Thursday, March 20, 2014


Blackberries ripening in the sun is one of my favorite scents of summer.  When DH and I were newly married and with a brand new baby, we lived in Tacoma, Washington.  There wild blackberries flourished to epidemic proportions in every untended open space.  And since the only income we had was U.S. government soldier pay; free fruit, even if it grew on wicked brambles, was welcome.  Just a few steps from our apartment near Fort Lewis were all the blackberries I could stand to pick.  The fresh ones went on cereal and ice cream and then there was homemade blackberry pie—wow!

Most of my paintings are inspired by vacations or pleasant memories.  So when I came across photos I took of blackberry bushes in the lush green forests of northern Washington I decided to use them as a subject of a painting.

I worked out a composition sketch and transferred it to heavy watercolor paper.  I masked out the berries and then washed the whole area with shades of green.

Then I began to add layers of darker greens and browns to bring out the details of the thick undergrowth.

After bringing the moss, branches and leaves into focus I removed the masking from the berries and went to work on them.

The final painting size 11x14 inches
It’s always fun to see how complementary colors such as red and green seem to pop when placed next to each other and how analogous colors such as blue and green are harmonious and soothing.
I only wish there were a way to add the smell of ripeness and the sounds of humming bees and bird song.
You can find this and many more of my watercolors for sale on my Etsy site.

And now a poem by one who shares my appreciation of ----

Wild Blackberries
Ripening delicacies…
with a spectrum that varies 
in a thorn laden thicket
of luscious wild blackberries

Growing among tall 
free growing weeds 
strewn with the remains 
of rain soaked rotting trees

The splendid seedy delectables
are gathered with a restrained squeeze
cautious not to inflict trauma...
placed into a cupped palm with ease

Playful patches of sunlight
filter through swaying shade
dancing… sporadically, intensifying
then tending to dim and fade

Focusing on a twined
vine… suddenly becoming aware 
of aliveness… exhibiting an
intent-fully territorial stare 

With a backward step 
it has become quite clear
Now is time to conclude 
berry picking and get out of here


Theresa Ann Moore


Linda Sue said...

invasive and angry, they can chew you up and make you spend days getting the thorns out of you jacket, pants, socks. The vines reach right out, grab you and refuse to let you go. Like stickery quicksand. At this point the berries are not worth the trouble- the berries are a trick. Although, there is nothing quite like a ripe one on a warm day in the sunshine, sweeter than a kiss...yep, tricky!

Linda Sue said...

Oh, and your painting is flattering to them! There is no deception in your painting, no OUCH! It is ideal.

Val said...

I can hear the bees! The one in my bonnet, anyway. People steal our blackberries! Walk right down the fence row between our two ten-acre parcels, filling buckets and baskets.

I must go back and view your painting again. Serenity now.

Terry and Linda said...

Your talent is amazing! Beautiful watercolor, Leenie!


TALON said...

It's one of my favorite memories of my Mom...her and my daughter (this was about 20 years ago now) walking the country lanes where I used to live with our baskets collecting wild blackberries and choking down more than we brought back. And lots of giggling ensued (along with stained clothes and mouths). I love that painting, Leenie. Beautiful, as always.

susan m hinckley said...

So lovely.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

"Side Trips" has been included in the Sites To See for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

Buttons said...

Oh I feel like I can almost reach out and pick one. You are so very talented my friend. Beautiful. Hug B

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Alica said...

This is beautiful, Leenie! I can almost taste them!