Art Trophy

how to become an artist

Reminiscing over my Artistic past. Winning 1st Prize for art at the St John’s Youth Club in Belfast at the age of ten. Never been prouder and still have the trophy taking pride of place on my mantelpiece! It is a bit battered, a bit like myself! But it gave me the incentive to carry on.

O. k. some may say it was a fix as my parents and close family where Youth Leaders there! I would just like to clarify on this point that no bribery was involved. No washing dishes for Mum or washing Dads car. ( Actually he didn’t have one !) So you can see it was just natural talent!

Art Trophy

John Davey. St Johns Youth Club. First
Art Winner 1971

Today I must admit that every time I finish a sculpture, I feel I,ve won a prize. The chance to have the tools,materials and time to create. Also to be lucky enough to meet people who take enjoyment from my work and those that adopt them having them in their homes.

I still cherish my old trophy and at the time it was like winning Gold at the Olympics. I wonder how many of us have a prize from our childhood that really touched us? A medal for running, a Cup for Football, something really special that gave us recognition and the passion to continue.

Here’s to all the people who take the time to pass on their passion to future generations, Coaches, Youth Club Workers, Teachers, Parents, Friends. Bravo.


Two Sculptures Finished. Another Started.

After the mayhem of disorder these two sculptures pulled themselves together!

Following my series of Sail sculptures, this one is more angled, leaning back. Much more like a Windsurfing sail. Changing its dynamic. Remember sailing in Portland Harbour in a Force 7-8, leaning back into the wind, trying to read the surface of the water for the next gust. Frequently misjudging and being catapulted head over head unable to release the harness in time!

” Sail VII ” Portland and Savernake Stone.

This Sculpture ” Tale ” in Carrara Marble and Black Granite took a bit of carving. Learning how to cut and polish harder stones. Working through several grades of abrasives to get the final polish. Really pleased with the result. The form goes back to playing with circular curves, bisecting each other. I think its a bit like the shapes of Butterfly Wings but you may see other things?

” Tale ” Carrara Marble & Black Granite


Carving Stone Sculptures

Working on a few sculptures at the moment. Quite like the mayhem playing through various ideas, materials and forms. Watching them pull together. Just having the materials around me gives me inspiration for other projects. Dust everywhere! Carving Stone Sculptures.

Here’s a few pics of works in progress and the disorder that will hopefully result in some interesting pieces.


Some Abstract Paintings For a Change

These series of abstract paintings, explore a constantly recurring theme which I find fascinating. Playings with mathematical systems, geometric patterns, order and disorder; all the time setting boundaries and limitations within which these concepts function.

The initial idea often stems from observation of forms, patterns and structures in the natural and man-made world, reflecting the diversity with which we are surrounded.

Materials chosen have their own identity and will dictate the progression and outcome of the piece. What properties do they possess? Do the break, split, bent? Can they be cut and shaped, added to or taken away from?

By combining traits and characteristics within the material I construct reliefs using these ’chance’ findings, at the same time applying the rules of symmetry asymmetry, repetition, sequence, combining these with the key elements of art, colour, pattern, composition, space, form and texture.


Shaftsbury Group Exhibition

Only two days to go till the end of the Quartet Exhibition at the Shaftsbury Arts Centre! Showing the artwork of local talented Dorset Artists, Zara Mc Queen, David Marl, Kim Pragnell, John Davey. Come along before its to late! P.S. David Marl will be following this show with a solo exhibition of his beautiful paintings. Also worth a visit.

Sail Sculpture in Stone

Sail V


As a young Artist, I found myself with many limitations. Money based mainly, small workshops or none at all, no car, having to ask favours from friends to move materials.

All I wanted was a large piece of stone to carve. But with no means of transport or money to buy it, I found myself becoming the typical frustrated artist. With a big chip on my shoulder!

