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.
We are happily testing the solutions when Rambo appears in the studio, he is just as he sounds an gigantic German Shepher dog, but to our relief he is very gentle and friendly. On that note Caetano turns up and announces that the snake found in his kitchen was a viper which he killed. Eveny who has saved several vipers in her neighborhood is now killing them because there are too many in her area now. As long as we don’t meet any we are happy.
The day evolves uneventfully if not for a visit from Father Mario who used to be in charge of provisions in Rachol Seminary and fed us so well. He also took Christopher and Piero to the fish market very early one morning. Piero is in Beirut with Renato another volunteer on their way to a convent in a war zone to restore 2 statues (the convent was bombed today but they are still going there). We were invited to join but declined on the basis we were committed to come to Goa to continue our project.
Father Loiola arrived in the studio with a family heirloom – a statue of St Ignatius Loyola. He told us the story of how the statue had been in the prayer room in the family house, and then one of the five sisters living in the house felt rather fed up that her prayers were not being answered.
Frustrated at the intransigence of the Saint, she banished his statue to a hidden and gloomy corner of the house, where he was told in no uncertain terms that he would have to stay in exile until some of the prayers where he had been asked to intercede with God on behalf of the family were answered.
Finally a son was born, and so the statue was returned back to its rightful place in the prayer room. Now it has been brought to us for some much needed love and attention, and a request to bring it back to its former glory. We are delighted to be able to help with this work for Father Loiola, and pleased to be entrusted with something that has so much emotional value to him and his family. As part of best practice, we explained to him that when stored at the Archbishop’s Palace there was no insurance cover for the statue! 🙂