Archive: January 28, 2018

It’s been a crazy week

My feet have hardly touched the ground over the last week, and I have been too exhausted in the evenings to write the blog. Running the project in two different locations with students hard at work in both places and dealing with all the various challenges has proved to be a struggle this week, but still enormously rewarding.

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End of the week

We had a good week. Working well despite the heat and humidity. We much enjoyed going through some chemistry and preparing ph solutions ranging from a ph of 5.5 to 8.5 and testing them on the some paintings which we have provided. I must say it is so easy to source the chemicals in India thanks to Jo who is in the industry and he is so familiar with mixing solutions. We are also discussing the varnishes and perfecting the mixture which we now have decided is the best for here. All the paintings have been lightly varnished and will need a further coat at some stage.

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Long day

Today was probably the hottest day so far. The temperature is above 30 degrees which is definitely higher than last year and the year before. Our studio has a pleasant temperature and we have I believe eight fans plus doors & windows on both sides which all create a gentle breeze, at times too gentle.

We always start with a briefing on what was achieved the day before and what treatments will take place during the day.

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New arrival

Marie Christine left this weekend feeling better I hope, she caught a nasty cold soon after arriving and went through at least several boxes of tissues.  So far nobody else seems to have suffered luckily, because it’s not much fun feeling unwell away from home.

The weekend was great, weather hot and pleasant by the sea with a constant breeze and listening to the waves breaking on the shore was the type of sound of which one never gets tired. No particular birds but quite an excitement to see dolphins on the horizon – apparently there are two types of dolphins on this stretch of coast but I have not studied which ones they are.

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Delhi Belly with a vengeance

I managed to survive two years without encountering parasites or food problems in general having kept to a vegetarian strict diet, alas this time i was more adventurous and succumbed to some kind of food poisoning within a week. Mea Culpa entirely. Too bad for me and it took two days to feel better not to mention the fact that I could not work yesterday afternoon and abandoned everybody. The work has progressed magnificently without me and at a good pace.

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What a difference from last year

The students arrive smiling ready to work and having missed the classes enormously. I notice such a big difference from last year, they are more confident, they are deciding what treatment to undertake and how to  go about it. The first four portraits we are currently working on all have been heavily repainted at some stage, possibly in the last 40 years. For this purpose, we had to order a new batch of solutions for cleaning and it took the best part of a month to coordinate what we could source in India and what had to come from abroad and that we could safely carry with us.The varnish is patchy on all of them and on one portrait we have found a very thick dark varnish which is uneven and seems to cover mainly the background. We are happily expanding on the gels discussed at the conference in London late last year. Some are working very well but other do not seem to have the desired effect, it will take time to work out the best formula.

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Back On the Job

It doesn’t feel as if an entire year has gone by, but here we are in 2018 back in Panjim both happy and excited. We are here to continue our much needed collaboration which we started back in 2016. All the familiar faces at the Archbishop’s Palace greet us warmly and back we go in our favourite room named after our protector St Francis Xavier. It was after visiting his tomb that we felt the need to stop in Goa and try to provide much needed help and conservation for the works of art in the Palace, Seminary of Rachol and various Churches.

Christopher and I entered the studio and proceeded to pull out all the materials stored for us by the Goan group who have looked after them beautifully. I had almost forgotten how much we brought here and what a comprehensive studio we have created. One by one all the students appeared except Rhea who is out of state but will be with us tomorrow.

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