December 5, 2017 § 8 Comments
Ally ducked under the honeysuckle arch and the wooden gate clicked shut. The whooshing sound of tyres on tarmac vanished. In it’s place was a different kind of noise. Bees. Hundreds of them. Doing relays in the lavender hedge, rolling yellow and drunken in the buddleia, tiny brown honey bees grazing love-in-a-mist. Some bees were so heavy with pollen they lay, hardly moving, comatose, in the long grass under the almond tree. Ally had walked into a water colour painting. The shapes blurred, colours overlapping. She took off her sunglasses and rubbed her eyes, but still nothing looked distinct or separate.
This wasn’t a garden for serious digging. It was a pleasure garden for dozing, deadheading, for musing and drinking tea from china cups. No bright colours were allowed, just graded washes and modified hues. Thin raw umber and zinc white with a dash of faded purple for an old blowsy rose, diluted cadmium red with a touch of white and a hint of black for a swaying hollyhock. The flowers looked fragile, as if they would be gone tomorrow. She sat down at the table. There were paints, and a square of thick wet paper stretched tight over a board with masking tape. With a sponge, a rag and a voluptous sable brush, she dripped coloured washes onto the paper. The paint spread and granulated, and Ally allowed the painting freedom to form itself, occasionally directing by mopping or tipping the board from side to side. There was no detail – just traces, a vague promise, an intimation of what might be.
A bee made fat with pollen crash landed upside down on the table. It sounded cross. She tipped it over and watched it shake itself, flex it’s wings then struggle into the thick warm air.
Time suddenly shifted, and the rumbling of lorries got loud. She put on her sunglasses, ducked under the arch and lifted the latch.