Cheerful and Colorful Paintings

Cheerful and Colorful Paintings in Oil, Acrylic, Mixed Media and Collage

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Red Watermelon ~ Poppy Seed Dressing ~ P & M Festival ~ De Leon, TX. ~ Art Blog Collage Painting ~ Nancy Standlee

9 x 12 Acrylic collage on gallery wrapped canvas,
1 3/8" depth profile
(Originally posted on the Artist Food Network)

Watermelon is one of the world’s most perfect foods. I served it to daughter’s family about a week ago and had it sliced when they arrived. Upon seeing the table my daughter quipped “Oh, I see you’re using your redneck placemats today” referring to the newspapers I had spread out to catch the drips. I started really looking at the arrangement with the red watermelon and black and white of the paper
and I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I liked the look and decided to use a piece of newspaper for a collage. I've painted over it so not too much of the paper if visible but it is below the watermelons. I used the Fort Worth Star Telegram but as an afterthought, I should have used the De Leon Free Press. This is the result. Watermelon can stand alone. It doesn’t t need any special presentation. Some foods need ornaments and garnishes and sauces but with watermelon you just need some watermelon and a place to sit.

That’s what will be going on at the De Leon Peach and Melon Festival this weekend of August 10, 2007.

The Annual De Leon Peach and Melon Festival is one of America's premier family celebrations, with truly something for everyone who comes to this small town in the heart of Texas' melon country.

Over the past 92 years, the celebration has become a tradition for local residents, as well as for the 20,000 annual visitors the Festival brings to this community of just over 2,400 persons located 90 miles from Fort Worth, Waco, & Abilene equally.

The four evenings of the first week of August showcase entertainers, unique family events, a Street Parade, an old-fashioned carnival, and lots of good-tasting watermelon, Arts and Crafts Exhibits & local food vendors. Auxiliary events connected with the Festival include an earth-shaking tractor pull, one of
Texas' best bike rides, a sanctioned "42" Tournament and a downtown celebration.

I enjoy meeting at the elementary cafeteria on Sat. morning at 10:00 for an all school reunion and discover who is the oldest ex-student there or one who has traveled the farthest. We sing Oskee-wow-wow De Leon (that will have to take a separate post!!!) and recognize the 50 year class and they get to sit on the stage. In the afternoon there is a seed spitting contest and then.. ...hold on, you go downtown sit in a folding chair if you have one, on the curb if you don’t and watch as the big trucks and trailers bring in ice cold watermelon that are yours for the stroll over to the middle of the street where you are handed one from one of De Leon's many gracious P & M volunteers.

Return to your spot and good for you if you brought some silverware and your salt shaker but dig in and keep eating until all of the melons are unloaded. Later you’ll have to scatter because the firetrucks will slowly pass by and spraying away those stray chunks and seeds and juice.

If you enjoy this kind of small town hospitality and are considering a move or a holiday, check with the Chamber of Commerce. I graduated high school in 1954 and I don’t know very many but our class of about 33 try to get together sometime during the yearly festival. One precious thing about my classmates is their lovely spirits haven't changed but our bodies are betraying us but I still see them as they were and I even remember their handwriting. It was a typical small town experience back in the 50's where everyone knew you were Boss and Marie's daughter and they could and would be reached if necessary. It is one trip I look forward to in August. You plan your trips carefully in Texas in August. When my father was living, he would go early on parade day and park his pickup under a shade tree and later we'd join him and sit in lawn chairs in the pickup bed for the best view and time in the city. I'd insist he "make the drag" before traveling up the street a few blocks to home just to make sure I got to wave and yell at anyone I might recognize. The DeLeon's motto:

"Busiest Town - Friendliest People"

Now for the recipe. I know I said watermelon can stand on it's own but if you want to dress it up a poppy seed dressing could be added to a mix of summer fruits of watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, or pineapple chunks. To see my poppy painting click HERE.


  • 1/3 TO 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 t. ground mustard or prepared mustard
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 T. onion grated
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 t. to 1 T. of poppy seeds, or to taste
  • Whisk together all ingredients except the poppy seeds or put in a blender/food processor
  • If using a processor, blend ingredients and add oil slowly and add seeds after blending
  • Keep refrigerated. It's also great with a spinach and toasted pecan salad.

Other blogs where I post:


Eat Well ~ Paint Your Food ~ Laugh Often

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1 comment:

Helen Read said...

Hi Nancy, So nice of you to visit my blog at Brushstrokes, etc. I love getting to know other artists! I just visited your blog... and love the watermelons :-) Thanks for visiting... come back any time!