I look forward to going huckleberry picking every year. Living in the Inland Northwest has given me the privilege of enjoying these berries every year. Climb up the mountain and taste just one, and you will be hooked for life! They are a divine, sweet, and tart taste that can only be understood by experiencing the flavor, yourself. There is no better berry on the planet, they taste so darn good! Literally, it is a shame that huckleberries are not able to be grown commercially.
privilege |ˈpriv(ə)lij| noun
a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people: education is a right, not a privilege | he has been accustomed all his life to wealth and privilege.
Lately, many thoughts of these berries have resulted in me doing a series of studies in the studio. I thought I’d share some recent watercolors of these magical fruit delicacies with you. Grabbing two small pieces of left-over 300lb Arches watercolor paper measuring 6″ x 5″. I draw close-ups of bunches of berries, showing how they look when I go to pick them. Then, using mastic to reserve light areas, I begin experimenting.
These berries are dark smooth little guys with a gorgeous purple color that sometimes shows as magenta in the sun or almost black in shade. Noticeably, they have a very unique bottom that is a little dimple inward with a dot in the middle.
Lighting and colors vary a lot for these bushes under the big trees of the forest. Consequently, I try backgrounds in different values and colors. Sometimes, we are in bright sunlit blue-sky areas where the green leaves almost look chartreuse in color. Here, the background is dark when the look of the brown ground kind of mixes into the leaf color.
Luckily, I captured this picture during the first snow of the season as I walk outside the studio. Almost every day, I get to see beautiful scenes like this and my camera is a real happy camper. You can see that there was a small accumulation of snow and actually the day was warm. Sometimes, it feels like I live in paradise with nature all around me like this.
Max and I are not the only ones enjoying this area. There are tracks from our neighbors who had just ridden their ATVs through it, and there are a lot of Bambi and turkey tracks too! Everyone loves the outside up here in Elk, WA. Many times I wonder if our neighborhood is what started the, “You might be a redneck if……” joke line. Check out one of my favorites, Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian here.
My goal right now is to conquer a fear of painting snow and get good at painting winter scenes. I figure the more I paint, the easier it will get. Hmmm. Kind of a common saying for me. We’ll see, won’t we?
Here is the first study I painted of this view, as a horizontal presentation. After finishing the study, I am able to see areas to improve. Standing back away gives me a good view to ponder how I want to proceed with the larger painting. I’m not so sure I will go with horizontal, I think I like the vertical better.
Even though I like this image, I will try a vertical layout next. Just need to see if it is more inviting in that format.
One of the most entertaining parts of skiing is the ski lift ride back up to the top of the hill. After putting some real effort out speeding through whatever terrain you are doing, you quickly slip into the lift entry gate to catch your breath. Then as you take your seat you experience a take-off into the tree heights. Up to a level where you can observe pristine quiet mountain views as you float over and through the treetops. It is a real meditation time with soft breezes and nature to the max. Some of the most peaceful and extravagantly beautiful skies and mountain scenes I have ever seen were from my seat on a ski lift. It never gets old.