Last summer was not our first in this house and area, but it was the first that I tasted the blackberries. We lived in an urban area for 10 years prior to moving to our mountain-ish home, and there is so much to notice here that it took a year to just absorb that big picture before beginning to learn names of birds and trees and plants. And last summer, the blackberries were a highlight.
Last summer, I was in the midst of a long medical leave, facing the fact that I might have to leave a job and community I loved very much in a more permanent way. I was grieving, and facing emotions in a way I never had before, and I was also giving two lovely young girls art lessons because their mom, my friend, believed that was a good way to spend part of their summer. It was a true highlight in an otherwise difficult summer. It was that friend who pointed out that the blackberries were ripening on our road. I remember how sweet and fresh they tasted, and how odd it was that they were warm. I picked them from the brambles that were sitting in the sun, when normally we eat berries from the fridge. It was a lovely moment in the sun.
As summer approached again this year, I looked forward to the blackberries, and I have not been disappointed. The winter in California was brutal, and that has given way to an abundant spring and summer. So much beauty has bloomed from that winter, including blackberries. There are easily three times more berries than last year, so many more that the deer don’t seem to be able to keep up with them. As they began to ripen on the brambles, I appreciated the variety of colors the berries showed. From a yellowish green to a bright red and then to a deep reddish black. And they’re just as sweet as last year. So, I chose to enjoy their colors and sweet memories as our project this week. I hope you enjoy it also.
For my example projects this week, I decided to use each of these colors for my berries, but every artist makes their own choices. Here are the supplies you’ll need this week:Paint: green gold or yellow, red, indigo, blue (optional: dark, wine-color red for extra depth)
Here are the exact paints I have used, though you do not need to use these:
QoR Green Gold, QoR Indanthrone Blue, Daniel Smith Quinacridone Red, Daniel Smith Perelyne Violet, Daniel Smith Indigo
Brushes: one large (10 or 12), one medium (4-ish), one detail (1 or 2)
Paper: Canson XL or similar for practice or for whole project, 100% cotton paper for projects if you’d like
Pencil and eraser
Fineliner Pen (Waterproof) - I use Microns, but any waterproof pen will do
Classes are at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time on Zoom. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll be sure you get the Zoom link and payment info.