After some rather disappointing and frustrating efforts with the Inktense pencils, when I wondered if my competence was up to the medium, I'm quite pleased with this one. They really are more like painting than drawing, with the concommitent relative difficulty in controlling the result, and the unpredictable brightness and and intensity of colour and consequent risk of heavy-handedness are still a little unnerving. I still wish I could be more subtle and delicate and understated in drawing and painting, and indeed photography, and cooking, and probably everything I do, but there we are.
I was also quite pleased because I didn't use any photos for the picture, but sat down with a cup of tea after an afternoon's grass-cutting (I initially typed 'lawn mowing' there, but that is rather to glamourise the activity and our grass...) and drew the plants quite quickly. I find the buds of these late narcissus very attractive, with a touch of allium shapeliness about them.
I never draw or paint anything larger than A4, in order to be able to scan it.
Something rather good has happened with my students. We suddenly find they are capable of roleplays in class. Roleplay in language teaching can be dismal, if it isn't pitched right, if the right language isn't provided and drilled first, if the subject is unclear or inappropriate, or if the students simply lack the confidence or the desire or don't understand what they're supposed to be doing and why. So we haven't done a great deal before, but they must be making some progress as they are doing it and enjoying it now. And I enjoy it too, as it feels less like I'm having to pull them along all the time, and it's really quite entertaining sometimes to see what they come up with.
I find if I prowl around listening to try to help them while they are preparing, they become inhibited, or get distracted, so I tend to place my chair in the middle of the horseshoe of tables, and listen, and chip in occasionally when it sounds like they need it. It helps too if it looks like I'm purposefully occupied, rather than watching them or gazing into space. So I began jotting. It's a nice way of reclaiming a little bit of space and time for myself while working, and at the same time being engaged with people round me. Here are some results. I tidied them up and completed them a bit afterwards.
Head down listening
laughter in two languages
my eyes here, ears there.
Somewhere in the main course the appetite falters.
It's too late to ask for a clean fork,
and the table by the window proves to be draughty.
You wonder what the bill will be, and get ready to leave,
feeling that you could have chosen better, though
the starter and the sticky toffee pudding weren't too bad.
Outside, a tailless magpie flies
into a St Andrew's cross
of faded jet trails,
and the plane tree buds
chase on the tails
of last year's pompoms.
Raymonde wears beads
of cranberry resin,
and a scarf striped like a bee.
The antsy child spills out
from the busy, urbane woman
of a certain age. Beneath
the peppered-and-salted centre parting,
the odd black bob,
the mischief is infectious.
(Raymonde drove me mad for several years, then I realised how fond I was of her.)
A few more minutes
A few more minutes, another sip of juice,
striped socks with ballerina laces,
and Sunday will be a grasse matinée.