Lime trees, 4 p.m.

Christmas Day, 25th December 2005

limes, 4 pm

lime tree and pampas grassTHERE'S A SILENCE that isn't like any other day: no drone of traffic, just a gentle white noise, like a distant waterfall, permeating the valley.

One of my presents (from Hilary and David, who we walked with yesterday) is a bird feeder. I get it filled with sunflower hearts before breakfast and, within half an hour, great, blue and coal tit, a goldfinch and a robin have visited it.

The lime trees (left) are sketched using my mini-watercolour box and a waterbrush.

A Dim View of Corot

This Corot (right) was drawn without my glasses after Christmas dinner in the soft light of Susan and Carl's (Barbara's sister and her husband) lounge. As I drew, the pen lines appeared as fuzzy tones and it was only when I put on my glasses that the strident linework became obvious.

reading glassesI've found that I can draw while wearing my folding reading glasses, which have fairly small lenses, by peering over them at the subject.

Corot's sky appears, in this reproduction at least, neutral and surprisingly devoid of details; the reflections in the river give a feeling of calm, which goes with the overcast sky; a more turbulent sky would imply ripples on the water. The woman on the left may be gathering firewood while the man on the right may be fishing.



A Big Dream

dream dragon

Last time I saw my great-niece Emily she drew me some calligraphic images of things that she'd dreamt including a spiraling vortex, The Hollow Hole, that she tells me is a recurrent dream of hers. To me, it resembles an underworld from Celtic mythology or an alternative dimension of space/time in modern physics. The last time she drew it for me, it was strictly on the understanding that it wasn't to go in my diary but she relented today - well, it is Christmas - and drew me a quick sketch of it (right).

On various scraps of Christmas wrapping (since I'm too mean to let her draw in my sketchbook!), she draws me some of the denizens of her dream world. I like the way the arrow-pierced creature (above) has serendipitously ended up in a stylised forest of Christmas trees, like a 'here there be dragons' warning in some northern forest, on the fringes of a medieval Mappa Mundi. Next Page

Richard Bell,

Hollow Hole
The Hollow Hole
dream people