I have a question about fossil photography -- I have been working on a
series of drawings of a small prehistoric mammal, Neocnus, from an on-loan
specimen which is very fragile. This fossil drops flakes every time it
touches the cotton pad it's sitting on.
We photographed it and I have been using the photos for initial drawing
set-up. However, eyeballing the fossil to get the shading is very difficult
because of the coloration: the outside of the fossil is blackish, and the
broken areas, of which there are many, are almost white. It's confusing to
the eye and makes it take longer to complete the drawing.
I know that fossils can be coated with ammonium chloride for whitening, and
I've read articles which detail the techniques (vaporizing the ammonium
chloride and airbrushing with powders) for applying it. The directions seem
unnecessarily complicated to me but I've never watched anyone do it. The
directions for airbrushing say to use "Bon Ami" scouring powder in alcohol!
Why not titanium dioxide or even a bit of talc?
Directions for removing coating simply say that "it easily brushes off."
How easily? Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks, Julia Morgan Scott
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