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Magpies at Morrisons

Wednesday, 12th November 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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trees at Flanshaw

sparrowcrowSparrows hop about at the edge of the car park then disappear into the dense cover of the shrub beds.

magpieA crow 'caws' over the rooftops. Magpies are hustling about as usual, taking an interest in any opportunity that might arise.

gullBlack-headed gulls swoop over the cars, their neat plumage reminding me of days by the sea.

starlingStarlings seem most at home in this urban world: a couple of them strut and dodge amongst the shoppers by the entrance to the supermarket while another perches on the big 'm' of a MacDonald's.

As we came here Barbara glimpsed a brown bird perching on a bus shelter - she thinks it was a kestrel - unnoticed by the people queuing below. I'm sorry I missed that.

While Barbara and her Mum wend their way around the aisles of Morrisons' supermarket, Flanshaw, Wakefield, I take the opportunity to make a quick watercolour sketch of trees (above), sitting with the car door open as it's a warm afternoon.

daphne?After the fuzziness painting of those masses of bare branches and twigs I'm ready to draw something with more definition; I sketch the leaves of an evergreen shrub (which I think it might be Daphne) as they swish in the breeze.

A Little Teapot

mugteapotAs we wait for our lunch in the café I can't miss the opportunity to sketch another everyday object; a small stainless steel teapot. It's a tricky thing to draw, partly because that spout seems to me to be out of proportion to the rest of the pot. Perhaps I'm picturing it like the head of a bird, in which case the spout would be a bit on the small side to be a beak.

teapot and mugAs I'm blotting the pen and ink drawing (above left) of the teapot with my water brush to produce the wash of tone I realise that I'm painting a distorted, simplified view of the café: a fish-eye lens reflection of lights and windows and of me, greatly expanded horizontally, as if seen in a fairground mirror.

This little metal teapot hardly an inspiring object to draw - not such a pleasure as drawing the Daphne leaves, for instance - but any opportunity to practice drawing ellipses and three-dimensional shapes has got to be worth it.

Even something as simple as getting the relationship of one object to another can be more difficult than you might think: I found it tricky to get the mug the right size in relation to the teapot. Especially as I kept moving the mug to drink more of the tea. next page

Richard Bell

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