Berries, our art challenge prompt today, are definitely things that make me smile. Sure, they’re lovely, but I smile mostly because it is perfectly confounding as to what actually is and isn’t a berry in the first place. Yep, watermelon is technically a berry and the same is true for bananas. While many things we call berries, like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, aren’t really berries at all. Apparently, to qualify as a berry you have to be produced from a single ovary. A fact which does little to shed any real clarification and understanding on the issue. I can’t even easily decipher the gender of a cat, so it’s rather unlikely that I could decipher anything about ovaries while looking at a piece of fruit. And it strikes me that it’s really not much different when it comes to decoding art. Experts will assure you that something is considered one thing or another, but in the end, it’s really whatever society collectively decides. When we all decide something is a berry, then it simply is, and there’s really not much more need for discussion.
As berries go, a watermelon is a gigantic one, but they were on my mind as the weather gets warmer here heading into summer. I’ve mentioned before that as a kid, spitting out seeds was the best part, but today you’ll find them mostly seedless. And, no, I’ve no clue what that means for its ovary. While seedless varieties are definitely more convenient, it’s just not quite the same. So many things in life change for the better while taking so many of the memories I remember most as a kid with it. Of course, I don’t want phones with cords to come back into fashion, but it was indeed the cord itself or that little rotary dial that created the most memorable moments. And so all of my memories of summer picnics, when it finally came time for the giant watermelon berry to be served, will always be filled with little seeds. Well, that, and a hope that homemade ice cream was being prepped and ready to crank later in the afternoon.
What I remember most about those times together as a family was that we had a language that was all our own. Words for things adopted through tradition that sometimes were not the same words that the other kids had learned. Or things we’d learned to collectively call things because of where we lived. Whether we referred to carbonated beverages as soda or pop. Yet all of these subtle differences were trivial. The memories we shared and the stories we told and retold could still be understood by anyone. They were, after all, the same types of stories that families have shared for generations. We just made them our own. Dusted with a bit of secret language and inside jokes that added that extra touch of meaning only we could understand. So, in the end, I think there’s really no point in trying to figure out the proper classification for things. Knowing what something is doesn’t create a memory. That only happens when you embrace what it means to you. Life will always be filled with unexpected berries.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!