Thinking of a change

Somewhere along the line the format of this template was changed and I’m now unable to insert pictures at their suitable sizes. So I’m thinking of creating a new blog with more versatility visually. Meanwhile, here are a couple of sculpture updates. If there is a new blog, I’ll put the details on here before moving on.2017-06-04 14.30.16mummies seated

Some progress

Really had no idea it’s so long since I posted – that doesn’t mean nothing has been going on, but maybe I’m not ready to share it. To update things here, there is a new strange family of clay figures, based on a photo that also provided the basis for some paintings. Very keen to do some drawing now, in a broad definition of what drawing might be, the sort of work I have previously described as thinking aloud. Meanwhile …family-of-7weird-dead-family

Change of plan?

I have now made 21 clay figures, still intending about 30 but it gets more difficult to vary the poses without breaking right out of the format so far established. This photo shows three stages in the making – one figure is just finished, several are dried and waiting for firing, while the ones that have been fired are obvious from the colour change.

nineteen figures

This yellowish stoneware finish is not what I expected – they were fired at a higher temperature than anything I’ve previously made with this clay – but it gives them a characteristic of age which is in keeping with my sense of who they might be or represent. So I’m thinking maybe they don’t need colour, and I should plan a second sequence where I can experiment more with surface finish. That suggests they could be a bit larger and possibly made by wire and plaster construction rather than direct modelling, though modelling in plaster is also an option.

Growing the theme

figures August 3Following my preference for the small informal clay figure shown in the last post, I have been making more of them similarly, modelling the shapes quite roughly and allowing textures to occur naturally over the surface, just by the movements of my fingers and basic tools. Every pose is slightly different, I am aiming for about 30 of these which will then be given colour treatments.

Working in clay

Life has got in the way of art for the past couple of months, but I have begun new projects, among which are small clay figures. It’s early days on these and the time it takes to do them is not in proportion to their physical size. The first one is a representation of one of the mummies I saw in Palermo (photos show work in progress and the finished figure).clay mummy 1

The final effect will depend on the surface treatments. I won’t be using ceramic glazes but intend to use various forms of paint and collage.

clay mummy 2

This worked out pretty much as I intended but I wasn’t satisfied with it. It seemed too clean, too organised, compared with the way I paint. At the end of my work session I created a very rough, simple form based some watercolour drawings. Although it’s quite crude, I feel it’s the more effective way to go, just squidging the clay roughly and using hands as much as tools. Again, the addition of colour will be part of its evolution.strange little


New challenge every step

This picture of the figure sculptures represents the unfinished stage they were at when I shut down work to do the open house. They were always going to be clothed and have faces, an as yet unfamiliar development, as the small versions didn’t go that far. Now as it turns out, what seemed ok in my mind’s eye is not satisfactory in the real. They will change, maybe quite a lot.sofa men clothed

Artists open houses 2016

Participating in AOH Brighton, after a break of two years. I forgot how entirely the preparations take over your life. Thankfully, yesterday was the first open day, which was rewarding in many ways. But I think the best part of this for me is seeing the different series of works so clearly all together. The connecting threads are now quite apparent. I can’t wait to get back to work. Apologies for poor photos, the lighting is very difficult, but they give some kind of flavour of the house 16 5open house 16 4open house 16 3open house 16 1

Takes as long as it takes

I mentioned in a previous post that the slowdown in posting here has been due to getting involved in sculpture, where it takes a lot of work to get somewhere. So even though I am a long way from finished, the photo shows the current stage of a pair of figures I’ve been working on. chaps 2

Although it’s possible to make some changes as it goes along, I have missed the spontaneity and happy accident that is a crucial element of my painting. At one time I would have been tempted to abandon such a project, in fact from years ago I have a wire mesh figure that kept falling down, and I did give up on it. So, lessons learned, these are both seated and  a bit smaller than life size. Can’t wait to get on with surface treatments now. I need colour.

Catching up

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on the blog, partly it’s because I’m working on 3D pieces that take a long time to start to look like anything. At the same time, I need to get a sense of spontaneity into them that reflects my processes in painting, I want the development of a sculpture to represent its making history, rather than to be disguised as it may be if only a technical means to an end. But I am learning technique at the same time as image-making.

For now, I can post a painting and related small sculpture, inspired by a mummy I saw in Madrid, in the Museo de America. The painting is gouache and oilpastel. The 3D piece is a relief made of thick card, overlaid with fabric and paper collage. It’s fine, but doesn’t quite do what I intended, so more exploring of medium and method needed.001

mummy 1

New images

Following a different strand of ideas lately, although in my own mind they are all connected and will eventually cohere visually. Tempted to continue with 3D work, which is very time consuming, and at the same time feeling the need to work with paint and collage, which are my familiar territory. I am also still working quite small, whatever the medium, and now able to envisage scaling up on both the 2D and 3D strands.

The first of these images is one of the postcard paintings, in watercolour and drawing inks, the second and third are gouache and paper collage on A4 size, one squared off and the other using the full dimensions of the paper.