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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dreamers of the day…

Thankfully, at the start of all my New Years, I’ve never been able to predict what I’ll be doing this time next year.  That very uncertainty has been the spice of my life.  If nothing else, these diary pages bear witness to the fact that, what I’m doing today I’m unlikely to be doing tomorrow. 

These lines by T. E. Lawrence are an appropriate beginning for 2012…along with my sketch of the Halifax Symphony  Orchestra. (You’ve seen sketches of individual players before but not, as I remember, the full orchestra.)

This, therefore, is a faded dream of the time when I went down into the dust and noise of the Eastern market-place, and with my brain and muscles, with sweat and constant thinking, made others see my visions coming true. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.
A Very Happy New Year

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa’s workshop update…

Christmas was just a little late this year.  The Lego custom wheels and axel had me working until ten this morning.  At least they bear the stamp Made in Dominica!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa’s workshop…

If toyshops had to depend on me for their Christmas trade, they would soon have to put up the shutters.  On Christmas Eve my workshop becomes Santa’s workshop.  When it comes to toys, you name it and I’ve made it.  Either that or I’ve handed down my toys.  The picture shows a random collection that I managed retrieve from Tristan’s bedroom this afternoon.  The mallet I made on the day he was born.  The boat is one of a whole fleet that I have fashioned over the years.  Muffin the Mule was one of my Christmas presents when I was about his age.   The aeroplane goes back to when he was four years old and the Lego blocks are a clue to this year’s present – a set of custom made Lego wheels and axels.  I’ll be working on a custom made Meccano set for next Christmas. 

Occasionally the present originates from the studio.  Tomorrow, a little girl by the name of Jaylah will be finding a framed sketch of herself among her presents (See diary entry for 3rd October).

I must thank my brother for my Christmas present…a replacement battery for my camera.  Thanks Ali!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My life has been the poem I would have writ…

When I read the collected letters of Vincent Van Gogh or the diaries of Michelangelo, I have to accept gaps in their accounts that sometimes extend into years.  Over the last fifty years, my diaries have followed the same pattern.  Usually I write most when nothing much is happen and least, when everything is. 

The scarcity of entries over the last week is due in part to waiting for a replacement camera battery but to a much greater degree, due to keeping the wheels of the island’s production lines turning.  Just as my grandfather Enoch was expected to repair everything from church clocks to violins, when all else fails, that “white man at Antrim” is expected to rectify things mechanical. 

I quote again Henry David Thoreau lines,

My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.

The picture is of a cast that I made some weeks ago of a tropical leaf the size of an umbrella.  I leave you to guess the material.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

I am two fools…

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry…

In a wider context John Donne’s words might well sum up the story of my life. Whereas most people take life very much as they find it, I have live it and loved it with a passion.  In attempting to express that love, one way or another, I have often made a complete fool of myself…but no regrets.

Nadine Stair, was 85 years old when she wrote these lines:
                 
If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones. You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

                       
Finding a sketch to illustrate today’s diary is difficult, but how about this one.  It was a proposed life-size bronze figure for the Glan Clwyd NHS Trust.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rosie the riveter…

A couple of my machines date back to World War II and it’s possible that in those days they were operated by women.  On both sides of the Atlantic, women took the place of men in engineering workshops.  Many of them enjoyed the work so much that they were still on the job when I served my apprenticeship in the 1960’s.  Their contribution to the war effort came to mind today when I was sharpening milling cutters, one of the many jobs that benefited from a woman’s delicate touch. 

Welding was another, and back in the 1980’s one of the best welders in the Caribbean was a pretty Guyanese girl.  With a welding torch she had the touch of an angel and I’m sure she’d agree with the sentiments expressed by one of the WW2 women welders:

I loved the look of welding, the smell of it.  You moved the welding rod in tiny, circular motions, making half-crescents.  If you did it right, it was beautiful.  It was like embroidery. 

