Friday, July 01, 2016

Maryhill Apricots


I always treat myself to a few Maryhill apricots when they show up in my grocery store. They are huge as apricots go, could be mistaken for small peaches in some cases, and ever so good. They come from the same area along the Columbia River gorge as The Maryhill Museum I've introduced you to. This time I bought just two (there were good buys on other fruits that day too) and they've been ripening on the counter. I tried the first one a few days ago, with cottage cheese, and I was not disappointed. As I cut it open, removed the pit and took a small test bite, I realized that apricots remind me of my dad for some reason. And that meant I needed to add them to my comforts sketchbook. Too late for that day, but I could schedule a sketching session for the second one. I did this much this morning before heading out on an errand, my goal to draw quickly, not fuss over getting the shapes just right, and then spend a bit more time getting the colors right with my Prismacolor pencils. Not bad, I decided.


Back from the errand, it was nearly time for lunch, so part two - the apricot split to reveal the pit - also had to go quickly. I had the sequence of colors already figured out, but they needed a bit of tweaking for the richer flesh (the real apricots in the photo read darker than the real thing for some reason), and then there was that pit - more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. Both apricot versions were gone over with a colorless blender which did amazing things, and then with a tortillan. Shadows underneath were rubbed in with a 6H graphite pencil. Even with my "quick draw" mindset, I noticed how many details I was picking up that my initial glance had smudged over.

It did come to me why I was linking apricots and dad. Once my brothers left home, dad started taking me and mom on weekend fishing trips across the state line in Montana. The fishing was mostly an excuse to get on the road, spend time along creeks, and sit around campfires. Dad would often pull over at roadside fruit stands, handing me his wallet and telling mom and me to go pick out some fruit. Flathead cherries were a favorite but peaches would also do. Apricots were less common and so a real find. I can see dad now biting into one, juice running down his chin, face screwed up in a look of satisfaction.

6 comments:

Connie Rose said...

Oh, yes, apricots! I have a fond memory of eating my fill of and then taking home a huge carton of apricots to L.A. from Santa Cruz, from the tree that was in the backyard of my husband-to-be's parents in the Santa Cruz mountains. My god, but those apricots were the best I ever had. I won't even buy them now because they're never good anymore and they cost a mint to boot. Your drawings are great!

Sherrie Spangler said...

What a special memory of your dad. Thanks for sharing. And your sketch looks good enough to eat!

The Inside Stori said...

Your drawing skills are amazing!!

Living to work - working to live said...

A great apricot sketch and a nice story. So, to be clear, these were wild apricot trees?

The Idaho Beauty said...

Hilary, no not wild apricots but from orchards in the Maryhill area. Why they grow them so big there I don't know - maybe a special variety like with pears & apples. As for the fruit stands, same thing. Local farmers bringing their wares to the side of the road to sell - often in what seems like the middle of nowhere.

Michele Matucheski said...

Your sketching continues to mature! So nice you have a comforts sketchbook, and that an apricot brought up nice memories of your dad.
We've got peaches here now. Perhaps I'll try my hand at sketching today?