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil and add the butter beans, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to separate. When the water returns to boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the beans are tender. (You may need to add a little water near the end of the cooking time to keep the beans from sticking, but you want most of the water to cook away.) Add the butter and allow it to melt, then add the half and half and stir. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes, then add salt to taste.

Speckled Butter Beans and Country Ham in Lemon Veloute
Serves 6 to 8

I never thought I’d taste a dish with butter beans as blissfully perfect as my mother’s, but this one is its peer, with a velvety texture and the perfect marriage of complementary flavors in the beans, tart sauce, and tangy ham.

Butter Beans

21/2cups water

5 cups fresh or frozen speckled butter beans

1/4pound country ham with fat removed, cut in small pieces

Lemon Veloute

11/2cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon



In a heavy pan, bring the water to a boil and add the butter beans. (If using frozen beans, use a wooden spoon to gently break up clumps.) When the water returns to a boil, turn the heat down and let the beans simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the skins are tender and the insides creamy, and most of the water has boiled off.

While the beans are simmering, make the lemon veloute’. In a small pan, heat the chicken stock. Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in the top of the double boiler, set directly over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking, for five minutes, then slowly whisk in the hot stock. Place over the boiling water and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep a crust from forming on top.

When the beans are done, add the country ham pieces and cook until the ham is just warmed. Meanwhile, remove the veloute from the heat, add the lemon juice, and salt to taste. Remove the beans from the heat, pour the velout6 over the beans, and mix well. Serve immediately.

Steam Beans

If you should luck upon a crop of fresh sivvy beans or butter peas still in their pods, and they are truly fresh and very young, you may want to try something my friend Don Nobles of Montgomery, Alabama, recommends: ‘I’ve had butter peas steamed still in their little pods when they are very, very young. Just steamed for a few minutes until they’re tender, and then served with salt and butter They’ve a flavor in between an English pea and a snow pea. Truly splendid!

Copyright © 1999 Ronni Lundy

More Food in Less Space

Back in the 1970’s the average backyard vegetable garden was about 1000 square feet. Now it is typically 200 square feet. New houses tend toward smaller yards, so the farm model of growing food and the generous space it required has become obsolete. Contemporary vegetable gardening borrows the best design ideas from the past, while incorporating new technology and materials to make smaller vegetable gardens easier to manage, and more productive.

Two ways to coax more production from limited space is by borrowing from old cultures the concepts of raised beds and vertical growing. Shifting a garden layout from rows to raised beds almost doubles the available growing area, as most of the ground formerly devoted to paths is dedicated to production. Growing food vertically to exploit the airspace above the garden again almost doubles its effective production area. This configuration facilitates the use of soaker hose irrigation, woven fabric mulches and other space age materials to dramatically reduce the amount of work involved in producing crops.

Raised Beds
Raised beds are permanent, rectangular plots holding soil that remains loose and rich because it is never compacted by foot traffic. Paths between the beds are also permanent. While they require a significant investment of physical labor to dig and box, they do not have to be dug again every year. Raised beds promise years of virtually instant bed preparation and easy planting each spring. Try one bed at first. Dig it in the fall when the weather is cool, then add more beds over time. Because their excellent soil permits intensive planting, it will not be necessary to have as big a garden overall as before.

Making Raised Beds
Lay out the bed’s dimensions with stakes and string. A width of 3 or 4 feet is a comfortable reach from either side for most adults. Lengths of 8 or 12 feet (conveniently allowing for evenly spaced trellis supports every 4 feet) are most adaptable to the typical backyard.

Begin digging within the string at one end, cultivating the soil to a depth of at least a foot-deeper is better. If working in a turf area, put aside pieces of sod for the compost pile. Working backward to avoid stepping on newly dug soil, turn over shovels full of soil and mound them in a loose pile within the measured dimensions of the bed. This is a good time to incorporate organic material such as compost, peat moss or chopped leaves into the soil. Overachievers may wish to double dig the bed, but it is not required.

Designate at least 3 feet for path area around the bed. Scrape off the valuable top few inches of topsoil from the paths and mound it on the newly dug bed to increase its height, then spread wood chips or gravel, or lay bricks in the path area to eliminate future problems with mud. Rake and level the surface of the mounded soil in the bed and it is ready for planting.

