Monday 17 June 2019

Which do I prefer, painting or sculpture?


Which do I prefer, painting or sculpture?
This is a question I hear so many times when people see the range of my work.

Unfortunately the modern perception of art has been influenced by the marketing of artworks. The commercial galleries need artists that have an easily recognisable and marketable style.  The more straightforward and eye catching they are, the better, from the seller's point of view.  Thus, the existence of this simplistic view that artists just perfect themselves in one medium.

I use many different methods to express my visual thinking. Generally speaking a painting, shows emotion through colour and composition, and a sculpture shows presence through movement and  form. So depending on what I feel about the subject and the message I want to communicate, will indicate what method I will use. Different mediums therefore give me a greater versatility for visual communication.

Below are two examples of the same subject matter in both oil painting and in bronze, which I hope goes someway to answering the question.

The oil painting of the mute swan swimming depicts the transparency and soft dryness of the feathers contrasted with the wet water. These colour harmonies created by low sunlight and blue overhead sky attenuate the very aggressive pose and mask the powerful movement of this cob ( male swan).
SHIP OF CREAM. Oil on canvas,  50 x 60 cm
 Whereas the sculpture ( photographed in clay before being cast into bronze)  portrays the strength, dignity and power of the bird. The dimensions, which are about 25% larger than life size, increase this impact.

FACING THE FUTURE - clay for bronze Height - 177cm, wingtip to wingtip -183cm.

 I wanted to show the quality of great age, and seeming wisdom in the Aldabra Giant Tortoise. They appear to me to be a species that got stuck along the evolutionary path, and then isolated on lost islands. Using a restricted palette of colours I chose to show the form through tone, giving attention to textures. The triangular composition and the low viewpoint to help to add weight and stability to the subjects.

LIVING RELICS Oil on canvas 60 x 75cm
  The Giant Tortoise has an inquisitive nature and can strike an interesting pose if you're quick to catch it, though their movements are limited. This is a small model (about one fifth of life size), so it was difficult to accentuate the weight of the animal, but the patina achieved in the bronze demonstrates the wonderful variety of surface textures in these reptiles.

ALDABRA GIANT TORTOISE AND COCO DE MER. Bronze on granite base which measures 27.5 x17.5cm, total height 25.5cm

Wednesday 5 June 2019


Dear Friends and Followers, 
It's been a long time  . . . . since my last blog posting.

As anyone who has moved house will know, the process of hunting, finding and finally moving is a most disruptive and energy consuming business. 
This is my truthful excuse for my absence of activity with this blog.

Yes, I have moved from the sweet Chianti countryside of central Tuscany, Italy to Pietrasanta, ( a town set at the foot of mountains and 4 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast. 

Why did I choose to live in Pietrasanta?
The main square this winter with large sculptures on display.


Pietrasanta is not your usual Italian town. 
It is special to me, first and foremost because of its history and continuing tradition of art through sculpture. This dates from when the Romans discovered that the white rock of the mountains behind was an endless source of beautiful, carvable marble. Since then, the town has evolved into an international centre where artists come to benefit from the sculptural expertise that has been handed down the generations. Skills ranging from making metal armatures, modelling in clay, mould making, carving in marble and stone, bronze casting, to tool making and all the other skills associated with the production of high quality and sometimes very large sculptures can be found within bicycle distance from the centre.
It lives and breathes sculpture.

It is special to me also because there is a pride taken and respect given to the artisans and artists that work here, and they really do: they work hard. There is a tangible buzz in the workshops and studios, because, (maybe I'm sticking my neck out here, but I believe that) much of the work is done with a passion and an effort to attain, or at least keep, high standards. Artists of all nationalities are welcomed here by the locals. They form an important part of the society which makes this town function.

Lastly, I have many friends here since I have been visiting Pietrasanta for foundry work for the last 25 years.

The beach is 4 km away and in the winter the sunsets over the sea are spectacular. 




Monte Altissimo September 2019   Oil on panel 15 x 27cm English:      Since my last blog with lockdown  finally terminated in Italy, I have...