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A selection of Student artworks 1986 – 1989

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I have decided to show these student artworks in my contemporary website, mainly for historical interest, but also as a way to keep the images together in an accessible portfolio. Way back in the late 1980’s there was not even the imaginings of the digital world: cellphones, personal computers or cameras – hard to believe today. So all I have are old badly taken photos, mouldy film and a few portfolios with printed images, painfully stuck to paper in an endless attempt to make professional presentations to show prospective clients and galleries. My websites have made this process so much easier.

I find it interesting that, these many years later, endless hours working at being an artist, my subject matter and manner of working has not essentially changed. There are two main differences from then to now. The 1st being that I have developed my skills at rendering what I want, in whatever medium attracts me most – currently bronze. The other is that I better understand what my artwork is about, and what I am hoping to achieve by it. Back then I just had a ‘feeling’ that these images needed to be created, felt deep frustrations in not understanding why (important as a student to articulate ones concepts and ideas for marks) and not being able to render them how I envisioned I should. Budget was limited, as well as access to certain materials like silicon rubber. So, I experimented with different mediums and explored what interested me at the time. I was prolific and determined, unskilled, frustrated and very lost. I knew I had something to ‘say’ but no idea what it was.

Today I can see my early journey clearly. The study of the figure in my 1st nude half life-sized figure ‘Errol’ and my 1st life-sized figure ‘In search of a beacon’. Today I create People in action and a variety of Monumental figures of different sizes, cast into bronze. My 1st ‘Portrait Bust – Self’, is the precursor to the many Portrait busts I have created in recent years for a variety of clients. I see my recent exhibition ‘Journey’ reflected in my early sculptures, ‘Figure and Organic Shape’ and ‘Earth Sculptures’ . My attempt to unify visually and emotionally the human figure with natural elements. Today I imprint the forest floor and other surfaces with silicon and cast the wax panels into bronze shapes. Back then I played with organic forms inspired by clouds or anthills, and worked these ideas into larger works, where there was an element of chance and nature inspiration.

I have always been interested in the relief, and an example can be seen on the base of Woman on a pedestal. I saw many examples in my post student travels, as decoration on old buildings or as fragments in museums.  These tell stories and show a dynamic energy often not found in full-sized sculptures.  Again this is reflected in some of my later relief panels. The chance happenings from nature imprints, cracks or accidents in the waxes, and short pours in the casting process.

In summary I see the embryos of ideas in these works. If I am lucky enough to keep working on my own works I am sure there will be a continued maturing and understanding of myself and my place on this planet. I am also relieved that all those years of confusion and experimentation has actually lead me to a place I feel more comfortable in. This could be age, and maturity.  I believe it is because I have always felt that there has been something I have wanted to say but just did not have the ability or clarity to express it in my youth. I am grateful that this journey has provided me with a purpose to my life, and not just about making a living to survive. I have had to strive to understand and I do this through my artwork.

I also have my commercial artwork website showing small edition bronzes and commissioned works of animals, birds, figures, children and portrait busts. Sarah Richards Bronze sculpture