On July 29th, I presented at my second conference; however, I did not get to share the podium with my co-presenter LaStarsha McGarity, the current Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at the National Gallery of Art. Instead we shared an apartment in Washington D.C. from which we called into the virtual conference platform. Back in January, when LaStarsha and I were planning the presentation and buying plane tickets, neither of us could have foreseen that we would move in together during a pandemic lock-down, or that I would get to know her precious little dog, Sweets Serendipity! Thankfully the technology worked perfectly for our conference session, and we believe the digital format enabled more people to watch than would have been possible in a typical conference setting. The recording is now available on the AIC website!
The second part of my William Henry Johnson research project was generating IR and UV false color maps from the multispectral imaging done on the Fighters for Freedom paintings. I was thrilled at the opportunity to improve my editing and analysis skills while awaiting permission to work in the Lunder Center in-person. Acquiring the software and getting access to remote desktops both at the University of Delaware and the Smithsonian turned out to be a logistical challenge (UD VPN > UD VMware Graphics Intensive Desktop > UD Photoshop Account > Smithsonian Two Factor Authentication > Smithsonian Remote Desktop etc.) but I eventually got a hang of the workflow, and the results of the false color analysis were much more conclusive than I had anticipated. In my report, I proposed Johnson's paint palette based on background knowledge of the artist's timeline and previously conducted XRF analysis. The results indicated the presence of phthalo blue, cadmium red, chrome yellow, synthetic ultramarine, and possibly thioindigo red. Please see examples of the false color results below.