At the war’s height, women, many of them African-American, made up more than a quarter of the Richmond, US shipyards’ 90,000 workers.  Norman Rockwell captured their image for all time with Rosie the Riveter.   Here’s Rosie and my nine-year-old son Tristan serving his time on my fifty-year-old tool and cutter grinder.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Practising to be a painter…

In the top right hand corner of one of my recently posted market sketches are the words, “What he doing?”  As one follower correctly assumed, these were the words of a passer-by.  

I’m a collector of phrases uttered by those who look over my shoulder as I work.   In my formative days an onlooker once asked, “Are you a professional”.  When I modestly answered no, the response was, “I thought not”. 

A couple of young lads watched as I worked as I painted the sketch shown below.  Curiosity finally got the better of them and one of them asked, “Are you practising to be a painter mister?” 

I suppose in truth I am – and always will be.  Like Renoir, I’ll probably say on my death bed, “What a pity, I’m just getting the hang of it.”

After the Burnett battle of the market place, (See http://newsfromnowhere1948.blogspot.com/) I award today’s sketch to my brother.  He may just recognise it as a view to the south over Elland, a West Yorkshire town of which he has many memories.      

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A market pie in the sky…

The recent Burnett brother’s theme on markets set me thinking about plan that I devised for the West Yorkshire town of Sowerby Bridge some years ago.  The linier town centre is blighted by a road, along which passes every truck in the North of England.  Over the years various by-pass schemes fell through, the most recent of which was being discussed one day as I queued at the Post Office.   The lady ahead of me chipped in with her six pennyworth, “Nay love, if they can’t move the road, why the heck don’t we move the town?”

Accustomed as I am to moving mountains, her remark fell on fertile ground.  It tied in beautifully with a government regeneration plan which, according to a brief from the Deputy Prime Minister, had to be “initiative led, not funding fed”. 

As I developed the idea of moving the town 300 years to the south (incidentally, it was wonderful press for slow news days) one thing led to another.  I gained the potential of a quarter mile river frontage and it was along that strip of derelict land that I proposed an indoor market to end all markets.  It took the form of a five-storey glass fronted promenade - think on the lines of a linier Crystal Palace - with shops and stall vendors at ground level and balconied restaurants, offices and residential accommodation on the floors above.   My imagination ran riot: trees and exotic plants, a small theatre, a bandstand, some pubs and a church.  Here, within easy reach of the cities of Leeds and Manchester, would be a vibrant living, working and recreational space, summer and winter alike. 

Here are the preliminary drawings for my market “pie in the sky”.





Now dear brother, if you can come up with a compilation photograph to illustrate my scheme, you’ve won!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Been there, done that…

A couple of days ago my brother featured a photograph of Halifax indoor market (See http://newsfromnowhere1948.blogspot.com/) a glorious listed building that is equal to a couple of cathedrals. 

Not to be out done, here are a couple of sketches I made of the market.  The first is from the very same vantage point as my brother’s photograph and the second, shows the market’s grandiose entrance arcade.  As my regular followers know, I have a great love for markets - and all the more so when they housed within fine buildings. 




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fire engines and an Institute for the Arts…

Yesterday I attended a meeting to discuss the formation of an Institute for the Arts and I spent today machining parts for one of the island’s fire engines.  In this day and age, I doubt if work can be more varied than that. 

A few generations ago, a craftsman turned his hand to all manner of things.  My grandfather was just as much at home repairing clocks and fairground traction engines as he was cleaning windows.  I could sense his ghost – and that of my father - looking over my shoulder as I successfully completed a very tricky piece of machining to an accuracy of 1/10th the diameter of a human hair.  In turn, I told my son Tristan, you’d better watch carefully, you might never see the likes of this again.  Maybe one day, all three of us will be looking over his shoulder.

Incidentally, in today’s picture is one of my grandfather’s micrometers.  It’s a hundred years old and still in daily use.  Also, my father’s depth gauge - now going on eighty.  Both instruments bear their initials.   

Monday, November 21, 2011

These things are sent to try us…

When struggling with some intractable mechanical problem my father used to say, “These things are sent to try us.”  His words came to mind today after assembling a complicated gearbox many times over because nothing went together as it should. 

