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.
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.