work in progress
I am often asked by other artists, the ins and outs of how my work is made. I have to confess I am always a bit miffed by these requests to reveal my hard-earned experience, as I have been playing around with plaster since 2004. The whole of that time I have been experimenting and building my method to where it is now, so yes I am loath to share it. I have and am still serving my apprenticeship and it has not come easily. So why should I give it away?
What I will do for those of you that are interested is take you through one piece, of Work in Progress from prepped board to exhibition wall.
work in progress
I usually start by making lots of thumbnail sketches of the boards I have prepared. This is a very random process and a design may or may not be used on the particular board it was designed for. I could discard it or use it on another board. However sometimes it is completely ad-lib, as when I come to doing a particular board it may well dictate something I had not previously thought to do.
I then look closely at the board I am going to work on. This is when I have to make a decision, what would be good for this board; I might envisage several of the sketches onto the board and chose one that is most suitable to that board. Occasionally none of the sketches I have made, will do. So I may go back to the drawing board. Or put that particular board to one side to look at again later.
However once I have decided what to carve or etch into it, I work the design onto the plaster. Sometimes this can be a major part of the work and I may then decide to leave it blank as in 4000BC. With the piece I am illustrating here, my aim was to map an ancient burial ground and place it in the cosmos. So I knew from an early stage I was going to paint it.
As it is about ancient rock carving which is in many instances about the night sky. So it was relatively easy to make colour choices.
I work in layers and glazing, allowing the plaster to exist in its own right as it is an important part of making links to the past in my work
This piece had six to eight glazes, rubbing and sometimes washing off as I go.
Once I have worked it as far as I want it to go, I then continue rubbing until I get a patina. This gives the effect of space yet still maintains the solidity of the plaster.
From the ‘mists of time’
exhibition where both pieces were sold and they are now hanging in a private collection in London. No I am not inclined to share with you how I use the plaster it is personal to me. Yes there have been times when I have seen work and wondered how it was done, but frankly the best way to find out is to experiment yourself. That way you are not copying somebody else’s methods as you will put your own spin on it and make it your own. Even if you do not agree I welcome your thoughts, see comment box below. Thank you for reading my blog