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bumble bee

Dock Music

Monday, 9th June 2003, West Yorkshire


There are so many other subjects that I could and I feel I should be drawing but, you guessed it, here I am down the garden in our so-called 'meadow area' drawing the dock again.This stage, as the flowers unfurl fascinates me. I'd rather draw this weed than the most perfect garden rose. In The Elements of Drawing Ruskin advised his pupils:

'Never force yourself to admire anything when you are not in the humour; but never force yourself away from from what you feel to be lovely, in search of anything better; gradually the deeper scenes of the natural world will unfold themselves to you in still increasing fulness of passionate power.'

The rhythms and curling of the leaves seem somehow musical: relaxed and elegant. The leaves branch out at proportionally shorter intervals towards the top of the main stem in a cadence; a sequence of leaves declining in size and ending with the unfolding flower-head. I guess that you'd describe the leaves as alternate, but if you look at the plant from directly above it works more like some ruinous, widely spaced spiral staircase.

That lower leaf has a central vein elegantly curved like a treble clef on a musical score. It has flourishes along the edge (and they're such a pleasure to draw in pen and ink) - like the details and decorations in a piece of music, say a violin concerto - but with the central vein running through it like the overall shape of the movement.

Brown Beetle

beetlebeetlebeetleI can't identify this beetle: looking through my various books all I can say is that in it's basic form, but not its colour, it looks something like a soldier beetle. The habitat that I found it in isn't much of a help either: it was trundling around on the bathroom windowsill.

As about 4,000 species of beetle live in Britain it would be lucky if I could drop on the right species just by leafing through a field guide. next page

Richard Bell