The Real Mystery of Stonehenge

Recently I have found myself inexplicably obsessed with our ancient past.  When I say “Ancient” I don’t mean Roman or Greek!  When it comes to disappointing books, nothing is so disappointing as picking up a book on “Ancient History” and having it begin with the Greeks or Romans!

I have now finished Neil Oliver’s “A History of Ancient Britain” (He begins the book with the last Ice Age and only ends the book with the arrival of the Romans:  Ancient History Proper).  I am now reading David Anthony’s “The Horse the Wheel and Language” learning about how to reconstruct unwritten dead languages, and about pre-proto-indo-Europeans (enter full Geek-hood now.)  Waiting on my shelf after this I have “Bones: Discovering the First Americans” by Elaine Dewar.  As I read I begin to get a feel for a different mindset.  I think I would like to try to paint what I am reading about and make an attempt to capture some aspect of what it is I feel as I read through these books.

  Last night I thought I would begin that journey by celebrating the Solstice and painting a picture of a megalithic structure.  Where better to start than Stonehenge?  Painting these picture proved more difficult than I first thought.  It wasn’t the stones themselves, those were relatively easy.  It was actually the sky that betrayed me–which I think is perfectly appropriate for Stonehenge.  Perhaps the mystery of the whole thing lies not in the stones but in the sky.

  I needed the stones to be on crisp white paper because that is the best way for stones. So I painted those first.  But then when it came to the sky I found my options limited.  I could do a wash, but that would cloud the stones.  I could paint between (which I ended up doing) but it eliminated the stark contrast of the white.  I have arrived at the conclusion that to get the crisp white paper for the stones and to get a darker wash for the background, I will have to paint the stones first, mask them, wash the sky, and then unmask the stones.

Mystery solved.

Next time around.  In the mean time, I will need to see if the local framing business can mat this before Solstice.  ha ha.  MCC it is.


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