Architectural whimsy

The street scape commission for the dog walker website that I did a few months ago has been the inspiration for the last six abstract architectural drawings.  At the time I had it in the back of my mind that it would be interesting to add loose, flowing watercolors over the buildings.  I couldn’t experiment on the commissioned piece of course, so I went on the current excursion of the abstract in my own pieces.  So far I have enjoyed the process and have seen a progression in the use of color.  I wanted to try something with a bit more whimsy, so I took a small piece of leftover art board and painted this piece.

Architectural whimsy

I was looking for a bit more of a cartoonish quality, so I inked in the houses a little cock-eyed and then added a figure and her dog.  I took up the brushes and painted away using the same basic palette  as before.  It has taken my eyes a little bit of time to adjust to the whimsical style, but on the whole, I like it.

On the black raspberry front, I have been able to pick a lot more than I thought would be possible this time around.  Even after the birds have taken their share, I think I’ve gotten about 1.5 gallons. I froze about 1/2 gallon, gave away and eaten about 1/2 gallon, and I still have about 1/2 gallon in the refrigerator.  I will probably go out at least one more time since I found two patches with large berries and lots of them.  It is amazing how fast the containers fill up when the berries are decent size and there are multiple ripe ones on the same canes.  The blackberry front is looking good.  The only question now is if we get enough rain to plump them  instead of having them just wither on the cane.  I am already watering my flower beds and shrubs.  I wish it would rain for a week at this point.

Black raspberry dreams

It is that time of year again.  Actually it is almost a month early, but the black raspberries have started to arrive and put all other activities on hold.   Yesterday I inspected my usual places and while some berries have not quite ripened yet, most others are well on the way.  In fact, I should have been out last week and checked more thoroughly.  The one place I kept tabs on unfortunately lagged behind most of the rest.

Black raspberry bounty

This year for the first time, I seem to be in competition with the birds. In the past, I didn’t find many that had been pecked at, much less eaten.  This time, I have found many clusters already fully consumed with the little white core all that is left. I know that my competition can’t be another person because of where the stalks are.  I think that with the mild winter and early spring, many fruits came out too soon and were caught in the frost and died.  Top it off with the subsequent drought in April and May and I think  it is possible that there is a lot less food out there for the wildlife and my berry picking has suffered as a consequence.  Drat and double drat.

Anyway, I spent 2 1/2 hours out picking this morning and got close to two quarts.  It was a lovely morning, temperatures in the 50’s-60’s and a light breeze.  Instead of having to get out at 7 am before the heat and humidity started to rise, I went out leisurely at 8:30 and picked until 11, barely breaking a sweat.  I found that the nicest and largest berries were deep in the shade where the drying sun couldn’t reach them.  The best were also intertwined with the rose bushes, to my skin’s everlasting sorrow.  While the raspberry bushes have prickers, nothing can quite compare to the ripping quality of rose bush thorns, even through long pants and long sleeves.  They also excel at grabbing hats and hair.  I would have normally gotten over a gallon in my first picking session, but I will have to be satisfied with what I have.  The wildlife evidently needs a whole lot more this year.  I will be picking again on Friday or Saturday.  Wish me luck.