At sea, it can be equally frustrating when squalls demand one sail change after another.  After three days and three nights of sail changing, single-handed sailor Dan Bowen's nicely summed it up with the words, “Rog, that sail’s been up and down like a pair of whore’s drawers!”

And why did the gearbox give me problems…at the end of the day I found that the manufacturer had sent the wrong instruction manual!

With a dead camera battery there’s no picture of the gear box.  This sketch of a tramcar is about as close as I can get to something mechanical. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Models and life-long friends…

Without exception, all of my models have become life-long friends.  Just as they came to my aid when I desperately needed them, I try to repay their help when ever I can.  When we left England for Dominica I hung onto my Volvo Estate car until the very last day.  Then, just before leaving for the airport, I telephoned Dave (who didn't have a car, but for months had faithfully modelled for my sculpture of the lockkeeper) to tell him I’d made him a present of the car.  

When my models need a reference for a job, they usually call on me.  I’m not sure how being an artist’s model equips you for the army, but with somewhere within the womens’ fighting forces, thanks to a glowing reference, there’s one of my models!

I still owe Ganeen (the model for one of my controversial NHS figures – see diary entry for August 22nd) the promised favour that one day, when her figure is cast in bronze, she’ll have a copy.  Sorry Ganeen but I’m still waiting for a rich buyer.  In the meantime, here is your plaster master cast, safe in my studio.  What’s more, it’s warmer here so you don’t need that circle of blow heaters!



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Have you a big one mister…

At a meeting tomorrow, I will be presenting some of my ideas on market places in general and street markets in particular.  Since my childhood days, markets have always fascinated me and over the years, I have done my fair share selling from the pavement.  I enjoy the challenge of making a sale against all odds.  Non-stop patter and a ready quip are a stallholder’s best bait. 

To that end, no quip could beat the wry look a stallholder gave my mother when, looking over small to medium size tins of brown boot polish, she asked: “Have you a big one mister!”

Today’s sketch is of a street vendor in Santa Domingo selling freshly squeezed orange juice from his tricycle. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A near perfect cast…

The polymer plaster cast of the bas-relief that I began months ago finally emerged from its wax mould today.  Breaking a mould to reveal the cast is always a nerve-racking process.  If there is a significant flaw, all is lost.  Thankfully, the cast was near perfect. 

Photographing the cast with a dud camera battery demanded the speed of a ten-second sketch.  From charger, to camera, to pressing the shutter – just a matter of seconds before the battery dies on me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sketch away…

In recent weeks, these diary pages have neglected my first love – the figure – and more especially, the figurative sketch.  I believe it was Degas, who named one of his models “Sketch Away” in recognition of the inspirational input she gave to his work.  Such is the gift of an inspired model.  This sketch goes back to the early heady days sketching a young lady from Grenada who became both my wife and model. 


Note:  For the time being, I will have to resort to digging in my photographic archives while my digital camera awaits a replacement battery pack, courtesy of my brother in England. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Faded photographs…

Those of you who are regular follower of my brother’s “belles-blogs”
http://newsfromnowhere1948.blogspot.com/
will know that his thread of old photographs titled, Sepia Saturday is coming up to its 100th entry. 

Many of the posts originate from the Burnett family albums and here and there, you will find images of a much younger me.  However, there is one photograph that brother does not have.  It is hand-tinted rather than sepia, but I believe it qualifies none the less.  Here is me again, at about the age of two. 

I can remember catching the tram to have the photograph taken in the studio of Brown Muff’s department store, Bradford - once known as the “Harrods of the North”.  I can also remember nervously chewing the collar of the coat I was wearing.  It tasted good!

Incidentally, from what I can make out, the pencil inscription on the mount is an abbreviation of “Brown Muff’s Studio”. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

My first one man show…

There’s a score of tales to tell about my first one man show.  How do I select and where do I begin? 

The year was 1971 and the place, Kings Lynn, Norfolk.  I had intended the show to be a low-key fringe event at the Kings Lynn Arts Festival.  However, a week before the show opened the key signature changed from minor to major. 

