Huckleberries love-at-first-bite

I love huckleberries

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|

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.

Huckleberry Know How

Do you know your edible wild berries?

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.

Initial study of a trio of huckleberries in watercolor
6″w x 5″h watercolor study of a trio of huckleberries


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.

Initial 6″w x 5″h watercolor study of five huckleberries
6″w x 5″h watercolor study of five huckleberries

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.

White Lily Watercolor #6

With the painting finished and dry I decided to try something new.  I bought this new medium, “Windsor Newton, Iridescent Medium”. I have been dying to see how it works.

I applied it to the lily and got really no affects. Darn. Sooooo. Instead I tried it on the background and “Wa la!” a shimmering glow just like the light from the window. Yay! Now I know it doesn’t work so good on light areas but it does show on darker surfaces. You have to have the light on it just right to see the shine but it is really cool! Here it is angled just right and still wet.


White Lily Watercolor #4

Now we get down to the details, take a look up close at the flower. I have removed the mastik (resist) and begin darkening the main characters. The greens behind are shadowed using reds with the greens to make a dark shadow. Some are darkened with paynes grey or blue. The white fklower has a slightly sap green core or bowl with the main vein gong down the middle of each petal. It seems the edges of the petals are the most white areas. I approach the white areas very carefully. The center stamen area has slightly green stems with yellow ends and they seem to stand out better with the roundness exemplified.


White Lily Watercolor #2

Here is a picture of the washes closer so you can see why the mastik is so helpful. Look at the darker wash on the right hand side and you can see how well that allows a freeing border so I can drop wet brushfulls of beautifyul purple and red along with a little blue and let it mix itself together. Probably one of the funnest times of my painting life.

closer view white lily

White Lily Watercolor #1

I had a beautiful white lily on my kitchen table with the perfect light framing it from behind. After taking a quick shot of it with my camera I setup to draw and paint that beauty. I was a little worried about getting the same drama I felt when looking at it because it was a white flower. But if you look closely no surface is just plain white. Hehehe. Here is a shot of the layout sketched onto 300 ob watercolor paper with resist or mastik applied to the edges of the lily itself to help reserve the white areas. I began with the background wash done lightly. I had to puyt in a light green wash for the greenery to keep iut separated.

white lily layout