Recently I embarked on my first sculpting trip to Africa. My insistence on sculpting from life meant that I had to work out a way of taking armatures of various animals out there and back safely. I bought a heavy duty box which I would take everywhere with me - it contained all the plasticine, tools and armatures I'd require over the precious time I'd have in front of the animals. It was important that before setting off I made my armatures beforehand to avoid wasting time on them when I was out there.
It was important to make the most of each day out there, and spend as much time observing the animals as possible. I also took hundreds of photographs and videos on my camera in order to have as many references as possible when back in the studio.
After setting off at around 6am we would travel in our truck out into the bush and see what we could find. There was an extraordinary array of wildlife out there, including many endangered species such as wild dog, reticulated giraffe and Grevy's zebra.
On only the second day my guide, John, received a call that Wild Dog had been spotted a couple of miles away. This was incredibly exciting for everyone - Wild Dog had not been spotted at Sosian for two years, since a great drought lead to many of them dying out. I knew before this trip that the likelihood of seeing these amazing animals was slim so it was a minor miracle to eventually spot a pack of 4 trotting through the bush. I soon realised that Wild Dog were unlike every other animal I had seen. They didn't react in any way to the trucks and humans, sometimes running underneath the cars to carry on their journey. Every other animal in one way or another reacted to us being nearby, Wild Dog did not batter an eyelid. I made it my goal to depict this pack trotting through the bush, surveying the area to see whether it would make a good home.
After locating a pack of lion we pulled up the truck and I had the perfect opportunity for a few hours to sculpt a lioness who was resting under a tree. The sculpting work in these situations is far more manic than it is in the studio. You have to observe as much as possible, taking in and processing as much information about proportion and character as you can muster.
After arriving in Heathrow I anxiously waited by the luggage carousel fir my bio ti arrive and it never did! After a frantic few moments asking around it transpired it missed the connection at Zurich but was safely delivered to home later that day - a relief!
After finishing the Plasticine sculptures back in the studio my works from Kenya are now available in bronze limited editions