Being arrested for a good cause helped.  My crime…I pasted a protest sticker over the council’s notice of closure for one of the town’s historic alleyways.  This brought public attention the series of thirty paintings I had made of the town’s rich historical heritage – including a painting of the threatened alleyway.  The show opened at 10.00 on the Saturday morning and by mid-day ninety per cent of the paintings had sold!    

Over the remaining ten days of the exhibition, there was a constant stream of visitors.  By midweek, I was getting suspicious of two smartly dressed fellows that repeatedly made the rounds.  Just before the weekend, they revealed their crested identity cards.  They were checking out the festival in readiness for a visit of the Queen Mother.  Out of all that was on offer, they thought my exhibition would be right up her street. 

Alas, there was no way that the festival organisers were going to let an upshot artist on the fringe steal the limelight and I had to wait another thirty years for my Royal Patronage.  But that’s another story.  For now, here’s the exhibition poster and a photo of a photo of one of the paintings.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The glitter of romance as seen from afar…

It was through the early morning mist, and from a couple of miles offshore, that I first set eyes on the Portuguese city of Porto.  The scene more than compensated for a worrisome night spent dodging fishing boats and I vowed that one day I would visit the city by land rather than see it in passing from the deck of a sailing boat. 

It was a vow that I kept twenty-years later.  This sketch is one of many that I made of the city.  But you know what…all the city squares, all the fine buildings and all the back alleys put together could not compete with the glitter of romance that I saw from afar.




Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bricks and mortar…

When painting scenes from my native West Riding of Yorkshire, I have learnt that possession is nine-tenths the likelihood of finding a buyer.   In other words, my fellow countrymen like to buy what’s theirs.  If it’s a house it has to be their house; a field, their field.  One of my best paintings of Shibden Valley - the vale of my youth – would have been bought by the owner of the farmhouse in the middle distance, were it not for the fact that the field in the foreground was his neighbours, not his!

Likewise, when I offered a distinguished patron of the arts the first choice from a collection of paintings of his home town, he selected a mediocre sketch of his own property.   The painting shown below, one of the best in the collection, also shows his property.  However, in this painting, his building is an indiscernible one-tenth wash in the background and hence, it didn’t make a sale. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Falling off the top of Blackpool Tower…

To continue from where I left off yesterday:

My brother has always claimed, that if I fell off the top of Blackpool Tower I’d land on my feet.  Yesterday, my walk down to the river certainly substantiated his theory. At the same time cancelled out what must surely be the last of my nine lives. 

Just before setting off I decided to check if any messages had come through for me.  There was just one and it only took a few seconds to read.   It wished me a pleasant day and ended with the words “take care”.  With those good wishes i went on my way.  Just as I reached my favourite stretch of riverbank, a huge tree fell without warning and its trunk crashed on very spot where I was about to sit down. 

If I have not taken those few seconds to read my “take care” message; I would now be sculpting a couple of angels for either side of the heavenly gates! 

Even for me, that was enough excitement for one day.  I climb back up the hill and with shaking hands set to work on completing the mould for my bas relief.  Yes, finally I’m back to my art work. 

I took today’s picture just after I had removed the clay from the wax mould that I had earlier made from the relief.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why me…

I should have posted this diary page yesterday but instead my time was spent removing hundreds of spam messages from my email In Box.   According to my brother, “It sounds as if you are suffering from what is called spoofing - spam is being sent out using your e-mail address as a return address.”  According to Cable & Wireless (my email service provider) we don’t often experience it in the Caribbean. 

To that, I'm tempted to say - as one of my West Indian friends said when, at a crowded cricket test match, a bird flow over and shit on him, WHY ME! 

By special request, here is a picture of my three-legged chair Mark II.  If you remember, Mk I was washed away in the floods.  I made it from odds and ends of various Dominican hard woods – hence its coat of many colours.  Yesterday afternoon, after taking this picture, I set out to carry down to the riverside… and there I came closer to meeting my maker than I have ever done in fifty years of sailing the high seas.  But I’ll save that thrilling instalment for another day!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creole Day…

Yesterday was Creole Day here in Dominica.  It is a day when, to celebrate Independence, the whole island turns out in National Dress.  Here is the parade in the capital Roseau.  Also, our oldest daughter Tania (19) and our son Tristan (9) doing their bit. 

