Drawing temperature

Chalk finish draw smAnother boiling hot day in the studio, as the sun pours in the skylights. Didn’t help that the heating was on first thing this morning, for some unknown reason! So, time to stop drawing, before I get sweat all over it. I like the bony quality of this one.

Drawing myself into the day

Chalk start draw smExcuses, excuses, excuses: no point in postponing drawing because I am not feeling up to it. The only thing to do is to start: to draw myself into the day, and into the drawing. Today, started as timid as a mouse, but you can already see the line has got more fluid by number 5. Sometimes it is only the drawing that makes sense. 


Chalk size gold smNow all I have to do is let it dry overnight, brush the surplus off in the morning, and see what I have got. My first time: god was I nervous!

Hot, chalk, gold

Chalk size smPhew! Sweating away here in the studio. It is so hot today that everything is working double quick. The glue I am using to seal the chalk is drying in minutes, rather than hours; and I am experiencing the power of chalk to absorb, usually water (to form a chalk aquifer, something that adds to the characteristic clear steady flow found in chalk streams) but in this instance layer upon layer of ‘size’ (the name for the type of glue I am using). I could seal with something else, such as PVA, but I want to minimise the different materials used and as size is what I will be using to finally stick the gold leaf onto the chalk then I would prefer to use that for sealing too. A bit of a technical blog today, but then some days are like that.

How to wear your sword

Chalk parisi smI dropped in on Dr. Nick Thorpe in the Archaeology Department of the University of Winchester the other day. We talked all around how chalk appears from our past: artefacts, the Stonehenge and Dorset Cursuses, the way it preserves bones, and this Parisi chalk figurine. Isn’t he great! In the scientific paper that contains this illustration the discussion was not about the overall design, the warriors obvious virility, or why he seems to be wearing a Jedi-style hood, instead it focussed on how the sword was being worn on the back, rather than slung from the hip. Isn’t this how the Ninja wore their swords? Now I want to locate this figure and go and see it for real. Thanks Nick for a fascinating visit, and good luck with your fieldwork this summer.

Chalk tractor

Chalk tractor smA visit to the chalk quarry yesterday, in the blazing sunshine, which made it very difficult to see anything thanks to chalk’s high albedo. The quarry was a flash of white. A little relief inside the barn, where the ground chalk is stored, spilling to the edges like a carbonate tsunami. What was wonderful though was how the chalk felt so cold: the cool of water. Even today, touching the blocks I brought back into the studio, they feel cold and clammy. The block that has been drying out in the studio for the last few weeks is warm. So now it is time to start working on these new blocks, Woodford Engineering are laser cutting me a couple of hand tools with which to sculpt out the parabolas. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.