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 30, 2017
Since Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica three months ago, we have been without electricity. For one hour a day we run the generator to charge batteries, but after that it's candle light.
Yesterday evening, when glancing in the bathroom mirror, by the afore said candle light, who did I see staring back at me: none other than Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt (1606-1669).
Rembrandt, and other artists from earlier periods, lived and worked by candle light. I now realise that it is this light that gave their painting dramatic heights and depths.
It is not often that I indulge in a self-portrait - my last dates from 1974 - but here I am, in the bathroom mirror in candle light.
Perhaps for the New Year I should tell my models to forget the morning and afternoon sessions, from now on we will work after dark by candle light.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
For a watercolourist the highlights are the white of the paper and, at best, the depths a thunderous wash that is weakened by the inherent transparency of the medium.
The gem-like jet blackness of my present model forces me to risk all I know in my attempt for a likeness. One wash is thrown down on top of another and the inevitable runs mopped up with a tissue.
Mind you, tissues have been heavily in demand today as both my model and myself are recovering from a severe bout of flue.
Thank you Verlena for seeing the session through to the end. Today's picture shows that it was worth our efforts.
This painting reverts back to my 22" x 16" format. It was painted through out with a number 16 brush and took 20 minutes, or rather 60 years, from beginning to end.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Today's painting, small by my standards, is no larger than a sheet of typing paper. Nevertheless, it says all that I have spent a lifetime trying to say in terms of capturing the beauty of the nude figure through the elusive medium of watercolour.
I did not set out to paint a picture, but rather to give a new model and myself confidence of working together. In ten minutes we had broken the ice.
Thank you Verlena.
Friday, December 8, 2017
Picking up the painterly threads after three months is not easy. But Annabelle was true to her inspirational self and today’s five minute opening sketch gives me hope that I too can still work the magic.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
It is not oft that I lie upon my couch in vacant or in pensive mood, and on the rare occasions that I do what dwells upon my inward eye is the beauty of the female nude, rather than daffodils. But I confess, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has me vacant and pensive.
With little time left I need to get on with life, but now every move is tens times more difficult than it was before. Finding suitable models for my paintings and sculptures is a case in point. I search the island like a detective following possible leads. But alas, so far they have come to nought.
Today's drawing of the pregnant nude dates back to 1993.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Nine weeks ago my studio was in a state of retreat from Hurricane Maria: no paintings on the walls and sculptures inches deep in water. The task of restoration has been long and difficult and all the more so because I was determined to improve on what was there before.
Today's picture shows that I am up and running again.
Monday, November 20, 2017
My whole being yearns to be toiling on the forge of art and in particular, to pursue my work with the figure. Yet here I am, still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Maria.
Today's picture says it all, or does it. Painting and sculpting alone does not represent my life's work. There's mor to it than that.
This link shows that the pieces are not solely related to my art.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
My bathing figure from three years ago serves as a reminder of those halcyon days.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Just over five weeks ago Dominica was hit by one of the worst hurricanes on record: a Category 5+ hurricane with winds in excess of 200 mph. The center passed right over the island. The damage is catastrophic by any standards: 80% of buildings, roads, bridges and services destroyed or seriously damaged. The island is still reeling from the storm and will be for at least a year.
We came out better than most. Flooding was our major problem but most of my paintings and sculptures survived, albeit with some interesting washes courtesy of Maria, as today's picture shows.
Getting this post out has been a major operation (no electricity and no broadband) via cell connections that only work when I climb up on the roof. Hence, posts will be few and far between until better times.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I have seen these islands destroyed twice in my life time. First, by the development that began in the late 1970’s; development that eventually overwhelmed the islander’s way of life and the local scene. And second, by Hurricane Irma. Palatial homes can be re-built but I can never again experience my first love.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
The fact that it changed course for the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane is no consolation. Those islands were once my home and I have many family members there. The walls that surround them I built thirty years ago. The roof timbers are strapped down with rigging salvaged from a fifty foot racing yacht. The doors and shutters were made from the finest pitch pine planks. The house and studio survived Hurricane Hugo in the 1980’s - also a major 4/5 hurricane. Let’s hope they do the same again over the next 36 hours.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
In the meantime: back to the workbench and the 24 blade beating roll that will be used for making paper pulp.