Dry Days in Orkney Painting Structure 12
August 5, 2018
It has been a hectic week painting but I would like to reflect on how I started with Structure 12. I have managed to cover nearly all of the canvas with paint and I am happy with it. I can only hope that others will feel the same. As I have been painting, I have heard the story of it unfold between the brushstrokes starting with Structure 12. In other words, all winter as I thought about what I would do on site, I could find no answer. With 8 years of volunteer work, I knew that the summer would reveal stones and dirt and people scurrying about it all. BUT, how and what would I paint?
Even when I got on to the site this year and started walking around…I wondered. BUT, I wandered with watercolours and pencils and camera. The dry and bright weather helped a whole lot. I stopped at certain view points because I saw a shape or a shadow that I thought was elegant or pretty or well….worth a picture.
Then came the bigger than I thought canvas on the bigger than I thought wall of the ART HUT. Thanks to the kind supporting of community work, Orkney Aggregates gave us a larger portacabin and so my painting could get larger. The bigger size was also better for the four artists that were there sharing it all.
And so one day, during the first week, I began on the right endof the blank canvas with a curve within a curve and a straight inside wall of a corner of Structure 12. It had looked so green, white and black. The grass was framed by the blue of Stenness Loch and the dark earth just revealed after its winter sleep made a grand contrast with the top layer of the wall of stones.
They looked white in the brilliant sunlight. I caught the moment when the grass had grown over the edges for the moments they were there. Then, the word went out to trim the edges of all trenches and those green tendrils were gone.
As the painting has progressed, I have realized that its story is in what brief moments the painting captured that now bear some greater significance. For instance, I began with, centralized, and ended with parts of Structure 12.
When I first came to volunteer at the Ness in the summer of 2011, my youthful inside started off troweling on the very surface of Structure 12. My older outer body quickly met that inner one and I went off to work in small finds where carrying buckets and getting onto knees does not happen. This year, it was also the year for no new digging on Structure 12 BUT, it has lived again this 2018 season by being the major link through my painting! What is the next chapter of the story?