Saints and Serpents

Monday, 5th July 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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It's the best weather we've had for drawing for weeks but, as I'm having problems with my printer, I find myself wanting to stay at home, hoping some solution will materialise, and get on with some writing.

First Impressions

What is the best way to write the text for my Sushi Sketchbooks?

They're supposed to deal with direct experience so I'd like to write as much as I can on the day I do the drawing, in that way I'd capture those vital first impressions of a place, but there's another aspect to any place; its after effects: the way it makes you think, feel and remember.


In May we spent a week in Norfolk and I'm now adding the text to the drawings I did there. The experience seems to have spilled over into my subsequent reading and my thinking. In Norfolk I found serpentine forms in the cottage garden and in the village church. This serpent appears on the crest of a coat of arms on a memorial stone in the nave of the church. It was carved in a slab of black limestone, polished like marble, which contained fossil shell fragments, which I guess dated from the Jurassic.


On the beach, half an hour's walk from the church I found flints wedged tight in between the timbers of the breakwaters as if some enthusiastic amateur sculptor had artfully arranged them. I soon realised that it was the surge of the tide that had forced them into the gaps.

The contrast between organic forms and manmade structures has emerged as the theme of this sketchbook. Clematis stems twisting through a plastic trellis on the stone wall of the cottage reminded me of the snakes and ladders board in the cottage.

I hope I'll have the booklet finished soon so that you can follow my sinuous line of thought. But with the printer misbehaving it might take a while yet. Next Page

Richard Bell,

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