Living in the Inland Northwest has given me the privilege of loving huckleberries every year. I look forward to every summer being able to go pick them. 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 mastik to reserve light areas, I begin experimenting.
These berries are dark smooth little guys with a gorgeous purple color that sometimes show as a 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.
Almost every day, I get to see scenes like this as I walk outside the studio. My camera is a real happy camper. Luckily, I captured this picture during the first snow of the season. There was a small accumulation of snow and the day was warm. Sometimes, it feels like I live in paradise with the nature right around me.
There are tracks from our neighbors who had just ridden their ATV’s through it. There are a lot of Bambi tracks and Gobble Gobble turkey tracks too! Max and I are not the only ones enjoying this area.
We all love the outside up here in Elk, WA. Our neighborhood is the one that started the, “You might be a redneck if……” craze. Checkout 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. Hmmmm. We’ll see.
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 a way 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.
We have had some usage of our snowshoes here in Elk WA and I am loving it. Max and I went for a snowshoe break after lunch and found some really beautiful views. I can’t believe how he loves to jump and run in the snow. Endless energy to say the least.
Compare a couple of weeks ago to today.
The snow was up to my knees and Max’s belly, so with each step there was deepness and spillover on the shoes making it was a real workout. Beautiful and sparkly white blanket over the ground feeling like I was walking in a quiet winter wonderland. There were deer tracks but no others to mess up the views. Except we can really see where we were, maybe I should apologize for marking up the beautiful white blanket with snowshoe tracks and dog playing leap tracks all over the place.
No, I don’t think so.
I usually sit here and rest but I could not mess up this perfect layer of snow on this old log across our track. The MapMyWalk app says I only went 1.13 miles in an hour and 20 minutes. But, my legs feel like I have been marching with the Nazi army soldiers for miles. You know what I mean, lifting my legs up high for each step. Either that, or I was doing lunges repeatedly… wow.
Winter with family in the snow can be so much fun! We were fortunate to have our cousin’s son, Sam and his lovely fiancee (Jess) over for the weekend on the start of their ski vacation trip. Yay! We are so jealous!
Always fun time with those two and their furry critter Hilti! Our dog Max and their Hilti are best friends, totally!
Here are both.
Now, the real personality comes out!
We spent Saturday up on the hill at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort, what a blast. Got a workout and great sunshine all day, who says winter has to be dark?
On Sunday we were able to walk near our house to the “crooked tree”. What a destination huh? It is about a mile and a half walk for us, which is a good stretch of the over-skiied and boarded legs from the day before. Crunch, crunch, crunch. However, it must be about ten miles for the dogs running in circles around us as we go. BTW, it is amazing what nature will overcome?
Check out this old tree, wonder if it could talk what would it say? Pete proves that he is truly a tree hugger and a tree sitter while we are there.
When we got back home we had breakfast with Rachel and her family to celebrate her birthday which was the day before. A great winter weekend.
One of the most entrancing parts about skiing is the ski lift ride back up 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. Taking your seat you experience take-off into the tree heights-observing 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 the most peaceful and extravagantly beautiful skies and mountain scenes I have ever seen were from my seat on a ski lift.
ORIGINAL ART For that special person on your list at heavily discounted holiday prices…
Contact me here… or simply go to our website Valerie Woelk original art to see more pictures and descriptive information about today’s special or any other art you may want. There are many paintings available for immediate shipment or pickup.
Daisy Forest G1711 $95 (unframed), $195 (framed)
24″w x 18″h oils on canvas board. Oil rub-out technique of the Northwest forest with a floor covering of Shasta daisies.