Sunday, September 25, 2005

Illustration Friday - Fresh Blackberries


The Illustration Friday topic is 'Fresh' this week.

Fresh is an interesting word- fresh air, fresh food, fresh vegetables , fresh meat , fresh pasta, fresh eggs are all things that i think of as fresh.

After a while i realised that the cosmetic and hygiene advertisers have annexed the word fresh as so many adverts use the word 'fresh' to mean clean , hygienic, germ free, odourless , bleached white etc.

It seems sad that words with wholesome connotations are used to sell things taht are generally far removed from the idea.

So i pondered some more about what i would draw. I suppose i have been nostalgic recently since its now quickly turning to autumn. Yesterday i blogged about gathering conkers [horse chestnuts] and i think that put me in the mood for remembering other seasonal things.

Around this time of year in Scotland, its bramble [wild blackberry] season . There is nothing more delicous than brambles gathered from the hedgerows then taken home to make jam , jelly, bramble and apple pies, etc.

Of course, as a child the ratio of berries in the brasket to berries eaten was always low. We always ended up with purple stained hands and faces and we'd still manage to eat more with icecream or baked in a pie when we got home!

We'd be scratched by the thorns and have to avoid the wasps but we loved picking brambles with our parents or grandparents.

My Gran Prentice was the Jam Queen and collecting for her meant the enticing smell of hot sugar and sweet jam all through her house. We'd help by washing , then scalding the jam jars ready for the boiling jam. Later we would get to scrape the jam pot once it had cooled down- this fresh jam was always fantastic.

My Gran Graham wasn't really a jam maker but she used to buy lovely ice cream to have with the fresh berries - the sweet/tart iron-ish taste of the fresh brambles and the cold vanilla ice cream was always a wonderful treat. She used to take us for long wanders through the countryside and identify all the plants and animals for us, and now when i go walking with my own children i try to pass these lessons on to them.

The painting I've done this week is a little girl who has been picking fresh brambles and eaten as many as she has picked. The brambles are behind her and she has a fair number in her basket, but i expect she has eaten a good deal more!







13 comments:

Tony Sarrecchia said...

I like the way you used color in this illo. Nice job!

The Whippy Curly Tails said...

Cute girl. Love the purple and green. Looks like she has eaten some berries...<: -)

My grandma was a big berry pie baker in California and had berries in her backyard...come see my post about her berries.

Bye from the Toasty South..

carla said...

Oh, this is wonderful. My mouth was watering reading about the ice cream with blackberries:> I love the colors of this painting...everything dark green and deep purple. The girl's expression is perfect..she has the stained mouth and the somewhat sheepish look on her face. Who could blame her for sampling as she gathers? I love the detail of the bramble bushes and the texture of her dress. What kind of paint did you use for this?

weehoon said...

Temptatious thoughts, like your Scotish culture.. fresh eatable idea... :")

isay said...

i like this a lot. the colors you used are great!

Lockjaw said...

I seem to recognise that look, it's the look I used to get when I'd eaten more berries than I'd picked for the basket :S

Marion said...

Glad someone else feels irritated by the advertising industry's hijacking of the word fresh to mean chemical, artificial and unnatural!

The colous are lovely. I wondered if the little girl's jumper started off that colour or it was the result of too many brambles! I speak from experience here of white tops which never recovered from enthusiastic brambling!! In addition I could have bramble stained fingers for a week as the staining from the juice is extremely resistent to cleaning of any kind!

Thanks for the memories.

Toni said...

Lovely background and the little girl is so cute with the berry stained mouth. Reminds me when we were young and we would pick wild concord grapes and come home with purple tongues.

rainbowtrout said...

Colour is lovely.. particularly like the expression on the girls face.. as if she has 'stolen' a few of the berries

garth bruner said...

I love visiting the state of Oregon in the fall because of the plentiful wild blackberry bushes growing alongside the highways. We just find an empty cracker box in the car and fill up as much as we can. Heaven on earth.

Great illustration depicting the joys of doing just that.

Aravis said...

I used to go berry picking with my grandmother, too. This is a wonderful illustration. Thanks for bringing up pleasant old memories, too!

Ian T. said...

Alison, this is a lovely picture with a timeless feel to it - the expression on the girl is priceless!

Blackberries are a declared noxious weed here in Australia, so you wouldn't want to eat them unless you were absolutely certain they hadn't been sprayed with poison!

Alison Ashwell said...

I use Corel Painter 7 - for everything first sketches to finished art.

For this piece i made several new brushes - one to use for the weave on the jumper, one to use a backround for the blackberry leaves and one to use to build up the blackberry fruits.

I did the almost water fall of the bramble bushes first with just the sketch of the girl on a separate layer.
When i was happy with the effect of the darkness undernesth the leaves i added some stalks and added thorns to them . Then i painted some individual blackberry leaves and groups of blackberries to go with theses stalks to add to the 3-d effect.

The girl I usued a combination of a dry acrylic brush and airbrushes on - i changed her expression from a beaming smile to a sneaky smile with fruit when she looked a lot cheekier than my initial sketch.

The fruit stains on her face were added last.


I hadn't realised that blackberries were a noxious weed in Australia but it makes sense given how much foreign plants and animals can cause havoc in an ecosystem.
In scotland rhododendons and Himalayan [indian] balsam and others displace the native plants and there are often conservation weekends were groups of prople try to eradicate them from areas of woodland.