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The Colour of Rocks

Thursday 23rd August 2001, North Yorkshire

Cannon Rocks at Brimham THERE'S A GENERAL AGREEMENT among paint and clothes manufacturers in the colour referred to as 'stone'. In my mind's eye sandstone is sandy in colour, just like the name suggests. That's true of a fairly freshly chipped piece, although in fact it can be greyish when really fresh, but, here at Brimham, because of the iron-rich minerals which act as a natural cement between the grains of quartz and feldspar, it soon weathers to a reddish brown shade. But when I sit and draw a small part of the rockface this morning I find myself using a much wider palette of watercolours. The rock itself is variously reddish, yellowish or sepia brown. Overlaid on that are pale yellow and whitish discs of lichen and a spattering of smaller black lichens.


birch bark Under Rowans and Silver Birches alongside Bracken and Bramble, there's a toadstool that at first sight looks like a washed-out version of Fly Agaric. It has a white stem and, like the fly agaric, the remnants of a ring around the stem, where the cap has opened up. But the pale granules speckling the cap are smaller and arranged more regularly than in its better-known relative. The gills are white. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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