A layer of straw or chopped leaves will protect the soil over the winter and discourage erosion of the mounded soil into the paths. While it is not necessary, boxing each bed with 2 by 10 inch wooden planks prevents erosion most effectively, makes beds easier to manage and looks more attractive. Boxed sides also pro vide a place to fasten fixtures to permit quick attachment of sturdy vertical supports for various crops.

The Value of Vertical
Another way to maximize production in limited space is to exploit the air space above the garden bed. Combined with raised-boxed beds the potential for dramatically increased production with vertical growing is enormous. Plants grown vertically can be planted more closely together and produce more in the rich, friable soil of a properly managed raised bed. Because they take up only a few inches of surface soil, there remains lots of bed left to be intensively planted with low growing vegetable plants. Orienting beds on a north-south axis assures that plant-laden trellises do not block the sun from lower growing plants as it moves from East to West across the yard during the day.

Erecting vertical supports is always a time consuming problem. Freestanding ones provide flexibility in placement, but are precarious, tending to collapse part way through the season from the weight of maturing crops. The planks that enclose a raised bed offer a convenient place to attach year round fixtures that make setting up and taking down trellises quick and easy. They make it possible to have a flat trellis system that runs along either side of the bed that is stable, yet easily reconfigured to facilitate crop rotation.

Establishing a Trellis System
There are lots of ways to fasten trellis poles to the wooden planks of boxed beds. One tried and true method is to fasten 12 inch lengths of PVC pipe, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, with plumber’s brackets at four foot intervals along the insides of the long sides of the bed. Dig the PVC pipe into the soil so the opening is flush with the top of the board. Sturdy vertical poles, wooden or PVC, up to 8 feet long, fit easily and quickly into the PVC pipe fixtures for instant stability. Since their first 12 inches sit in the fixture below the soil level, the trellis will actually be 7 feet tall, about maximum reach for most adults.

Next, cut 4 foot lengths (the between the vertical poles) of strips or similar I by 2 inch slats, crosspieces to make panels of trellis fasten to the vertical poles at top tom. The trellis material itself hand-strung wire or twine, or co netting made of nylon or plastic with 4 or 6 inch holes allows for access when picking large vegetables as tomatoes. Fasten it to the crosspieces with a staple gun to form panels easily mounted and removed from a poles, rolled up and stored year. Drill holes at the ends of pieces and at the tops and base poles for attaching panels of trellis beds. One tried and true method is to with screw bolts and wing nuts.

Veggies That Grow Well Vertically:
Beans, Lima Pole
Beans, Pole
Squash, winter varieties such as acorn, butternut Tomatoes, indeterminate
Benefits to Vegetables of Vertical Growing:
Better air circulation
Better access to sunlight
Less exposure to soil pathogens
Easier to harvest
Dry off faster after rain Less likely to be curled or deformed

Reasons to Use Boxed Raised Beds:
Save space
Maintain soil texture
Do not need annual digging
Heat up earlier in the season Use water and fertilizer more efficiently
Improve soil drainage
Permit intensive planting
Are neat and accessible
Support trellises securely
Permit use of shade cloth or plastic tents
Avoids soil compaction due to foot traffic

Provided by the National Garden Bureau www.ngb.org.

Creating a Low Maintenance Lawn

What a wonderful world it would be if we could discover the lawn grass that stayed green year-round, never had to be watered, fertilized, or sprayed and only occasionally mowed. While the cruel side of Mother Nature probably won’t ever allow such a thing to happen, there is a lot that we can do now to come closer to that low maintenance lawn. While a fortunate few homeowners who are just starting to establish a lawn can come closest to a low maintenance lawn, even the majority of people who have to contend with a lawn planted well before they bought the house and yard can gain some advantages.

From the Ground Up
Low maintenance lawns begin with almost compulsive attention to the site’s soil and most likely the need for its improvement, according to Doug Fender, director of the Turf Resource Center. “For new lawns”, he points out, “an essential first step is soil testing followed by incorporating whatever amendments are called for to create the proper pH and physical characteristics. For existing lawns, the only practical way to modify the soil is with seasonally repeated aeration and light top-dressing with high quality, mature compost or other soil test-determined amendments. Without good soil, even high maintenance lawns will have problems.”

