Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Tuesday, 2nd October, 2007

gastrolithTHIS MIGHT LOOK like any other pebble but Rheba and Farris, who gave it to me, had it (and other stones they'd picked up on their ranch in western Texas) identified by a palaeontologist as a gastrolith - one of the stones that vegetarian dinosaurs swallowed to assist in grinding plant materials in their gut.

It's another piece of dinosaur behaviour that has parallels with that of birds.

jam jarJust Right Jam

Barbara and her mum made some apple and plum jam last week, using fruit from my mum's garden, which turned out successfully. Last year a batch of rhubarb and ginger turned out so that you could almost pour it, this summer, determined not to make the same mistake again, they made a batch that is so thick that you need to cut into it with the knife. But it still tastes good.

This batch of apple and plum is just right.

Painting and drawing

After yesterday's disappointments with acrylics I've been doing studio work today. It wasn't such an inviting day to work outside.

What I like about drawing, in contrast to painting, is that I can look at my subject the whole time. In painting I need to turn my attention back to my palette every minute or so. It breaks that absorption in the subject that you get when you're drawing. When you go back to colour mixing, you need to switch to more analytical frame of mind. You need to plan ahead in order to make best use of the swatch of colour you've just mixed.

And by that time you've lost the close involvement with the subject.