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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

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

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

Painting the Nude

by rogerburnett , September 30, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: Passion Love, life, models, painting, sculpture, workshops

The ink is still wet on this poster. It announces my 10 day workshop on painting and sculpting the nude. The workshop runs from the 25th November to the 4th December. In addition to learning about the techniques that I have acquired over a life-time of sketching, painting and sculpting the nude, participants take home a Roger Burnett painting (either portrait or, if brave enough, figure)of themselves. Follow the following links for further details: http://paintingnude.blogspot.com http://workingfromlife.blogspot 0 comments

Oh what a pity!

by rogerburnett , August 11, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: bathing, maquette, sculpture

To continue from last week, here is the finished 1/12th scale maquette of my bathing figure. In the final life-size sculpture, water will pour from the calabash shell she holds from her outstretched arms. D H Lawrence's poem, "Innocent England" laments a court decision to destroy his nude paintings. It begins: Oh what a pity, Oh! don't you agree, That figs aren't found in the land of the free! Fig trees don't grow in my native land; There's never a fig-leaf near at hand When you want one; so I did without; And that is what the row's about! Likewise, fig-leafs are not easily found in Caribbean. I too did without and hence, for the time being, my innocent bathing figure must go a begging… Continue reading… 0 comments

A subject that I saw at a glance twenty-three years ago, has haunted my memory ever since. The place is a secluded riverside on the island of Grenada and the subject is women washing and bathing. I alluded to the scene in my book "Caribbean Sketches" and noted that I have learnt more about drawing the figure at the riverside than I have before the artificially posed model in a life class. To sketch the figure in real life, be it at the market place or the riverside, one has to take time to become familiar with the subject and accept ribald comments with good humour. The befriending stage can take days or weeks, but finally the subject relaxes and accepts the artist as part of the natural scheme of things… Continue reading… 0 comments

Two figures embraced

by rogerburnett , July 8, 2013—08:44 PM

Topics: sculpture

In my seventieth year, I am attempting subjects that I dare not contemplate in my youth. Those who toil upon the forge of art are fortunate: as the body grows older, the spirit gets younger. Creativity, by its very definition, is something different to what has gone before. I now want to give my sculpture the accidental freedom of my watercolours and to explore the interaction of two figures embraced. Working from the nude figure demands passion tempered with integrity and daring tempered with restraint. These demands become even more challenging when two figures are interlocked in an embrace, for then the element of sex enters the picture. The following quotes are relevant to the problem at hand… Continue reading… 0 comments

In the beginning

by rogerburnett , July 1, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: sculpture

As God didn't have a please a patron or satisfy a board of trustees, I doubt if he made a preliminary sketch or marquette before he created the world. Sculptors seldom have the same creative freedom. Usually commissioners need visible evidence of what the sculptor has in mind. When the evidence is to their liking, they want the work to follow suit and the creative process stops there and then. For this reason, I have grown wary of presenting preliminary sketches and maquettes. I have learnt that the creative spark ignites all the better when the work is in progress. Sometimes the model relaxes into a more convincing pose or, a group of figures fall into a better arrangement. On the other hand, a small maquette occasionally has more life than the finished figure… Continue reading… 0 comments

Starting Young

by rogerburnett , April 26, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: sculpture

Whereas my daughters Tania and Trina can claim they started their modelling career captive in their mother's womb, my son Tristan had been in the world eight months before modelling for his first sculpture. Now that he is ten, getting him to model is a different kettle of fish. A portrait bust that I started of him a couple of years ago dragged out so long that the clay turned to dust long before completion. My sculptures have themselves brought children into this world. Behind the backs of the commissioners, I added a little boy to the maquette of my figures for Leeds City Centre. When called to account for this addition to their budget, I shrugged it off as the inevitable consequence of the couple's liaison… Continue reading… 0 comments

Life Before Blogs

by rogerburnett , April 5, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: sculpture

In the mid 1990's, in order to pursue my work as a sculptor, my wife and I left the warmth of my adopted Caribbean and returned to the North of England, the land of birth. Beneath the barrel-vaulted roof light of what was once a church assembly hall we created a studio that was reminiscent of the workshops of past masters. My first major commission was for two life-size bronze figures for the small Yorkshire mill town of Sowerby Bridge. The town raised the money by public subscription - including jumble sales and door-to-door collections. In order to promote the project I opened my studio to visitors and posted on the internet a daily diary of the work in progress. This was before the days of blogs… Continue reading… 0 comments