Good soils accept and retain moisture, while allowing adequate drainage and providing sufficient air space to permit roots to penetrate, absorb moisture and nutrients and exchange gases. To the degree that the soil can be improved, the lawn’s overall maintenance will be reduced. Conversely, the poorer the soil, i.e., compacted clay or 100 percent sand, the more the lawn will require energy, effort and maintenance, in the forms of water, fertilizer, pesticide and probably even mowing. Yet, high maintenance in poor soils will return only high levels of frustration.

Selecting the Right Grass
After soil preparation, the next step is to understand and recognize the need to balance desires for low maintenance with the actual uses that the lawn will have. Growing prize-winning roses in a battlefield is impractical, so too is hoping for a low maintenance lawn that must endure high traffic use For example, in cool-season areas, fine fescues (hard, chewings and red creeping) are generally recognized as low maintenance grasses, compared to many varieties of bluegrass. But, if the lawn is subject to heavy use, fescues don’t have the capacity to recover from wear as rapidly as bluegrasses. So the low maintenance advantages and slow recovery disadvantages of fescues would each have to be weighed against each other. Which is better, re-seeding and restricting traffic on a fescue lawn, or going with bluegrass and achieving reduced maintenance in other ways?

In selecting a grass specie and variety for a low maintenance lawn, search-out those that have undergone multi-year tests for water and fertilizer requirements, plus consider more strongly those grasses that contain beneficial fungi called endophytes. Present in ryegrasses and fescues, but not yet in bluegrasses, endophytes offer increased resistance to surface feeding insects and seem to better tolerate heat, drought and many diseases. As turfgrass breeders expand their knowledge and abilities, expect to see more grasses with endophytes in the future. Turfgrass sod producers, whose business success depends on satisfied customers, spend a great deal of time reviewing the special attributes of new grasses and their suitability to the producer’s climate before determining which they will select for their sod fields. Homeowners can choose to do their own seed selection research, or utilize the expertise of a sod producer and gain an instant lawn. While the initial cost for sod will be higher than seed, the establishment routines required for seeded lawns are far from being a low maintenance process.

Maximize the Return on Every Effort
Compared to the hand-weeding, watering, fertilizing and spraying that most flower beds or vegetable gardens require, a sound argument can be made that on a square-foot for square-foot basis, lawns are naturally a low maintenance landscape feature, they simply take up more square-footage. But moving beyond that potentially endless argument, homeowners striving for a low maintenance lawn should try to maximize the return on every bit of time and energy they expend on their lawn. Here are some tips every homeowner can use to increase the return on their lawn maintenance investment:

1. Water as early in the morning as possible, when winds are calmest and temperatures lowest.

2. Water only when the lawn is dry and then apply an amount that will soak in deeply.

3. If there is an in-ground sprinkler system, adjust it to the seasonal needs of the grass plant, don’t just “set it and forget it.”

4. Mow frequently enough so just the top third of the blade is removed, and leave the clippings on the lawn. (Clippings provide nutrients, a small amount of moisture and do not contribute to thatch.)

5. Fertilize when the grass plant can use the nutrients. For cool season grasses that would be in early spring (when soil temperatures are 50-degrees or higher) and late fall. For warm season grasses, fertilize lightly through the peak-growing season during the summer. Avoid fertilizers that are not slow-release or those with a very high percentage of nitrogen because that leads to more mowing.

6. Apply pesticides only to those areas that require them. Weeds can be pulled or spot-sprayed. A dense, vigorously growing lawn will crowd out weeds and be able to out-grow many insect and disease problems, so one of the benefits of proper low maintenance lawn care is that many of the high maintenance jobs of spraying insecticides, herbicides and fungicides won’t be necessary.

Finally, while low maintenance lawns can be every bit as beautiful as high maintenance lawns for much of the year, the stresses of summer heat and drought can cause them to go dormant, particularly if water is not applied. No one hangs leaves on their deciduous trees after autumn, because it’s an accepted part of nature. Why then should a homeowner attempt to keep a low maintenance lawn dark green during the heat of summer, when the grass plant’s natural tendency is to be less active and somewhat dormant?

When temperatures start to drop and fall rains increase, the low maintenance lawn will recover, particularly if it’s been started in good soil and treated properly the rest of the year.

You don’t have to cut down the grass area to have a low maintenance lawn, just cut down the unnecessary and unproductive maintenance habits that have become all too common.