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.
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
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
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
Richard Bell, email@example.com
The Hollow Hole