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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring, summer and fall

Denise has been my wife and model for well-nigh twenty-three years.  Through the spring and summer of her life I have painted all her moods and changes.  I am sure that in the years to come, I will find beauty in the fall.  

I addition to inspiring my work, she has given life-class students the opportunity to work from the nude.  Moreover, through her modelling workshops she has given guidance to others who wish to model for the arts.

Those who have followed in her footsteps share her satisfaction of creatively contributing to the sum total of beauty in this world. 

The washes are still wet on today’s painting of Denise! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dust to dust

Normally, I can complete an initial clay portrait in a matter of days.  However, my portrait bust of Jessica has been slowly evolving since late last year.  The long gestation period came about through better knowing my sitter as the weeks and months slipped by.  The more that I saw of the soul, the less convincing was my modelling of the bodily features. 

Had not a mutual friend visited my studio and declared the bust a true likeness of the sitter, the clay would turn to dust before it was finished to my satisfaction.    

While buoyed up with our friend’s positive response, we declared the portrait finished and began taking the “waste mould” from the clay, the first stage of which involves taking courage in both hands and throwing wet plaster over the clay image.  The term “waste mould” is apt, for if it goes wrong, all is lost.  Hence, dust to dust!

Jessica’s smile says that, regardless of my doubts, she has faith in life hereafter.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The painter and the poet

If the requirement of an artist’s model is an ability to sit still, my model would fail miserably.  On the other hand, if a model’s fundamental task is to inspire, she wins hands down

I have found a way of keeping her "almost still" by encouraging her to indulge in her passion for writing poetry while I paint.  Not only did this ploy enable today’s painting, it also produced a poem, the title of which I have used for today’s post.  Although still a work in progress it begins:

          When the painter and poet combine
          Each searching for that illusive line, 
          Which only a true lover can define.
          ‘tis then, they find their hearts entwine.    

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I can only work from a model…

"I can only work from a model. The sight of human forms feeds and comforts me."
Auguste Rodin.
I share Rodin’s basic need.  Without a model my mind and paper is blank.  With the model at hand, colours fall on the page with a life of their own.  
Wherever the model leads, I follow.  Today’s painting came about from my model's request for something to read while I paint.  The book incidentally, is Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I can’t give you anything but a painting

As I’m much too poor, I find the only way that I can show my love to those who have stood by my side, is by the gift of a painting.  This I was able to do a couple of days ago for my dear friend Athlene Douglas–Murdock, Director of the Dominica Institute for the Arts.  To round off two days of art workshops Athlene invited the tutors to afternoon deserts at Batibou Beach.  While the others were eating cheese-cake, I was painting.

The beach is one of the best on Dominica and forms part of her family’s Hampstead Estate. When my phone rings, ten to one it’s Athlene wanting my help in brain-storming ideas for the Institute.  She made me laugh by once opening her conversation with the words, “Roger, I know you’re going to set the police onto me for bothering you…”  Here is Athlene (in blue) at the opening one of the workshops for secondary school students.

Hampstead Estate has a sugar mill and distillery that dates back to the plantation period.  I re-visited the ruins a few weeks ago.  The photo shows my assistant Jessica Bellevue seated on the rollers that once crushed the cane.  Jessica is my studio Girl Friday and helps with everything from modelling to generally keeping tabs on all my various projects.  She is also trying to teach me the virtue of patience.  Her smile makes my day.

And finally, for good measure, here am I along with Jessica, again at Hampstead.