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, October 27, 2015

Me of all people!

In a recent Dominica on-line press debate  in which I tried to differentiate between pornography and the beauty and profundity of the nude, I have been chastised for denouncing the nude, period.  (http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/culture/winners-of-the-independence-celebrations-art-competition-announced/)

For once I’ll resort to the expression LOL.  Me of all people!

Have we really reached the level where people can no longer differentiate between the two?  Regardless, I will go my own sweet way and continue to passionately extol the beauty and innocence of the nude and denounce any attempt to demote it to mere pornographic lust. 

Somerset Maugham in his book The Razor’s Edge had this to say about passion.

…passion is so overwhelming that beside it even lust and hunger are trifling…no wine is so intoxicating, no love so shattering, no vice so compelling…

This afternoon, for Suzanne, a visiting artist from Brazil, I have passionate pursued the beauty and profundity of the nude by way of demonstrating my method of painting the nude.  The session would have been impossible without the support of my inspirational model Annabelle.  I also thank Suzanne for enabling the session.  Below is the last painting in a series of three.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

The drama of darks


In my first notes for art students post I waxed lyrical on the virtues of my first love: charcoal and newsprint. 

Traditional charcoal has given birth to numerous similar materials that give the same effect.  One of which was made by Faber Castell.  I purchased my supply years ago and like many materials that I’ve become accustomed to it is no longer available; at least not in its original stick form.  In those days it came in various shades, from black to light sepia.

Today’s picture dates back to 1994.  It is the drama of the dark passages that enliven the sketch.  They fall from the model’s shoulders and reach down her spine, capturing her ribbon and embracing her right hand along the way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Notes for Art Students


Notes for Art Students began life three years ago as a supplement for CXC students attending art classes at my studio. Recently, all Dominican secondary and college students have been given tablets for access to the internet. Following this initiative I have re-launched the site in the hope that it will encourage a wider interest in the Visual Arts. It can be found at: notesforartstudents.blogspot.com
      
At the moment art is an unknown quantity for many students. This year, out of 1,800 Dominica State College Students, only 6 expressed an interest in studying art. Anywhere else in the world they would have been queuing up around the block! 

Over the years a number of my followers have become artists in their own right and I look forward to enabling Dominican students to achieve similar success.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Writings on the wall

Community murals seldom turn me on, whereas graffiti often does.  It comes back to my love of passion and spontaneity: my fondness for the sketch as against the finished painting. 

Recently a friend in Jamaica sent me some images of a mural by Taj Francis from a project titled Paint Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/paintjamaica.  The image below shows his mural as a work in progress, set against existing graffiti writings on the wall.


The finished mural is a remarkable piece of work.  But you know what…it is the image of the work in progress that really turns me on!  


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Contrasts


Above is the painting that I promised on my last diary page.  It is my impression of the storm that devastated Dominica six weeks ago.  The painting measures 30” x 20”.   It will be sold in aid of the Relief Fund.

It was difficult to keep the memory of the storm alive while painting, for right outside my studio door was the contrasting view shown below.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Notes to myself

I paint from life, whether it be the model or the sea crashing against a cliff face.  However, there are times when fighting for life, there is no time to pull out a sketch book.  A case in point is the day when Tropical Storm Erika devastated Dominica.  I then have to resort to memory and to get that memory indelibly down on paper I make notes to myself.


The above sketch measures only a few inches, but that scrap of paper records the moment when all hell broke loose.  With the help of survivors, I have since re-lived that day and developed the sketch into a painting.  I will post the full painting on next week’s diary page. In the meantime, the detail below corresponds to the scribbled lines in the bottom left hand corner of the sketch


Saturday, October 3, 2015

From all angles

First and foremost a maquette allows the sculptor to judge his vision, three dimensionally and from all angles.  Secondly, it serves to give those who may one day commission the work and the public at large, an idea of what the sculptor has in mind. 

Today’s pictures show the completed maquette that was the subject of my last post.  And now, rather than glaring white plaster, the maquette has been patinated to give the appearance of bronze. 

The final life size figures are intended to be seen from all angles.  Thus, I have tried to created interest from all angles.  It should be remembered that the maquette is not meant to show detail but rather an impression of how the grouping will work out in reality.  My first reaction is that the girl clutching her father’s leg needs to be a little larger and perhaps the boy also.  I was undecided whether to show the mother breast feeding or holding her baby on her hips, as shown.  I am still undecided!   

For the maquette I make do with which ever models are at hand - in this case my own family.  For the final sculpture my models will be chosen from families who suffered from the storm.  At that stage the models add their own interpretation to the theme.

A reminder that the sculpture is intended to commemorate the devastation wrought on Dominica by Tropical Storm Erika.  The figures depict a family walking away from the past and into the future, the grandmother reluctant to leave but the son urging the family forward.

I welcome your feedback.





Thursday, October 1, 2015

In the beginning

If you look back to my entry for the 4th of September, you will see a preliminary sketch that I made twenty years ago.  My drawing represented the first attempt to put down on paper an idea that was running around in my mind.  Now, after all those years, I need to transform the two dimensional sketch into a three dimensional piece of sculpture.  Therein lays the challenge! 

The first step is to make a 1/10th scale model (in sculptural terms known as the maquette) of what will eventually be a group of life-size figures. 

I build up my maquettes I directly in plaster.  And if there’s one material more difficult to handle than water colour, it surely has to be wet plaster.  I can only apply small amounts at a time as the mix is only workable for a few minutes.  Fortunately, I am not after detail (you know me!) but just an impression of how the grouping will work out in reality. 

Today’s pictures show the work in progress.