I promise, next year I’ll put a madras band around my best hat.

 Photo Credit DNO


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Romance…

Early this month, legendary Master Mariner and owner of the Brigantine Romance, Arthur Kimberly, died at the age of 89. 

I was first met Art Kimberly while at anchor in Road Harbour, British Virgin Islands, in the 1980’s.  His ship was anchored close to my gaff cutter Born Free.  Capt. Kimberly slowly rowed around my vessel and cast a critical eye over her. 
On completing his circuit he hailed me with the words, “Who designed her?”   
Nervously I replied, “I did”. 
He made a second circuit and asked, “Who built her?” 
With trepidation I answered, “I did”. 
He scrutinised my vessel all the more critically on his third circuit and asked, “Who rigged her?”  Apologetically I answered, “I did”. 
His parting words were, “My God, she’s beautiful!”

Soon afterwards I learnt that Romance was for sale.  She was a ship I was prepared to give everything I possessed for, including my right arm and the shirt off my back.  I asked my good sailing friend Fritz Seyfarth, to come and look over her with me.  Fritz, normally more romantically inclined than even I, brought me to my senses with the words, “Roger, she’s a mistress that neither of us can afford.”

I painted a picture of her when she was hauled out for repairs.  It sold, like the ship, to her new owner.  Sadly, I don’t have a copy but here’s her photograph.


                                Wrap me up in my oilskins and jumper
                                No more on the docks I'll be seen
                               Just tell me old shipmates
                               I'm taking a trip mates
                               I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Football isn’t life and death…

Simon Barnes, chief sports writer for the Times Newspaper, began one of his commentaries with the words, “Football isn’t life and death - it’s more important than that!”

Our nineteen-year-old daughter Tania, a member of the Dominica women’s football team, would certainly agree.  If interests are inherited, she must have picked that one up from her mother or grandfather, certainly not from me.  I can proudly boast that I have never been to a football match in my life.

On the other hand, Tania and I share a love for poetry.  Maybe she picked that up from me, but where did I pick it up?  Apart from the rhyme schemes of Toby Twirl, the only poem my father taught me was Rudyard Kipling’s If.  I can still remember every line and today these particular lines came to mind:

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools…

The reason being, I was making a replacement chair for the one washed away by the floods a few weeks ago.  So, washed away rather than broken and tools as sharp and true as ever.  Nevertheless, it hurts to loose something that you have given loving care to. 

Here are the chair parts, in an assortment of local hardwoods, ready for the spokeshave and lathe.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A beard and bold ink lines…

Around the world there must be thousands of photographs, taken by onlookers, of me painting.  Some of them will go back to my time on the pavements of France and others to my early days in the Caribbean.  At the end of the day, I go home with the painting and someone unknown to me goes home with the photograph.  

The exceptions are photographs taken by members of my own family and in particular, those taken by my brother, an exceptionally talented photographer. You will find examples of his work at http://newsfromnowhere1948.blogspot.com/  

This particular faded photograph dates from 1972 and was taken when my studio was based in Southern Ireland.  The painting, as shown below, is still in my collection.  Since then, the beard has gone along with the bold ink lines, both distinctive features of me and my work in those far off days.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Patina with use…

The dictionary defines patina as, a surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use. 

Bronze casts are given an instant patina at the foundry by the application of chemicals.   This gives them a head start in terms of aging.  However, patina with use cannot be easily achieved by artificial means.  Furthermore, patina with use is not always considered advantageous. 

In the entrance to Leeds City Art Gallery there is (or was) a beautiful life-size reclining female nude figure.  She’s been around for about a century and her black patina has worn thin where thousands of hands have lovingly caressed her form.   Thus, her nipples glow with the warmth of yellowed bronze.  Some years ago, there was a move afoot to have her re-patinated in order to obliterate this assault on her person.  I strongly objected, as I considered that the figure had grown more beautiful with use.

