My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Subtle adjustments

Over the coming days I will be critically assessing my sculpture from all angles. I will share with you any adjustments, subtle as they may be, by way of before and after pictures.

Today’s pictures show how the modelling of the right hand has been modified to give it more life. The fingers have been raised and re-aligned so as to better follow the curve of the body and the little finger is allowed greater freedom.

Before


After

Sunday, February 19, 2017

At a single stroke

My dairy page dated 8th July 2016 titled: Working at the Speed of Light refers to the Sunday Times art critic, Waldemar Januszczak’s astonishment at Michelangelo’s handiwork on the Sistine ceiling. As he aptly observed, “Adam’s famous penis was traced with a single cocky outline”.

My task is to now complete my sculpture of Annabelle’s reclining figure with the same assured flair. I have to resist refining and instead suggest, at a single cocky stroke, continuity from the pale saffron soles of her feet to the last wayward strand of her hair. Detailed definition must not distract the eye from the rhythm of the whole





Friday, February 17, 2017

State of the Art

Once in a while, by way of the World Wide Web, I search out the competition: contemporary painters and sculptors of the nude. For the most part the abstract, the conceptual, the cartoon and photo-realism are the dreary order of the day.

Will there ever be another Egon Schiele or Auguste Rodin? One died young and the other lived into old age but either way, few have followed in their footsteps with the same originality, daring and aplomb. Here is a reminder of their work.


Both artists were in my mind today. First Rodin, as I worked on Annabelle’s reclining figure and then Egon Schiele, in the five minutes of sweet relief at the end of the session that resulted in this painting.  


Friday, February 10, 2017

Dedication

As a figurative painter and sculpture I can, at a pinch, work without paints, brushes, paper or clay. What I cannot work without is a live and inspirational model.

For two weeks Annabelle, the model for my current work in progress, has been laid low with flue and the life-size sculpture of her reclining figure has had to be placed on hold. This is not as easy as it sounds. First, spontaneity is lost; and second, it is difficult to keep the clay under wraps without deterioration. Each day the clay has to be lightly sprayed down to prevent it drying out, but too much moister and contact with polythene covering sheets takes the edge of the modelling already achieved.

Regardless of working seventeen hour double shifts at a call center (to fund her studies at medical school) and a body wracked with flue, Annabelle nevertheless sent me a message at 2.45am today to say that she’s determined to get in three modelling sessions in next week to make up for lost time. Now that’s dedication!

In the meantime, here is another picture of work in progress.





Saturday, February 4, 2017

If only the virtual was reality

In a recent post I lamented on the increase of virtual visitors to my studio, as against a decrease in actual visitors. But now that my diary pages have been added to the world’s top 50 sculpture blogs, I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

To get a taste the other 49 top sculpture blogs go to: 
http://blog.feedspot.com/sculpture_blogs/

I am sure that by now there must be virtual models. But regardless, I’ll stick to the real living and breathing thing, notwithstanding that this week I’ve been without model due to my ever-faithful Annabelle being down with the flue.

Thirty years ago two of my models, Pearl and Pearline, were identical twins. This might appear to be a handy solution to bouts of flue, etc. However, to the critical eye of the painter and sculptor, identical twins are not as identical as they appear at first glance.

Here is Pearline in pastel and Peal in red Conte Crayon.





Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Similarities

There are similarities between my way of painting and my way of sculpting.

With watercolour, speed is of the essence and it is the same when modelling with clay. Both give of their best when given freedom and then left alone. Overworking only screws things up.

True enough, the time frames are different. A watercolour can be thrown down in a matter of minutes, whereas sculpting a life-size figure in clay can take weeks. With both I work from the live model. This is easy enough when a painting can be done in one sitting, but more difficult when the modelling goes on from one week to the next. 

To get around this I draw on a lifetime’s experience, rather than a reliance on photographs, and do what I can between modelling sessions. The ear and hair shown below are a case in point.


This detail of the model’s right breast shows how suggestion can be achieved by putting down and then leaving well alone.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

From the past to the present

After the brief sojourn to the canals of Ireland in my last entry, I now return to the present to bring you up to date with work in progress on my life-size sculpture of Annabelle’s reclining figure.

My double dilemma has been resolved: the finish will be by suggestive hints and the torso will be extended to the full figure, with the right foot tucked under the left leg. This involves some re-working from the waist down because the re-positioning of the legs gives the hips a subtle twist for the better.


As you can see in today’s pictures, the hands have begun to take shape. But I dare not go further until I have my model before me. 





Friday, January 27, 2017

Long ago and far away

In 1970 I made a four month voyage through the inland waterways of Ireland aboard a twenty-one foot sloop called Jessica. My wife Norma and our three year daughter Diana were respectively, first mate and crew. The book that I wrote about our travels was shelved and all but forgotten about when we set sail for the Caribbean.

The manuscript, along with hundreds of photographs, have spent the intervening years sealed in one of those old fashioned square biscuit tins.  As such they have twice crossed the Atlantic and weathered their fair share of hurricanes. Amazingly, they have survived intact and the contents are now a veritable historical document.

Recently I began revising the manuscript and converting the photographs to digital images. 

As a foretaste, here is a picture of me with a paint box that is still in daily use. But alas, almost fifty years on, my head of hair has somewhat diminished.



Here is my first mate Norma, affectionately known as Nobs, studying “where next” on the map.



And finally, our daughter Diana, now a Chartered Accountant and grandmother!


Friday, January 20, 2017

A double dilemma

Continuing from my last post: my quandary is now not so much how to finish but where to finish!

My original intention was to carry the torso down to the top of the thighs. This the usual practice, at least with a standing torso. But with a reclining torso, terminating at the thighs gives the impression of a rather messy amputation. I now begin to ask myself: as we already have head and arms why not make it a full length figure?

While I mull over that one, today’s pictures show work in progress on the head. I first roughly modelled Annabelle's facial features and the outline of her scull vertically, as shown in the first picture. I then then positioned the head against the torso. The arm that rests between the breasts remains to be finished.




Monday, January 16, 2017

By suggestive hints or by laboured finish

I am in a quandary. Should my sculpture of Annabelle be completed by suggestive hints or by laboured finish? Taking breasts as an example - the most sculpturally pleasing aspect of the female form - here are the options.

The finish of my standing figure titled You Must Believe in Spring represents one extreme.



And by comparison, the breasts from my recent torso represents the other.



The first appeals to the touch and the second to the senses.

Only nature can unite the two, as is evident from this life-cast.