Hugo talked most interestingly about how Structure 14 may have been built – what was probably established first and how, bit by bit, the (non architect based) structure gradually appeared over time. Stones straight on to earth. (Our early C19 cottage was originally six inch ashlars directly on earth – so not a lot has changed over 5000 years). Then Martha was pointing out how the size of stones in different structures indicate whether it took one man or two to build a wall. Also, there are rounded stones beside a wall of Structure 8 that appear to have been dumped – and where did they come from? There is a pervading air of randomness mixed with pragmatism and serendipity, which resonates with the way I work.


More pictures from the site in today’s sunshine.


Re excavation. Revisiting an eight year old trench. Yesterday they excavated the black plastic. Today brushing, weeding and gentle spade work, dragging off earth settled on top of previously exposed stone. Like working with a big trowel. Not on their knees but still bent over. Housework clearing up loose stones with brush and shovel.


Mild, damp, grey upon grey. The grass is lighter than the sky. The waves on the loch travel one way and the clouds appear to blow in the other direction.

Wet paint


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.