Something orange showing in the mud – a piece of oxidised pottery. Another piece slowly appears as the trowel gently scrapes away the earth crumb by crumb.
Trying to draw the undulating stones like wafers, which I wrote about on Friday, my drawing fails to live up to the written image. It reminds me of Merleau-Ponty’s account of Cézanne, when he spoke about painting a white tablecloth that resembled the snows of Mont Blanc. If he thinks about the snow he is lost – but if he paints the tablecloth as he really sees it, then the resemblance to snow will appear.
The Orkney Museum have given me a space, just off the Archeology display in Room 1, for an exhibition of work from my Artist’s Residency on the Ness of Brodgar in 2016. The show is now open and will continue until the end of September.
In the centre is an installation with a large drawing, portraits of people on the dig and the latest edit of my film (available to view on Vimeo). The film is a work in progress and will be updated in due course.
On either side is a display of drawings and watercolours from the material collected on site during the residency, together with small installations in museum cases.
These small installations reflect different aspects of my residency.
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A fine day on site at last, although the ever present wind makes the barrier tape rattle noisily on my sound recording.
Quiet voices working on the final stages of Structure 14, where drawings are being made before stones are removed.
On the other side of the trench, many layers of stone like a wafer flow across a sagging wall looking chaotic – but the structure itself is solid and well shaped. It’s the primary north end of Structure 1, where the supervisor says the walls have been ‘robbed’ of stone for other uses.
Must draw this next week.
This year, I have begun writing as well as drawing, bearing witness to the activity on site. So from now on, alongside drawings and paintings, I will be posting written observations rather than journal entries.
Wind and rain. Have to lean into the wind and have my back to it so the rain doesn’t hit the notebook. Archaeology continues. Diggers are made anonymous by their hoods. Nearly all have their backs to the weather. They are marginally more sheltered, being lower in the trench.
From the foreground to the horizon: piles of stones, a row of diggers, wheelbarrows and kit, mound of spoil, loch with water racing and breaking small white topped waves, Stones of Stenness, cars and coaches on the causeway and Stenness car park. The buildings beyond forming a first horizon, with the hills rising as a faint shape merging seamlessly into grey cloud.
My feet are numb. I need thicker socks. They have had three weeks of sun before I arrived. Did I bring the bad weather with me? The rain has stopped but the wind continues. It’s lunchtime. Maybe it will be possible to draw this afternoon.
Small triangle incised in a flat stone. Another triangle tip to tip making a butterfly. The second triangle mostly concealed under another stone. The significant marks in a position to suggest that its existence was more important than its visibility. So this affirms that something visual is not necessarily meant to be seen. It will now be meticulously cleaned, protected and recorded. Presumably it will eventually become an exhibit, where its visual-ness will take precedence over its original placement.