Well – I’m back at the bench once again and sculpting , I’m feeling fitter and I have shaken off the majority of the chronic fatigue that has kept me a way for so long – its great to be back!

During this period of recovery I’ve reaccessed the direction of where I want to go with my sculpting and decided to clear the decks of all the old projects and for the time being halt the casting of my work, (its only a break in production, by the end of the year I plan to pick it up again) but I need some time to simply  create, enjoy and appreciate my craft without the pressure to produce.

So after that personal note the subject of the latest sculpt is Sherlock Holmes. Now – I know the subject of Sherlock is a hoary old chestnut but I’ve been a fan of Conan Doyle’s creation for as long as I can remember and as this project is just about enjoying the act of pushing clay around – I’m using it as an incentive to push me forward!

Jeremy_BrettSherlock Holmes is a world-wide phenomena, the thirst for this strange analytical creature has not diminished since its creation in 1887. It has been the subject of books, plays, films and TV series for over a 128 years and many believe that it inspired the creation of modern day forensic investigation (not a hard thing to believe as its author was a was a scientist and a trained physician), Holmes is and will be for many more years to come a fascination to all who discover him.

On the topic of adaptations of Doyle’s work the one that stands out to me is Jeremy Brett’s classic performance of Holmes in Granada Televisions series; considered by many as the definitive Holmes, it in ran on UK TV from 1984 to 1994, to is credit it is the most faithful screen adaptation of  the Holmes cannon and such was the commitment of it lead actor in recreating the persona of Holmes that it pushed his already fragile health to the edge of collapse and drove him to the point of madness. Brett lived and breathed the character until in became so real  it almost took him over.

Brett is quoted as saying…

Some actors fear if they play Sherlock Holmes for a very long run the character will steal their soul, leave no corner for the original inhabitant, Holmes has become the dark side of the moon for me. He is moody and solitary and underneath I am really sociable and gregarious. It has all got too dangerous.

In 2014 Brett was voted the Greatest Sherlock Holmes beating other actors such as Basil Rathbone, Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch and Rupert Everett.

morphAs a reference for this sculpt I’m using a screen shot from the TV series first showing the “Sign of Four”,  it depicts Holmes sitting reading a book in the living room at 221b Baker Street, the image is only of the upper part of the figure but by chance I discovered that another artist had already used this photograph as reference and I morphed the lower part of his image to the screen shot using Photoshop. So to not infringe on this artists work I have used a image a couple of frames on in the program which depicts the  arm that holds the pipe lower, this will make it easier to cast as the arm is within the silhouette of the sculpt (Note: this casting will not be available until later this year!).

HolmesBrettThe sculpt is still in the roughing out stage, so a long way to go yet, but for the first time in ages I’m eager to get back to it every day! This sculpt is thinnest relief that I have made so far, this is purposely as I wish to paint this after its completion and intend to get it as near to a flat figure as I can, the sculpt will not be as defined as previous sculpts so that I can add painted effects where needed to create the detail.

As to the painting? I have not painted a figure since the 80’s – so to get back into swing of it I have purchased a couple of  Zinnfiguren from Glorious Empires to practice on (I highly recommend Glorious Empires and the excellent service that Jacques Vullinghs provides) .

Glorious Empires

So- here we go again – this time not feeling like a train wreck and able to focus!

Until the next time…

…wishing you all good health and happiness.




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  1. Rich, I am excited to see you at work again. And I am doubly looking forward to seeing you painting. I don’t believe I’ve seen anything you have painted.

  2. Rich Odell

    Hi Steve, I have only painted one flat figure in the past (I learnt my painting skills on ‘full rounds’ in the Military Modeling days) so this practice run will be an interesting exercise. Thanks to your website I can pull on a lot of resources to guide me. I still have that painted flat from the 80’s, its little battered and worn but I will post an image of it on the site soon.

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