Web Design
by Hodephinitely

workbench

Thu, 4 October 2018 12:07:12

A Piece To Commemorate The Nurses Of WW1 In Flanders

I was asked by artist - curator Chantal Pollier to take part in an exhibition in Poperinge, Flanders about the nurses of WW1 as part of the WW1 centenary projects. The title of the exhibition was to be "Heelkracht" or, healing power and the setting a chapel in the town just behind the Western Front and the St Bertinus Kerk.

The town of Poperinge is still recognisable from how it was in 1918 and remnants of that history are everywhere. In a nearby country house that had been used as a hospital were some original beds from the war and these were loaned to me as part of an installation. The nurse had to be generated: I began her as a clay head around a pair of blue acrylic eyes I had been hoarding for a while.

The soldiers in the installation are only to be present in parts, based on some very tragic original photographs of how many of the soldiers were absorbed by the muddy ground of the Flanders fields. I set about making some body parts in wax from my volunteer models.

Usually I prefer modelling the body parts to casting them, but on this occasion I was after some realism.

I end up with quite a collection of body parts. You can see from this picture how it's the colour that brings them to life.

My nurse's face was modelled not cast and needed to be as convincing as the body cast parts, so I went at the colouring rather cautiously, completing a first layer before deciding she was still too pale. I added some hair roughly to give myself a general impression of where it was heading.

Don't ask me why I always end up painting these at dead of night. This is not recommended as the lighting is not ideal, striplights make you paint too yellow, spotlights not yellow enough. I do have a daylight bulb lamp in my own studio butI nearly always finish my pieces on location, in this case a friend's studio nearer the exhibition.

Mon, 30 May 2016 22:24:27

The Carving Of Guy Of Gaunt

A large 6ft block of limewood was prepared at the Giesler-Moroder carving school in Elbigenalp, Austria, and delivered to my studio. Handling such a weight requires special equipment - here is the press which is used to laminate the block.

The block is prepared for delivery

Late at night and I'm narrowing the legs of the figure and digging out the drapery behind the shins...not an easy spot to reach.

The carving went on the road as a demo this weekend at Winchester Uni's Death and the Maiden conference. My laid out tools probably gave visitors a false sense of a methodical, tidy artist. Very false....this is the core kit, with homemade leather sharpening strops, straight and curved gouges, some hand sharpening stones which are slower than machines but give superb edges; measuring calipers, wax hand and foot prototypes sculpted in the dissecting room, oil can, and a magnifying glass for checking blade edges for imperfections. With this kit, I can carve away for ages.

A view of the carving demonstration setup in Winchester. It's not often I get to stand this far back from the side view of Guy as my own workshop is narrow ( and, yes, full of useful junk.)

The neck muscles stand out like cords on the neck of the severely emaciated, and it's the point where I start delineating these. Still some to come off the forehead and the eyes will need to recede into the sockets quite a way.