I came into this project, with a designated title of "Artist". The title may be of little significance. How hard can it be? Using your talents to match color to camouflage a surface area. But it was much more involved that just matching a man made color to a man made surface, as modern day image makers do today. Or perhaps even easier yet, to have a computer do it for you. Complications evolve when you include Mother Nature in the plans.
Conservation-restoration of cultural heritage, protection and restoration of cultural heritage, including works of art and architecture, as well as archaeological and historical artifacts.
In conservation practice, their are efforts taken to "know your materials",
What color? What pigment? What surface? What binder? What texture?
What can you do with the materials to manipulate a surface to obey your commands. In other words to be in control of your materials. There had to be some kind of systematic way to organize and test the pigments found in the rock.
I started pounding found colored rock. Seeing what pigment I can "squeeze" out of each type of colored sandstone and yellow ochers. Getting a feel for the rock before starting pigment trials. I felt the most confident in experimenting with local material. Trying to come up with a solution using local materials, rather than adding something foreign to the sandstone. I spent many hours grinding rocks into powders and mixing and matching ratios of different rocks to come up with a value and color solution. Sun and weather conditions may prove to disprove my trials to pigment matching, yet in the short term, camouflage was successful using all natural material from the area.
At this point I would need some help from conservationist/scientists to come up with a conservation material that will hold up to the weather conditions. Since pigments and paintings in museum settings are all under such controlled conditions, how can one expect longevity of pigments in an open air setting? Much more research would have to be done to come up with a solution for longevity.
As an artist on a conservation project, I needed to be comfortable in knowing all material added, could be reversed. To do no further harm to the rock face. The pigments used are natural pigments. From pigments to binders, all natural rocks and soil were from the area.
Every effort was made to keep the material used natural and local. Clay makes a good binder. Bentonite clay is natural in the area. The soil is also clay in nature. Both were considered. Clay earth was found in the banks of the Milk River, and Bentonite Clay was purchased for use on this project. In the park, the Bentonite Clay mounds are considered "Spirit Mounds". The Bentonite clay was not retrieved from these mounds but purchased in store for use as a binder.
Red Light Green Light
You might think this is about sitting in traffic. But for my next installment I will talk of trials of lighting conditions when working in the great outdoors. Outdoor painters will know exactly what I'm talking about when it comes to the color of light.