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Another long day, nearly thirteen hours all in all, but I did at least achieve the main goal which was to graphite and glaze the rear of the three wing panels.

This should be a relief, and initially it was, but I noticed that the glaze was drying slightly matt and the graphite was not properly fixed.   It is the most ‘freehand’ of all the processes involved, I don’t measure in order to make up the glaze, I just put a dose of solvent, a glob of stand oil and a little white oil paint (Michael Harding zinc white).  Up until now this has worked, though it sometimes takes a long time to dry. Today I erred on the cautious side with the stand oil, not wanting it to take quite as long as my tests in the studio (which were still tacky after ten days), but perhaps I under did it as a result.  Not quite sure what to do about this, I could vary my glaze recipe adding some liquin in, I could just do it again, or I could hope for the best, bearing in mind these will barely be visible anyway.  The one that’ll really matter is going to be the rear of the main structure, and that does need to be glossy, and it will definitely not have ten days to dry, more like half that….

Tomorrow I can’t go to Roskilde, I have a hospital appointment.  It feels a bit nail biting to miss a day now, but a break is also quite welcome.  Today was quite an effort, after being up from 4.45am with Zach again.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was that I did enjoy working with the graphite again.  It’s so messy, but I feel comfortable with it. It’s like an old friend.  Why do I like it so much?  I was thinking that it’s because of the grime, the sootiness of it.   It isn’t neat and tidy, it’s uncontrolled and dirty.  Apart from the metaphorical associations with complicated (messy) emotions, it reminds me of the stories of how Sheffield, my home town, was when the steel industry was in full flow.  Covered in soot and grime.  Perhaps that’s part of the appeal.

“Sheffield is one of the dirtiest and most smoky towns I ever saw.  There are a quantity of small forges without tall chimneys.  The town is also very hilly, and the smoke ascends the streets, instead of leaving them.  It is usual for children to wash before they go to bed, but not universal, and their bodies imbibe continual dust and grime.”  From Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution in Britain by E. Royston Pike.