The drawing for the first panel has begun.
A board was covered in dark paint – oil paint straight from the tube, spread thinly all around.
The canvas on a stretcher frame holds it slightly away from the paint.
A drawing has been done on the back – a days work, working swiftly, pushing the canvas against the painted board to pick up a line of paint.
The board and the canvas has been separated.
The canvas drawing is very rough and complex, with places where the intricate line has been obliterated. This is no problem to the next stage on developing this piece, the main work is now with the image scribed onto the dark board. This is one of the first three boards that will go on the ceiling.
The drawing, acting as a guide, was a faint line, that needed etching, dragging along a petal point large enough to remove the dark painted surface the reveal the white underpaint. This is a method of image making called sgraffitoing, and is used commonly in pottery decoration.Sgraffitoing can only be done while the upper surface remains leather hard and malleable. There came a time when that first stage of drawing resembling wood cuts or engravings, came to an end. I then found that the surface still enabled a kind of etching or scratching technique enabled me to develop some of sophisticated laying devices (chiaroscuro) while retaining the dreamlike sensibility induced by the irregular scratching. Then, when the surface became too dry I was able to begin painting. I can now apply white paint to the surface, and it is not distorted and tinted by the underpaint. This enables the whole array of trickery open to the artist when playing with paint. I have become intrigued by the funerary clues that enable us to piece together the rites and myths of these ancestors from Gobekli Tepe. The culture seemed to be obsessed with the image of the vultures, the undertakers, the consumers of all flesh, the purifiers, who knows. All we have are the great birds picking at the carcases, dismembering head from body. There seems to have been two towers, one for the head and the other for the body, and a carnal house below. This image has actually been taken from a wall painting in Catal Huyuk 5000 years later than Gobekli Tepe, it is thought be to culturally or racially linked. The snakes, spiders and birds likewise interweave with the dreams of this ancient dreamer, in this ancient place, just after the departure of the great ice sheets and the arrival into a land like paradise. The tribe, clan, or people who built these extraordinary temples then buried them. They were not intended to be seen in their own day. They were left there for some future event. What event was that. When they would be uncovered perhaps? Or were they graves, shrines, to be kept safe by being buried. Who knows? It is all an intriguing mystery, perhaps the symbols they used can speak for themselves, but they must be examined carefully. Bernard Barnes