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, July 27, 2013

The same old thing

Creativity, by its very nature, brings into the world something different to what has gone before.  It demands breaking down barriers and daring the unknown.  The process is thwart with danger, for by-and-large the public prefer a repetitive diet of the same old thing.  Even minor changes can create a backlash from those who have grown accustomed to a particular style or subject matter and anything major can create a revolt. 

On the minor scale of change, today’s picture shows two of my sketches.  The one on the right is from my book “Virgin Island Sketches” and dates from 1980.  In contrast, the one on the left is from my book “Caribbean Sketches” and dates from 1990.  The later sketch is bolder and freer, but buyers prefer the tighter and more precise earlier style of things. 

If I were to publish my more recent sketches - for yes, I’m still moving on - I’m sure the collection would be blacklisted!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mr Roger, don’t you remember me!

Thirty-five years ago, my studio was a shack alongside an idyllic cove in the British Virgin Islands.  The children in nearest village knew that on their birthday I’d make them a present of their portrait. 

On my last visit to Tortola, I was accosted by a large lady with three children in tow.  “Mr Roger, don’t you remember me?”   I had to confess that I could not for the moment place her.  Then she reminded me, I had painted her portrait when she was seven!

A couple of days ago I did a session for a children’s summer programme that was the initiative of Dionne, an entrepreneurial young lady who, in addition to running children’s workshops, works on the family farm and occasionally models for my paintings and sculptures.    

For my portrait, I choose the child with the nearest birthday.  Apart from a day’s difference, Adia shares the same birth date as me - except that we are sixty years apart. 

Perhaps, when I’m a hundred and five, Adia will test my memory by calling out, “Mr Roger, don’t you remember me!”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Body and Soul

I am forever searching for different ways of presenting my work in the belief that there has to be more to exhibiting paintings than static pictures on walls. 

One variation that I have been experimenting with is a fast-moving audio-visual presentation of images for the large screen.  The theme is fifty paintings from my series Daughter of the Caribbean Sun fine tuned to a recording of Duke Ellington’s Body and Soul.

A watercolour no larger than a page from a telephone directory takes on a completely new visual experience when projected to the size of a house wall.   One image follows other within seconds.  Sometimes the screen is filled with the fleeting fragment of a painting.  One such fragment illustrates this entry.

The presentation will be premiered this coming Saturday as part of an evening of music and poetry titled Lyrics Under the Stars.    

Friday, July 5, 2013

Two figures embraced

In my seventieth year, I am attempting subjects that I dare not contemplate in my youth.  Those who toil upon the forge of art are fortunate: as the body grows older, the spirit gets younger.  Creativity, by its very definition, is something different to what has gone before.  I now want to give my sculpture the accidental freedom of my watercolours and to explore the interaction of two figures embraced.  

Working from the nude figure demands passion tempered with integrity and daring tempered with restraint.   These demands become even more challenging when two figures are interlocked in an embrace, for then the element of sex enters the picture.

The following quotations are relevant to the problem at hand.

Sex somewhat remains a forbidden theme, a kind of barrier that provokes sheer hesitation when it comes to represent it and most artists do not have the will or the courage to go beyond was is acceptable in the eyes of the public and even in theirs. (Adrian Darmon)
No nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling....The desire to grasp and be united with another human is so fundamental a part of our nature that our judgement of what is known as 'pure form' is inevitably influenced by it, and one of the difficulties of the nude as a subject for art is that these instincts cannot be hidden. (Sir Kenneth Clark)

The picture shows one of my preliminary sketches for a sculpture of two figures embraced.