Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm a Rock Drawing Machine!

Ok, maybe not "machine" ... not yet, at least. In previous trips, I have started my drawing assignments about halfway into the first week and that was all I did the rest of the dig time. This was partly due to having to draw things that just hadn't been drawn in previous years. This season, however, there is no "catch up" work to do, so most of my time has been spent working in square F8 as part of Arny's Army. My service with them is coming to an end, though, as squares have finished their work and new walls are revealed which long to be recorded on paper. My metric graph paper, to be more specific. Today I did very little digging and spent my first full day drawing. For those of you who don't know what I do, allow me to explain (I will keep it short so as to ensure your complete attention). Dr. Schuler says, "Andrea, I need you to draw this wall." This can be either a top plan or profile or both. I say, "Yes, Sir," and skip away (literally). I prepare my tools: drawing board, metric graph paper, metric tape measure (which, would you believe, was hard to find in Billings, MT and got me a funny look from the guy when I asked if they had them?!), pencils, ruler, string and chaining pins and my water bottle (you remember we must stay hydrated). I approach assigned wall (or column, of floor, or bench, whatever) and take a good long look at it. This serves two purposes: 1) I have to decide where to start and how to go about the drawing, and this helps me make a plan, and 2) I like to think it makes me look professional walking around examining the wall for a few minutes with my tape measure in hand and pencil in my mouth or tucked in my hat before I begin, and of course it is important to always look professional when one is drawing rocks. Next, I set up a straight line (or two) using the chaining pins and bright pink string - this is the place from which all my measurements come, so it is obviously an important step. At this point, I am ready to draw, so I use the tape measure to see how far rocks are away from my string and from each other, mark the points on my paper (in proportion to the scale I've decided) and then ... I draw the rocks! Intriguing, yes? It doesn't sound like much, it may not even look like much on paper (funny, it just looks like a bunch of rocks), but I can assure you that much time and effort is put into these drawings, and they are to scale and measured. I never knew I would be a skilled rock-artist, but I actually kind of enjoy it more than I thought I would. And, as crazy as it sounds, I have spent so much time looking at the rocks in these walls, that I can actually remember specific rocks - even ones that I drew my first time here 4 years ago - which is either kinda cool or crazy, but it's the truth!

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