45" x 36"
Nature Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Blackberry leaves and canes turn a stunning array of violet colors in the fall. Evening light is ideal for bringing out these colors, especially when back lighted. The Maples at the edge of the lake were also lit up like stained glass. Even the old White Pine at the point of land was outlined in a glow of yellow-green.
It’s strange to think that just a few weeks earlier if I had walked through this little clearing I would have noticed nothing but the blaze of yellow goldenrod. And I would probably have walked right past the blackberry bushes - in their uniform green - if my eye were not caught by the occasional berry left behind by the birds and squirrels. But at the time of the painting all of the Goldenrod had gone to seed and the Blackberry leaves had turned a range of deep purple-reds. The fluffy, dull-white seed heads of the Goldenrod helped to set off the brilliant colors. Another feature that helps to set off the warm colors is the violet shades of the weathered stumps of cedar at the edge of the lake.
Walking through blackberry bushes is something you want to do very carefully. I’ve been slashed by their stiff thorns, but this particular patch of blackberries didn’t have many thorns so they were probably the “Smooth Blackberry” or “Canada Blackberry” (Rubus canadensis), which has a lot fewer thorns than its heavily armed cousin, the Common Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis).
And what’s the Kingsolver? No, it isn’t wildlife. Barbara Kingsolver is the author of an audiotape entitled “Small Wonder," which I listened to while painting this scene. I think of this as my Kingsolver painting. Her evidence-based approach to environmental debates is comforting.