Drawing and Picking Blackberries

Expressing myself is different at different times of the year and of my life. At the moment I love drawing but I have to be in a particular place in my head. At the moment it is drawing large chunky tree trunks with soft graphite and no rubbing out or smudging. I’m using textured watercolour paper which is gorgeous to work with.

When I can’t draw I am picking blackberries – it’s almost like meditating. It’s so peaceful like time stands still. Autumn sunshine warms my body and soul and it’s mesmerising searching out the blackberries. And they make wonderful jam…….what’s not to love.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Express Yourself!.”

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October Apples and Blackberries, calming thoughts, Tenby

Picking blackberries in the October sun is priceless, time slowing down, sun on my back seeping through my body, feeling as if I am somewhere else. It’s quite lovely. It’s calming and uplifting doing this in nooks and crannies, on the canal towpath, the old railway, behind the police station, along the roadside. People often stop and chat to me, recalling memories of when they used to pick them or how they aren’t so big this year, or the different types of blackberries and their differing sweetness. I am amazed at how many I pick when there are only a few scraggy ones at the beginning – one sunny afternoon I picked 4 pounds from a stretch of road I pass everyday. Never noticed them before. My fingers are dark purple from the juice and pitted with thorn pricks and nettle stings, but it doesn’t matter. I remember picking blackberries in the Lake District with my parents and brothers, my mum making gorgeous pies and jams. Now I love making jam with apples and blackberries, sometimes adding cloves or ginger to make jam jelly, using my apples that have been prolific this year. Used to do this when my kids were younger, but somehow got out of the habit.

I feel I am able to think calmly and clearly when reaching for the blackberries, searching out the juicy ones, untangling my clothes from the thorns, reaching too far sometimes and over balancing. It feels like I’m stealthily stalking where the berries are hiding, under leaves, behind nettles, the best just out of reach. Can’t wait to do this with my grandchildren when they are a bit older.

Death and dying have continued appearing in my thoughts, still feel I’m grieving for so many. Thinking of my forties and the bombshell that shattered my life. Missing happiness. Working with others helps and gives me a feeling of worth, quite a buzz.

Still drawing trees sometimes and looking at their changing shapes. Colours are developing too into the autumn glow, slowly, surprising me.

Just returned from a fantastic week in Tenby – our family get together went well – a bit chaotic and manic at times, whilst also having times of tranquility walking on the beach, playing with my grandchildren and spending time with my mum – 4 generations. A huge house with a baby grand piano and loads of space. I saw Diana Brook’s exhibition in Tenby Museum and it was gorgeous, she is so talented. Her sketchbooks were amazing. The painting of a red marble was superb and her spoon paintings delighted me yet again. Seeing her work has inspired me to get on with my drawing even more – trying for one a day for a week then maybe for a month if I can – a year might be too much! Glasbury Arts Festival exhibition was on last weekend of October – some work out of this world – some predictably boring, best work was Melanie Brown’s porcelain ceramicsĀ (I would like one of her teapot sculptures) and of course the GHS artwork of the sixth form. Feeling very chilled at the end of the month.