“Cordelia and Walter” a Boysenberry Art by Jeff Lee

Hi Readers! Check out this amazing art piece by our friend Jeff Lee!

“Cordelia and Walter”
Boysenberries and white acrylic paint on canvas, 2019
18″ x 24″

I guess I was mainly inspired by Knott’s Berry Farm’s impressive ability to add boysenberry to pretty much anything. I wanted to find a way to incorporate actual berries as artistic materials. The hardest part of the whole process was finding boysenberries in February. I was about to give up and use blackberries instead when I found frozen boysenberries at Mother’s Market.
I defrosted the berries, (accidentally dropped them all over my kitchen floor) and then boiled them down with some water:

This made my apartment smell amazing! It was like there was a Boysenberry Festival in my nose!

I then pureed the mixture in the blender to smooth it out a bit:
I probably should have strained it at this point because random pieces of berry ended up visible later on the painting. But for this project, I didn’t mind.

I then mixed various amounts of the boysenberry mixture with white acrylic paint to create a series of shades of lavender. It was a challenge to get darker shades. If I added too much berry, the paint would get sticky and not dry. So I stuck mainly with lighter tones.

Before painting the Knotts, I did a prototype painting of Rudolph Boysen* the creator of the boysenberry:
(*At least, I think it’s Rudolph Boysen. This is according to a user named “Mark’s Mom” who posted the photo on which this is based on Boysen’s page on findagrave.com)

After confirming that the technique worked, I started the portrait of Cordelia and Walter, choosing a photo from 1911 when the couple married. I really liked the softness of the photo and that it showed a younger side of the couple, as opposed to the many photos of them later in life working at the Farm. I don’t know exactly how well the boysenberry pigment will last over time. Hopefully it will keep its color. I did spray it with several layers of protective varnish.

More of my art can be seen at artbyjefflee.blogspot.com
Or on my Instagram @artbyjefflee

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