I have recently embarked on wood sculpture.
This is something that had been in my mind for some time, and having retired I had more time to spend on it, there was the opportunity to start. I'd 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.
After working in the garage for about a year, we were planning a special trip to celebrate our 40 wedding anniversary, when Covid hit us. All plans were put on hold and we decided to upgrade the carport attached to the garage. This involved a new garage door, and the open side was replaced by a unit of aluminium cabinetry with double glazing windows and door fitted. After moving in my newly acquired tools, and getting some more I had a new studio.
“my new studio built over 2020, instead of our planned 40th anniversary trip to, believe it or not, Russia and England“.
Stages in sculpting opus1, done in Yarra, a hard wood from Western Australia.
OPUS 1: "Deborah" in Jarrah
Opus 1: “Deborah” Reworked
The re-worked version of my first piece; Opus #1. or "suprasternal notch"
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. Completed in May 2019
Opus 2: “Moai" in Rimu
Reconfigured Opus 2. - Moai
I also 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. Original completed in May 2019
Opus 3: “Suprasternal notch” #2
Bust in Kauri recycled wood. 200mmX230mm
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.
Completed in June 2019 Given to Kelly Gregor
Opus 4: Figure in Rimu
Completed in July 2019. Given to Tony Sisam
Opus 5: Figurine in NZ Kauri. Base of Rimu.
Title: A further study in the anatomy of the suprasternal notch.
Completed in July 2019.
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.
1 metre X 250mm. Completed August 2019. Given to Kelly Gregor
Opus 7: Abstract figure in Kauri, base of Rimu.
Finished in Danish oil
Dimensions: 500mm X 200mm. Competed in September 2019
Given to Reinie and Kathryn Gregor
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. Completed September 2019.
Opus 9: Geometrical figure in Rimu
Finished in Danish oil.
Dimensions: 450X130 mm completed during September 2019.
Given to Simon Harrington
Opus 10: Abstract figure in Totara.
Before and After Finishing with Drydan oil.
Dimensions: 955X125 mm Completed in October 2019
Given to Fiona and Tony Sisam
Opus 11: Figure carved in Totara.
Finished in Drydan oil.
Dimensions: 930X150 mm. Completed November 2019.
Given to Harry Stronach, Banks Peninsula.
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 Completed December 2019.
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
900mX 60mm Completed March 2020, sited at our bach, Taupo
Opus 14: Abstract figure done in NZ Kauri
Finished in tung oil blend -- Set in base of Rimu
Completed in April 2020. Gifted to Reinie and Kath for their 5th anniversary
Opus 15: “The dive” figure sculpted in Totara
Recycled from building demolitions.
Base of Rimu. Finished in a tung oil blend.
completed June 2020.
For Reinie when he finishes orthopaedics.
Opus 16: Abstract figure in NZ Kauri
Dimensions: 420X200mm. Finished in Danish oil, in a base of Rimu.
Front and back. Completed in July 2020
Opus 17: Abstract torso figure in Cryptomeria (Japanese red Cedar) or “Sugi” in Japanese.
Completed in August 2020
360X190 mm - Finished in Danish Oil
Given to Des Hoyes
Opus 18: Totara
Finished in Dryden oil.
Dimensions: 1000X110 mm. Completed in October 2020, commissioned by Fiona for Kathy Sisam
Opus 19: “Faniciulla del bosco” - wood maiden.
Figure in Cryptomeria (Japanese red cedar). Dimensions: 1360mm X400mm
Finished in Danish oil - base with Dryden oil.
Completed in November 2020
Opus 20: 3 Figures in weathered Totara
Done as a birthday gift for Marie Utley.
Tikis made in Ngarua marble. Completed in May 2021
Opus 21: “Aphrodite”.
570mm X 120mm figure in Kauri - Finished in Danish oil. Completed in May 2021
Gifted to Lynne Nichol, Marlow, England.
This view of Aphrodite in her new position in her owners home in Marlow.
Opus 22: Sculpture of the "Little Mermaid”.
After the bronze in the harbour of Copenhagen. Based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson.
Walnut 35cmX20cm -In relief form. Completed in August 2021.
Done in honour of my dad, who loved the stories and the original statue.
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.
Work in progress -- this version September 2021.
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. Completed in December 2021.
650 X 130 mm Abstract figurine in Kauri. Finished in Danish oil.
Mounted on Rimu base.
Completed March, 2022.
Opus 26: "Freedom" (In honour of Ukraine)
Figure; partly abstract, sculpted in oak on commission. Mounted in rustic base of Kahikatea. 1400 X 170 mm Finished in Danish oil completed in late March 2022
On commission for Marie Utley
A view of the sculpture in position in the owner's home
Opus 27: Female torso:
Sculpted in Kahikatea, on a base of Matai -- 400 mm X 200mm
Finished in Danish oil. -- completed in November 2022
Opus 28: sculpture of Totara post: Done on commission, base of Kahikatea (rustic)
Finished in Danish oil, completed in December, 2022
Opus 29: Sculpture of a Totara fencepost (approx. 100 years old)
The head of a Moai (Easter Island) is sculpted at the top and the rest of the post is left rustic. This was made as a wedding present.
1000mm X 150mm
Finished with Dryden oil.
Picture shows the sculpture in its new home.