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Roger Burnett

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Writing from life

by rogerburnett , August 25, 2014—12:00 AM

Topics: Caribbean, Passion Love, life, nude, poetry, sketches

Just as I paint from life in order to capture the transient moments of life, I find that poetry is most effective when scribbled down in the heat of the moment. The following lines refer to an emotional reunion. They were text to me, rather than scribbled, by Jessica Bellevue, my model and poetic muse. With poetry, as with painting, the simpler and more immediate the statement, the more profound. Seriously I cried and well he held me, But d more I cried. Today's painting is from the series I made of Jessica deep in poetic composition… Continue reading… 1 comment

If only...

by rogerburnett , June 5, 2014—08:44 PM

Topics: Caribbean, Passion Love, bathing, life, models, nude, painting, sketches

Today's painting dates from earlier in the year: a languid afternoon and a painting of Jessica sleeping. If only we could return for a while to those halcyon days of painting and bathing. But with an exhibition looming ahead there is no longer time. Our days are spent frantically framing and sending out invitations for the opening. A dear friend, who over the years has fought against every vicissitude that a small tropical island can possibly throw at her, once told me: that if things can go wrong, they will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment. My digital camera finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. Tomorrow, I will spend my last cent on buying a new one… Continue reading… 0 comments

A New Lease of Life

by rogerburnett , May 25, 2014—07:51 PM

Topics: Caribbean, exhibition, nude, painting, sculpture

Here is the poster for my forthcoming exhibition. It will comprise of forty recent paintings and twelve pieces of sculpture. But as you can see from the program, it will be more than just pictures on wall and sculptures on plinths. As the content is mainly my work with the nude the exhibition is sure to excite controversy. But that surely is what art is all about: to calm those who are disturbed and to disturb those who are calm. With less than five weeks to the opening I'm even busier than usual...… Continue reading… 0 comments

From one thing to another

by rogerburnett , May 11, 2014—08:10 PM

Topics: Caribbean, painting, sketches

When sketched this scene forty years ago Dominica's Roseau Bay Front was a sleepy sandy beach where fishermen sold their catch. That was yesterday. Just as Constable would be painting trucks rather than Haywains if he were to return to earth, my job as a painter is to record today. Here then is today's Bay Front with cruise ship, tour buses, vendors and tourists. How I miss yesterday! But in the words of Noel Coward, "The mood has gone to linger on would spoil it anyhow..… Continue reading… 0 comments

Titian painted his "Venus of Urbino" in 1538 and I painted my "Venus of Dominica" the day before yesterday. There have been many changes in the course of five hundred years but the beauty of the nude remains. Out of all the possible ways of depicting the female nude, the reclining nude is my favorite. And the same goes for my models, for what better way is there for day-dreaming through a sultry afternoon… Continue reading… 0 comments

Painterly passions

by rogerburnett , April 26, 2014—08:52 PM

Topics: Caribbean, Passion Love, bathing, life, painting, sketches

My idea of an idyllic beach is a deserted beach. I'm told that, ever since being a child, I've always wanted the sands to myself. Dominica's popular Mero Beach is never deserted and it was especially crowded on Easter Monday. But diametrical opposites attract and it was the blaring music and multitude of revelers that aroused my painterly passion. The only quite tone was my five-year old autistic companion for the day. Like me, she silently looked on in wonder… Continue reading… 0 comments

As a painter I have spent a lifetime trying to capture colour. In particular, I have endeavored to define the colours that are to be found in the skin tones of my models. My struggles with paint are equaled with my struggles in verse. If you dip back into the archives of my sculpturestudiodominica.blogspot.com diary pages to August 11th 2011, you will find my poem "The Colour Black". I wrote the poem in homage to Denise, my wife and model. It contains the verse: From the dark areola of her breast, Brown madder and yellow ochre merge. While sienna reds and blues subdued In deep purple shadows converge. More recently, a poem dedicated to Jessica, my current model, begins: In mellow tones my muse awakes, With subtle shades of amber glow..… Continue reading… 0 comments

To my mind, water colours are best when thrown down in the heat of the moment. A painting that takes longer than thirty minutes is invariably a failure. Let me clarify that statement by saying that it has taken me seventy years to say what I have to say in less than thirty minutes. On occasions, I still make the mistake of laboring too long. But then, as I throw aside my failed painting, my model heaves a sigh of relief and stretches like she's never stretched before. It is then that I grab the nearest sheet of paper at yell: "Hold it there...please...just for a couple of minutes!" In today's painting you have forever that rare couple of minutes… Continue reading… 0 comments

At the time when Columbus discovered these islands, it was rumored that there was a river, spring or fountain where the waters had such miraculous curative powers that any person who bathed in them would be blessed with everlasting youth. Jessica, my model and assistant, claims that the river that flows around the boundary of our land has these magical properties. Hence she has named it, "The Fountain of Youth". At the end of each working day, we put the waters to the test and bathe. This ritual serves not only as our Elixir of Life but it gives me practice in sketching the fleeting figure. These sketches are my most recent catch of bathing figures… Continue reading… 0 comments

The painter and the poet

by rogerburnett , March 15, 2014—12:00 AM

Topics: Passion Love, life, nude, painting, poetry, sketches

If the requirement of an artist's model is an ability to sit still, Jessica would fail miserably. On the other hand, if a model's fundamental task is to inspire, she wins hands down I have found a way of keeping her almost still by encouraging her to indulge in her passion for writing poetry while I paint. Not only did this ploy enable today's painting, it also produced a poem, the title of which I have used for today's post. Although still a work in progress it begins: When the painter and poet combine, Each searching for that illusive line, Which only a true lover can define. 'tis then, they find their hearts entwine… Continue reading… 0 comments

