Berries, Red, Not Black

I took a few of my red raspberries from the refrigerator to make a companion piece to the blackberry watercolor.  But while the blackberries are home grown, sadly, the red raspberries are not.  At one time I had some very prolific thornless bushes but unfortunately I have never been able to replace them.  It would seem that they should fall under my live or die rule, but I keep on trying because they are one of my favorites.

Red Raspberries

I cut another piece of board the same size as the last and drew up the berries.  Again, I laid on the yellow first and then progressed onto the reds.  I used an orangy red called fire engine first and then went to alizarin crimson which appears a bit cooler to me.  After several layers of each, making sure that I let the paint completely dry, I put on some purple.

I think the raspberries turned out okay, but in putting the pair together, I wish I had put the double leaves on the other side, so that compositionally they were a little different.  Oh well, I think the heat and humidity have finally gotten to my brain.  When I went outside to take the picture, my camera fogged over and it was only 10 am.  Highs close to 100 again.

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.

Watercolor fruit

Fruit medley watercolor

I bought some fruit for my weekend guests and after everyone was gone, I thought it might be fun to have a red fruit medley watercolor.  I had a late season pomegranate, some fresh strawberries and a package of red raspberries, which I thought would make a lovely painting.  And while they are all reds, when put together, it is quite apparent that they are different shades and hues.  This is really only the base but I had to stop as the board was getting saturated and the colors flowing together more than I wanted.  I am leaving it overnight to completely dry.  Even when I use a hair dryer on the lowest setting sometimes it won’t be as dry as I want and I don’t really think cooking the paint is a good idea. 

It is still rather undefined and I will only be able to judge it when I put in more detail and shadows.  So far I like the mix of the reds.  The raspberries and the pomegranate are closer to being true reds with a little blue thrown in (mauve?) while the strawberries have more of an orange cast.  It will be fun experimenting with layering the colors on tomorrow.  And then I get to eat the still life!