I have recently embarked on wood sculpture.
This is something that has been in my mind for some time, and now that I have more time to spend on it, there was the opportunity to start. I've been motivated by my colleague Frans Hilgers who has been sculpting for many years with stone and more lately wood in Overveen, Holland. Like myself Frans is trained in head and neck surgery, and he made me realise that with our surgical training of thinking 3-dimensionally, its a natural art form for us.
The first stage was to clean up my workshop, and get some new tools. My dear wife was kind enough to move her car into the carport to allow me more space.
I had some very good advice from Blair Logan, regarding the Arbortech range of wood sculpting tools, and I found some promising woods at the Timber Recycling centre in Taupo.
Opus one is the female bust “Deborah” named after the model done in Western Australian Jarrah. This is quite a hard wood and makes everything red but the result is attractive. I photographed the stages of the work as it progressed. I was surprised that it actually took on the correct form in the end!
Opus two is a replica (much smaller of course) of the Moai, found on Easter Island. These odd looking figures are all almost the same, and that caught my imagination, having been done more than a thousand years ago on this very remote island, and generally they are imbued with mystery. This was done in New Zealand Rimu.
“my new studio built over 2020, instead of our planned 40th anniversary trip to, believe it or not, Russia and England“.
Stages in sculpting Deborah, alternatively titled the "Suprasternal Notch” made famous in the English Patient by Ralph Fines and Kristen Scott-Thomas. I think I was captivated by this anatomy after spending 40 years operating in the area.
OPUS 1: "Deborah" in Jarrah
Opus 1: “Suprasternal notch” Reworked
The re-worked version of my first piece; Opus #1.
Figure in Jarrah, 370X140mm, finished in Danish oil, mounted in Rimu base.
This was a study of the suprasternal notch anatomy, but finally resulted in the whole trunk.
Opus 2: “Moai" in Rimu
Reconfigured Opus 2. - Moai
Recently I reconfigured my sculpture of a Moai. This was done in a solid piece of Rimu 800X200 mm.
This was to alter the nose and mouth and improve the base of the figure. The features are now more typical of the originals in Easter Island
Opus 3: “Suprasternal notch” #2
Bust in Kauri recycled wood. The wood needed some repair in the shoulders. This was done with the use of wood filings and glue. This required some disguise so I decided to use a tinted varnish. I mounted it on a base of Rimu.
Opus 4: Figure in Rimu
Opus 5: Figurine in NZ Kauri. Base of Rimu.
Title: A further study in the anatomy of the suprasternal notch.
Opus 6: Figure carved from a Totara post.
Finished in Dryden wood oil.
Totara posts have been used traditionally in New Zealand as fence posts and last more than 100 years in the ground.
Opus 7: Abstract figure in Kauri, base of Rimu.
Dimensions: 500mm X 200mm
Opus 8: Figure sculpted in NZ Kauri. Base of Rimu.
Finished in several layers of Danish oil with sanding in between with fine grit.
Dimensions: 539mm X 230mm
Opus 9: Geometrical figure in Rimu
Finished in Danish oil.
Dimensions: 450X130 mm
Opus 10: Abstract figure in Totara.
Before and After Finishing with Drydan oil.
Dimensions: 955X125 mm
Opus 11: Figure carved in Totara.
Finished in Drydan oil.
Dimensions: 930X150 mm
Opus 12: Figure carved in Kauri.
Latest sculpture done in NZ Kauri- meant to complement opus 8, seen here at left.
Dimensions: 600 x 200mm
Unfortunately this piece of Kauri that was recycled from a demolition had multiple nails that had stained the wood. For this reason I used Dryden oil with a tint to try to hide the blemishes. It will be an outside item, as it’s only been partially successful!
Opus 13: Figure carved in Totara.
Recycled wood requiring some repairs
Finished in Dryden oil
Opus 14: Abstract figure done in NZ Kauri 430X200 mm.
Finished in tung oil blend Set in base of Rimu
Opus 15: “The dive” figure sculpted in Totara
Recycled from building demolitions.
Base of Rimu. Finished in a tung oil blend.
Opus 16: Abstract figure in NZ Kauri
Finished in Danish oil, in a base of Rimu.
Front and back
Opus 17: Abstract figure in Cryptomeria (Japanese red Cedar) or “Sugi” in Japanese.
360X190 mm - Finished in Danish Oil
Opus 18: Totara
Finished in Dryden oil.
Dimensions: 1000X110 mm
Opus 19: “Faniciulla del bosco” - wood maiden.
Figure in Cryptomeria (Japanese red cedar)
Dimensions: 1360mm X 400mm
Finished in Danish oil - base in Dryden oil.
Opus 20: 3 Figures in weathered Totara
Done as a gift for a friend.
Tikis made in Ngarua marble.
Opus 21: “Aphrodite”.
570mm X 120mm figure in Kauri - Finished in Danish oil
Opus 22: “Sculpture of the Little Mermaid”.
After the bronze in the harbour of Copenhagen. Based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson.
Opus 23: “The Family”.
“The family” sculptures using 100-year-old Totara fence poles from Akaroa, Tikis made from Marble from Ngarua caves in Golden Bay area. Strung with braided stainless steel thread, and finished with Dryden oil with tint. Included mother and child. dimensions: 100x9 cm; 103x10cm; 95x7cm.
Opus 24: “Serenity”.
Figurine in Kahikatea. 480mm X 200 mm. “Serenity” These are of the tallest giants in the NZ forests. (Over 60 up to 80 meters) This was wood from Banks peninsula. Finished in a tinted polyurethane varnish because to repairs to the wood was needed. Base of Rimu.
650 X 130 mm kauri abstract figurine Finished in Danish oil Mounted on Rimu
Figure; partly abstract, sculpted in oak on commission Mounted in rustic base of Kahikatea. 1400 X 170 mm Finished in Danish oil Both completed in late March 2022.