Given my frequent clashes with the Leeds Henry Moore Institute, I am honoured that they keep me on their mailing list.  Their most recent on-line newsletter is a picture showing the surface texture of Henry Moore’s Knife Edge: Two Piece.  A sculpture that is sited outside the Houses of Parliament.  On closer inspection I realised that the “patina of age” was, in this case, the work of many pen-knife incisions over the years. 
Dare I say that I think it adds the work? 

Drat, I’m sure that my name has just been deleted from their mailing list!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conformity vs. Individualism…


            They’re all made out of tick tacky
            And they all look the same…

So sang Pete Seeger at about the time when I decided to try my look as an artist on the pavements of France.  Looking back over the years since then, the memories I cherish are the individuals I met along the way.  Indeed, it seems I have made a point of meeting up with nothing but individuals.  The doctors and lawyers, and business executives didn’t move in my circles.

One such loveable individual came to mind today when it was suggested that we might get copies of National Trail Guide Book shipped  to Dominica at a cheaper rate if we consolidate the packages with other cargoes.

This is exactly what my dear departed friend Fritz Seyforth had in mind when, in order to ship down copies of his book Tales of the Caribbean, he arranged to share a container with a local supermarket.  I remember driving Fritz down to the dock where we waited for the container to be off-loaded.   Unfortunately, his good deal had a slight flaw: the books had been loaded into a refrigerated container.  Fritz rightly claimed to be the only author in the world selling frozen books!

On another occasion, Fritz helped me out of a difficult situation.  I always tell those who buy my paintings that, if they change their mind, send it back and I’ll give a full refund.  It’s only happened once, and that was in the Bahamas way back in the 1970’s.  I carried the offending letter to Fritz.  He put it back in its envelop and rooted in a draw for what he called his “termination stamp”.  After inking and applying, the envelop then read, “Deceased Return to Sender”.

Here’s a sketch I made of Fritz, long ago and far away.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alas, no decorative cartouche…

Since this morning, I’ve been working on the maps for the National Trail Guide.  The job was made all the more difficult because the map I was using for reference was to a different scale.  As I could not get it scanned and enlarged electronically until Tuesday, I set about doing it by hand the hard way – grid square by grid square. 

Maybe the French mapmaker, who made this map of the neighbouring island of Martinique in 1732, looked down on my labours with a wry smile.  After all, he had no electronic aids either.  The hand coloured copper plate engraving puts today’s computer generated maps to shame.  Alas, there will be no decorative cartouche or compass rose embellishments on my trail maps.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Love…

Forget the prestigious awards, the accolade I cherish above all others is when someone says they “love” my work.  I find the simpler the words, the more sincere the meaning.  I am all the more touched when the message comes from someone not necessarily schooled in the arts.

Like the old lady who sent me a letter on flowery notepaper soon after the unveiling of my figures for Sowerby Bridge saying…Your sculpture will always be loved by the people of this town.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from one of my life class students saying…Don’t give up, your classes make life so much more bearable.

And, just yesterday a text message to say…Thank you so much. I love the painting, I love it!

I suppose, like the poet Robert Service, I’m just a lowbrow and hence attracted to his poem:

To show you how lowbrow I am,
I’ll readily admit,
When reading Mary and her Lamb,
I wish I’d written it.

Likewise, the simpler the sketch the more profound the meaning…like this one.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ten years ago in the pouring rain…

Ten years ago in the pouring rain my bronze figures for the city of Leeds arrived from the foundry.  By the time they were off loaded and hoisted in position, I was wet through to the skin.  Moreover, Leeds rain is cold rain, not like the warm showers that fall on Dominica. 

The look of anxiety on my face reflects the tension that accompanies this final moment of truth.  Up to then, the figures had only been seen by a select few, either in the confines of my studio or amongst the clutter of the foundry floor.  Now they are out in the open and exposed to the gaze to their rightful owners – the man, woman and child in the street.