Fifty shades of red

"Blueberries," Carol L. Douglas

“Blueberries,” Carol L. Douglas

A patch of blueberries is an amazing confection of red tones, turning the summer-green-foliage question on its head. It’s fascinating to mix those colors. Of course it is easier with a palette knife. I’d pulled mine out of my kit to see if I could do a better fix than I’d done along the road in Canada. Alas, I forgot to return it.

It is very difficult to paint without a palette knife; until yesterday, I’d have said it was darn near impossible. Mixing with a brush is inaccurate and is hard on your brushes. But there were no sticks handy to carve into a mixing knife. I used my brushes.

For those of you who don't live near them, blueberries in their native clime are a very short shrub, similar to heather in stature.

For those of you who don’t live near them, blueberries in their native clime are short, similar to heather in stature.

While they’ve developed highbush cultivars of the blueberry that grow in warmer places, the native blueberry species mostly grow in boreal and tundra areas. Yes, one can get blueberries from New Jersey, but they bear about as much resemblance to the Maine blueberry as plasticulture strawberries do to the ones that grow in my lawn.

I’d intended to spend an hour painting those fantastic reds, but the light was exquisite and the day was warmer than forecast. I was there closer to three. With a start, I realized I needed to be on the road to make Pittsfield before my grandchildren’s bedtime.

By the time I was done, a mackerel sky was building and the light was gone.

By the time I was done, a mackerel sky was building and the light was going fast.

The MassPike is replacing its toll/cash system with overhead gantries on October 28. This system was in place in Australia when I visited in 2008, and it’s a lot faster than toll booths. However, it does mean a higher toll and a bill in the mail for anyone without an EZ Pass.

It’s amazing how fast a drive of five hours seems after traveling across Canada. I blasted the stereo and sang along. A car of young men saw me bouncing and whirled around my car to check me out. I chortled as they realized I was old enough to be their mother.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.