Stonehenge – Tuesday 24th July
It’s fabulously sunny. On the way in, men in hi-viz jackets discuss the ground-works at Airman’s Corner. By Stonehenge, lawnmowers are being loaded onto trailers. There’s been a major grass cutting. The air smells fresh green. The farmer on his trials bike is checking the sheep in the field behind the car park.
Up at the stones, long lines of spider thread wispily float through the air. Within minutes I am home to small spiders. They dangle from my sun hat, decorate my shirt.
It’s a hot but very chilled day up at Stonehenge. Not a cloud in the sky and people are strolling happily around the walkway. It’s steady but not too busy. Not too many coach parties here yet. There are families and independent travellers, a couple of men in suit trousers, shirts and ties. The crows and jackdaws are settled on the stones, watching the traffic and visitors from their high perches.
Mark is drawing on the SE walkway today. Inks. So many kids are interested in what he is doing. They gravitate towards him and stay until their parents call them away. A sweet little lad with an Australian accent marches across to Mark asking directly why he’s drawing here. Mark explains to him. Each answer brings another question. Turns out he’s from Melbourne. His mother says she wishes she’d brought his drawing book up here too.
But other people have done exactly that today.
I’ve got photos of two fellow artists works, Yongxing Sun and Emmanuel Michel (www.emmanuelmichel.com).
Stonehenge is a very attractive place to draw. It’s a building, it’s rocks, it’s an abstract form. You see it differently with a pencil in your hand. I watch people standing around Mark looking at his paper, then up to the stones, then down to the paper and up at the stones again. Their eyes following the line of his pen and comparing it to what’s in front of them. They don’t do that when they look back at their digital photos. They look at the image not the stones. They don’t need to check for accuracy, it’s just there. And perhaps they don’t fully see what’s in front of them.
People walk round in shorts and sun-hats, bright t-shirts and summer frocks. Even the traffic is spread out along the 303. The fields in the landscape have dramatically changed colour over the past few days. The crops are ripening and have turned rusty. Pale round bales dot the light green fields.
A couple stand and kiss in the sunlight then walk embraced. A small boy in a blue and white striped top throws himself on the grass and rolls around energetically and joyfully. Not the least bit interested in the Neolithic monument yards away.