SONDAGE Sighted at the Ness!


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I have been transfixed by these rectangular shapes.

For the past week I have been fixated on these rectangular shapes that appear around the dig.  They are placed in the thick layers of soil that has been cut into to create access to the layers in the bulk of the soil.  The lovely Jo MacKenzie, a micromorphologist archaeologist (that is a mouthful) has been on site taking samples of these beautifully coloured layers. 

Jo carefully prepares to remove a sample.

When the sample is removed, the shadowed rectangle remains.  This test pit is called a SONDAGE and it is my new word.  It just sounds so elegant, so slick, so… well…. sexy!


I so enjoy the sound of SONDAGE that I think my painting could be titled “The Montage of the Sondage and a Melange of More” I am beginning to realize that my time at the Ness painting is also about learning and sharing.  So many visitors stop into the Art Hut and the rectangles from the sondage are a focal point.  I end up telling them about the wonders of the science of the process (and I may write it up or get the lovely Jo to help me out). 

I am also now collecting words of a different kind to add to the work.  Ah, yes, what will happen to this large painting?  I have an exhibition scheduled for Tankerness House Museum, Kirkwall for December 2018.  The work I created this winter at the Northlight Gallery, Stromness, Orkney was leading me up to the summer and that along with this painting at the Ness, will become the focal point of the winter exhibition. However, I am finding so much more about the elegance and artful way that Jo handles her work that something of her or from her will be included.

You can see the rectangles on the sondage in my painting.