COMMENTARY: State of the Art

Sculpture by Roger Burnett

Twenty years ago, before the days of “blogs”, I began posting on-line a project that combined the state of the art of the internet with the state of my art as a painter and sculptor.

The project was initially intended to interest primary school children in the creative arts. At that time, schools in the UK had been equipped with “computer labs”. Almost immediately my daily postings spread to secondary schools and colleges. Moreover, they attracted a wider audience, both at home and overseas.

More recently, I launched a separate site specifically with Dominican students in mind. But regardless of free “tablets”, my Notes for Art Students has had virtually no followers locally.

In contrast, my original project is now accessed by thousands of students, artists and art lovers in over fifty countries beyond the Caribbean. The site has won many accolades and must surely rank as Dominica’s premier art export, albeit non-revenue earning!

My postings give an insight into the working methods of the painter and sculptor and share the triumphs and tribulations of work in progress. The site’s archives can claim to be one of the world’s largest resources devoted to the practice of painting and sculpture. They amount to over 200,000 words and 1,300 images.

As a sculptor, my materials and techniques have changed little since the time of Michelangelo. The figure is first modelled in clay. From the clay, molds are made for creating a master cast in plaster. From the master, a further series of molds are taken to enable the form to be cast in wax. It is from the wax impression that the foundry casts the sculpture in bronze. A life-size figure, involves over a year’s work.

As a painter, my water colour washes are given a freedom that few artists dare duplicate. Over the years I have evolved a rapid way of working enables me to capture the figure in its fleeting moods and changes. My paintings suggest, rather than define detail. Thus, the viewer is invited to enter into the creative process.

In the 1980’s I began a series titled Daughters of the Caribbean Sun. It is still on-going and comprises of hundreds of paintings and scores of sculptures that pay homage to the beauty of the Afro-Caribbean woman. Through my work I have endeavored to rescue the female form from the sleazy depths of pornography and to reinstate it in the realms of beauty.

My subjects are not professional models but real people. All I ask is that they do not disguise their natural appearance in preference to a foreign concept of beauty. Over a period of twenty-five years my wife Denise has modelled for many of my paintings and sculptures. But credit is also due to my dedicated Dominican models for inspiring recent work and sharing my vision.

To mark the twentieth anniversary of my on-line diary and to celebrate fifty years of painting in the Caribbean I am presently working on a life-size figure, a picture of which illustrates this commentary. On completion the figure will be cast in bronze. You can follow the work in progress at: sculpturestudiodiminica.blogspot.com

I welcome visitors to my studio at Antrim and interest from potential models. But please contact me beforehand: either by e-mail at antrimstudio@gmail.com or by telephoning 449-2550/225-5470/615-5010.

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5 Comments

  1. rasta
    March 8, 2017

    Great work sir,keep it up and keep the faith. You cannot leave this earth before being rewarded but those are a very conscience. Great work of art !!! Your reward will soon come!!!

  2. anon
    March 8, 2017

    this sculpture looks like one of the past queens miss francine tiffany baron

  3. Onlooker
    March 7, 2017

    Very interesting article Mr. Burnett. I’ve also visited your studio and wish that every art lover and student gets the opportunity to visit. May I suggest a collaboration with the Ministry of Education as well direct contact with the schools/art teachers who can arrange for a visit or for you to visit them as well. A first start can be the Pioneer Prep school which has a wonderful art program and could benefit from a studio visit/ field trip as well as your expertise. contact 449 9500 or 616 9292

  4. TPH
    March 7, 2017

    Amazing work! Dominica is misspelt in the url name in the article. Here is the link: sculpturestudiodominica.blogspot.com

    • Roger Burnett
      March 8, 2017

      Many thanks for spotting my typing error.

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