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, September 29, 2015

Competition vs Competitions

Nothing spurs me on better than competition.  When I sense that others are catching up on me I pull out all the stops and get down to work.  For those who are way ahead of me, in this world and in the next, I get down on my knees in praise of their incredible ability.

On the other hand, I am wary of competitions.  Creativity doesn’t fare well with rules.  Moreover, throughout the history of art, those who judge competitions have seldom got it right.

By way of a change, my pictures today are from two artists - one from the past and one from the present - that I deeply admire.

First, Egon Schiel (1890 -1918)  Austria.



The second, Phillip Dvorak, USA.  www.phillipdvorak.com


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Now or never

For over a month I have been promising Ryta and Mindy a trial modelling session.  But what with the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erika and one thing after another,we never got around to it.  I know that next week I am going to side tracked again, so this morning it was now or never.

Some years ago Ryta came to one my workshops for those interested in modelling for the arts.  However, since then her modelling has been recorded by the click of a camera shutter, rather than paint on paper.  There is a world of difference between the two.  With today’s cameras the photographer can take sixty images per minute and in terms of definition, every hair and goose bump is recorded. 

When it comes to speed, I can work faster than most but I leave the individual hairs and goose bumps to your imagination.  These paintings are the result of today’s trial session.  The first is Ryta, clocking in at 20mins from start to finish, and the second is Mindy, with a time of 15 minutes.  Or more precisely, each painting took 73 years!



The paintings may look small on your screen but they are quite large in terms of water colours (approximately 18" x 18") and painted with a No.14 brush.  Below are details from each painting.












Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lyrical


Today’s picture is of Caneel Bay in the US Virgin Islands.  It dates from 1989 and marks a transition in my work.  Previously I was a painter of scenes whereas this water colour begins to express my feeling for the lyrical.  

From that date onwards my paintings became passionate love affairs.  As with such things of the heart, some stand the test of time better than others.  But this is one that I will never forget!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Master Class

In the olden days (a term sufficiently vague for my purpose) painters, along with all other artisans, learnt their trade by serving an apprenticeship under an established master.  Sadly this system of teaching has been largely consigned to the history books.

On leaving school at the age of fifteen, I wanted to serve an apprenticeship with a master woodcarver in the next village.   However, in those days a career in woodcarving was not to be encouraged.  I had no option but to follow in my father’s footsteps and served a seven year apprenticeship in engineering.  Be that as it may, the values of an apprenticeship are the same whatever the trade.  I learnt my skill at the workbench and the men in overalls that taught me how to cut a screw thread, also instilled in me a love for poetry and music. 

This leads me to how we go about teaching a new generation of painters and master craftsmen in general.  We no longer have the wealth of masters that we had generations ago.  Degree courses are not the answer: skill comes from practice, not from theory.  I have never attended an art school, but fifty years ago I spent a year painting on the pavements of France and selling work to on-lookers direct from my sketch book.  That practice enabled me to begin earning a living from my art.

At the moment I am being begged to tutor a degree course in the visual arts.  More in my line are the life classes that I occasionally teach from my studio.  Or better still, send aspiring  painters out on the streets with a sketch book as their means of survival.


Friday, September 18, 2015

A hundred years from now

If a hundred years from now curators attempt to catalogue my work, I doubt that they will be able to accurately determine the background to many of my paintings and sketches. 

Today’s picture is a case in point.   It has been hidden away in a sketch book since the day it was created and it took me a while to recollect the following.

Date: February 1991. Place: Aboard my boat, rolling at anchor in the Virgin Islands. Weather Conditions: Blowing a gale. Subject: Gretel sleeping.  


I might add that when Gretel was not sleeping she was winning me hands down at dominoes. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Body and Soul



For the first time my diary page contains not just one painting, but a video that contains an entire collection of paintings from my series “Daughters of the Caribbean Sun”. 

The contents of “Body and Soul” is both retrospective (as far back as 1992) and up to the minute (as recent as last week) in terms of present work.

With thanks to my daughter Tania for making this technically possible.

video

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My audience

Twenty years ago you would have been hard pressed to familiarize yourself with my work.  You might have caught me out sketching or by visiting my studio.  Every now and then I would put on a one man show.  For the most part my activities were limited to the Caribbean.  I estimate that on average no more than a couple of people a day found me out.

All that changed in 1997 when I began posting diary pages on the internet.  The daily entries followed my work in progress.  My brother, who sat up each night updating the website, tells me that it can lay claim to being the world’s first blog!  Schools, colleges and individuals throughout the world began accessing the site – at one stage it could even claim royal patronage – and soon my daily audience increased immeasurably.

Now, with sophisticated blogger statistics, I can tell who, when and where is keeping an eye on my work.  The record number of visitors in one day is 320, and that’s 318 more than the couple of people who found me out in the old days.  To date “sculpturestudiodominica” has been regularly accessed in the following countries:

USA, UK, Ukraine, Philippines, Spain, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Columbia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Algeria, India, Chile, Russia, China, Thailand, South Africa, Ghana, Sweden, Poland, Serbia, Romania, Slovenia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Nepal, New Caledonia, Guernsey, Bangladesh, Australia, France, Belarus, Latvia, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Brazil, Norway, Vietnam,Turkey,
Belgian, Italy,Turkmenisyan, Japan, French Polynesia, Canada, Switzerland, South Korea, Honduras, Kenya, Germany, Malaysia, Panama, Bosnia & Herzegovina, ShiLanka, Hungary, Myanmar (Burma), Kazakhstan, Dominica and all of the Caribbean Islands.

By way of a painting I made in Ireland forty-three years ago, I thank each and every one of you for taking an interest in my work. 


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Not my cup of tea

The Sunday Times Water Colour Competition is in its 28th year.  Somewhere in the middle of its lifespan I viewed the exhibits first-hand.  Before and since I’ve had to make do with Google images.  Whichever way, the selected entries are not my cup of tea.

If ever there’s a painting medium that begs to be given freedom, it must surely be water colour. Instead the Sunday Times Water Colour Competition bores me to death with paintings that have been too carefully contrived.  Presumable runs and splashes are frowned upon and paintings of the nude appear to be a definite no-no. 

Having said that, my way of working with water colour is not every ones cup of tea.  As a young lad said when watching me paint, “My dad can do better than that!” 

Today’s picture is one that I painted of Jessica last year.  I apologise for it not being a photographic likeness and for not controlling the washes.  To quote another onlooker: “He’s made a mess of that!”


Friday, September 4, 2015

The relevance of a sketch from twenty years ago

The devastation caused to Dominica by tropical storm Erika, brings to mind the disaster suffered by the people of Montserrat when twenty years ago the Soufriere volcano erupted and destroyed the island’s capital city and left half the island uninhabitable.

Today’s picture is of a sketch I made for a sculpture to commemorate the event.  I cannot find the original but this low resolution copy gives an idea of what I had in mind.  The descriptive notes read as follows:

Father with arm around his wife leading the family to the future.
Mother with babe in arms and head resting on her husband’s shoulder.
Grandmother sat with possessions looking back to what they are leaving behind.
Child (son) tugging father forward.
Child (daughter) clinging to father’s legs.

It is a scene that has been repeated many times over in Dominica since the events of last Thursday.