"I can only work from a model. The sight of human forms feeds and comforts me." Auguste Rodin. I share Rodin's basic need. Without a model my mind and paper is blank. With the model at hand, colours fall on the page with a life of their own. Wherever the model leads, I follow. Today's painting came about from my model's request for something to read while I paint. The book incidentally, is Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo… Continue reading… 0 comments

The Agony and the Ecstasy

by rogerburnett , February 20, 2014—12:00 AM

Topics: Caribbean, Passion Love, life, models, nude, painting

I have stolen the title for today's post from Irvin Stone's 1962 biographic novel on the life of Michelangelo. I look forward, in the next world, to sharing a glass of wine with Michelangelo, and a host of other artists, who have lived and painted with a passion. I can feel their presence as I struggle with a new collection of figurative watercolour paintings. Giving birth to a painting, involves an agonizing struggle against the odds. At best, a watercolour is an accident waiting to happen. Add to that, the difficulties of working from life; for only rarely can an artist find a muse and model that is able to inspire beyond the dreary norm… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is my most recent painting and you can learn more about it by accessing my latest blog entry, titled "He made a mess of dat". It represents one of those rare occasions when a water colour, through the very love of life, comes as close as possible to that miraculous accident. To give thanks, the proceeds of this sale will go towards helping a gifted five-year old little girl from my island of Dominica who suffers from autism. Hence, the bargain price of US$650 is there to bring forth another miracle and tempt a guardian angel to come to her rescue… Continue reading… 0 comments

He made a mess of that

by rogerburnett , February 6, 2014—12:00 AM

Topics: life, painting, sketches

Forty years ago, I sat sketching the fishermen off-loading their catch on the beach that bordered the Bay Front at Roseau, Dominica. Yesterday I sat sketching on the same spot. But forty years on, where there was once a beach, there is now a berth for cruise ships and the Bay Front is now a restricted boulevard for tourists. After pleading permission from the on-duty police patrolling the area, I was allowed to set up my sketching stool and easel. By turning my gaze towards the Old Market Square, and turning a blind eye to the knick-knacks that littered the stalls, I was able to rekindle the spark of old times. In addition to the sketch I was able to pick up one gem of a comment from an onlooker… Continue reading… 0 comments

The mood lives on

by rogerburnett , January 22, 2014—08:52 PM

Topics: sketches

Twenty-two years ago, with my wife in the final months of our oldest daughter's pregnancy, I was trying to make ends meet on the pristine island of Bermuda. As there was little in the way of riotous squalor that I could get my teeth into, my watercolours became as orderly as the landscape. But within my portfolio for that period there can be found a note of rebellion. I clearly remember, as I threw down the thunderous washes in this painting, that my thoughts were of my beloved Caribbean. The mood lives on… Continue reading… 0 comments

By some strange quirk in the makeup of artists, and contrary to expectations, creativity does not fare well in the comfort zone. If given luxury and financial security we procrastinate: put every obstacle in our way and we produce our best work. Thus, my present creative zeal owes its origin to the trials and tribulations that are doing their best to thwart me. The New Year heralded the breakdown of every device we possess. But despite no electricity supply (the final straw) and three weeks of tropical downpours, the creative urge lives on with vengeance. Today's picture shows work in progress on the torso of my life-size bathing figure… Continue reading… 0 comments

In labour

by rogerburnett , December 29, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: Passion Love, bathing, life, maquette, models, sculpture

My diary entries for August 2nd (A haunting vision from long ago) and August 11th (Oh what a pity) tell about the conception of the life-size figure that is presently my work in progress. As in real life, conception is pleasant and painless, whereas giving birth can be agonizing. Although delivering the final bronze cast can drag on for many years, the completion of the work in clay represents the true birth. As you can see in today's picture, after a score of sessions with my model and many sleepless nights, the figure is beginning to take shape… Continue reading… 0 comments

Work in progress, Part 2

by rogerburnett , December 21, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: Passion Love, life, models, sculpture

Today's picture shows the progress we've made on the portrait bust over the last couple of weeks. Once again I stress "we", for without a model there can be no portrait. My model solved my dilemma with her straightened hair by arriving one day wearing a traditional Creole head-tie. The madras "headkerchief" can be tied so that the corners make one, two three or four points. The number of points carry a message to would be suitors. One point means, my heart is free. Two points, my heart is engaged but you can take a chance. Three points, my heart is already taken. Four points, I have a place for whoever desires… Continue reading… 0 comments

Teamwork

by rogerburnett , December 15, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: models, sculpture

Between sessions, my most recent model is studying Business Management. Last week, as part of her course work, she had to make a presentation on the subject of teamwork. For her topic, she cited the artist and model as one of her examples. Her choice speaks volumes about her understanding of the crucial role of the model. Furthermore, it set me thinking about a host of others who have contributed their skills to the sculptor's work. Not least on the list are those master craftsmen who for centuries have made the tools for the job. This link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvr2nZeAfNc will give you glimpse of what's involved. Then comes the moulders, who job is to take the initial waste-mould and then the intricate piece-mould… Continue reading… 0 comments

Work in progress

by rogerburnett , December 8, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: life, models, sculpture

I hate the finality of finish but favor work in progress. The portrait bust shown in today's picture was started just over a week ago. As a work in progress, it will continue to evolve over the next couple of weeks. The day will then arrive when the end result has to be cast, once and for all time. I found my model, not in some halcyon Athenian bower, but selling mangoes by the road side. Had I have grabbed her there and then, she'd have come with her hair plaited in cane-rows. Alas, by the time I arranged for her to sit for me she had straightened out her God-given hair… Continue reading… 0 comments