I thought it would be worth trying to see if I could replicate the viewpoint that I had when I painted the watercolor scene in the upper left en plein air back in 1989.
It turns out that I could get fairly close to the exact location, but not match it entirely, as the National Park Service has now put up a nasty-looking fence to keep people out of all the green areas surrounding the Jefferson Memorial.
Also, when I began to look more closely, I noticed that the foliage had grown up around the memorial, one tree with a branch that had a distinctive upward hook to it was now gone, and the memorial itself looked filthy and run-down.
However, that filth is not what it seems… it’s not a sign of neglect. It’s called “black slime”, it’s actually a biofilm that’s affecting monuments world-wide now, and the National Park Service — after years of failed attempts to clean the DC monuments — finally appears to have an answer for it.
Lasers. Industrial-grade lasers.
Unlike manually scrubbing or using harsh chemicals — which can damage and wear down the stone over time — lasers can be specifically “tuned” for a certain color frequency, and when properly adjusted, will burn away the offending biofilm and leave behind a surface that’s just as pristine as when it was first constructed.
But don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself in the following image:
The things you notice if you return over-and-over to the same location during the course of many months, years — and yes — even decades.