The following Sculpture was carved during my placement in the Common Ground DARSET Project. Working with rural primary schools carving sculptures inspired by the local landscapes. Half of the time carving my own artwork

. A lot of the schools were situated in river valleys and the flow of water has always fascinated me. Also working as a stone mason I carved many archways, this vertical sculpture has these elements placed in an alternative sequence, giving it this flowing motion.

Stone Totem Sculpture

“Flow” Portland Stone. 1988. Common Ground D.A.R.S.E.T. Project.

I began to find smaller stones and decided to compose them together to make larger pieces. When I look back at these previous sculptures I realise that the very thing I hated, these so-called limitations, pushed me in a very creative direction that still influences my artwork. Being able to buy and transport my sculptures without heavy lifting apparatus.

My love of Inca Art and Architecture has definitely been a subconscious influence in my sculpture, how massive stones have been carved to fit together with hardly any joints.

Inca Wall

Inca Wall

I now see the infinite possibilities within these constraints. Its enabled me to appreciate the creative process and to no longer feel hard done by!

“The Enemy of Art is the Abscence of Limitations” Orson Welles.

Hope you enjoy these images and see the potential that I once ignored.

Stone Sculpture Techniques

Looking back at some of the stonework I have carved over the years, makes me realise how achieving the mastery of stone carving techniques can liberate but at the same time restrain artistic expression. What mark of a tool is better than another? I was taught to keep sharp edges, straight lines, flat surfaces. Working with templates, straight edges, exact measurements.

Stone Doorway

Stone Doorway in St Maximin. France.Carved most of the stonework. Serge carved the fruit.

I,ve always loved watching a craftsman carve with the minimum of effort, using the correct tool for the appropriate job. The marks left on the material have a beautiful aspect reflecting the rhythm and elegance of movement. I also loved the tool marks of the children that I taught, no preconception or worries. The broken edges, chipped corners, expressed their vitality and energy to create. Each style as valid as the other. The final sculptures telling a real journey of discovery.

Child sculpting

Common Ground Project. DARSET. One of my talented students.

So to keep the freshness of my sculptures I have to unlearn a lot of years of making perfect carvings for certain projects. At least I have the choice, but I would really like to be a bit looser. Leaving certain tool marks, letting the stone talk. It’s easier said than done as its always tempting to overwork a sculpture beyond the rough form. Sometimes it loses its vibrancy.

.I think it was Picasso who said it took him a lifetime to learn to see the world through the eyes of a child.

I think its necessary at times to unlearn to regain that freshness. Seeing the forms and textures anew and having the confidence to stop and move on to the next piece. Lets see if  I achieve this in my next sculptures!  ( Maybe blindfolded?) Any thoughts?


Sail Sculptures

A few of the latest Sculptures inspired by my sailing days teaching windsurfing at Sandesfoot beach in Weymouth. A little bit of freestyle and when the wind really blew, racing across Portland Harbour, negotiating the gusts, salt encrusted, wind in my hair. ( Which I had then! ) Really enjoy carving these. The fragility of the stone, the mixture of curves.

So if your free, come and see them at Art@Eype 14-16th July. Lots of other beautiful art by local Artists.

Art@Eype Exhibition 14-16th July

Just a little taster of sculptures I will be showing at Art@Eype. Usual hectic time, collecting sculptures from the previous exhibition. Finishing of new ones. Might start to make sculptures in Balsa wood! Not really, but making stone sculptures is keeping me fit ( to drop!) Think I deserve some liquid refreshment. Enjoy this little selection.

So hoping to see you there, lots of other styles of art from other local talented Artists. Stunning venue and landscapes.

Poster for Exhibition

Poster for Exhibition Art@Eype

Out of Chaos Comes Order!

Well busy preparing new sculptures for the next exhibition, Art@Eype 14-16 July. Will be showing with a lot of local talented Artists in a beautiful venue.

So as usual working on several sculptures at the same time. I find that each sculpture influences the others. Sometimes I feel like knocking of big lumps other times refining small details. It all depends how I,m tuned in at the time.

Its often that starting from a simple idea, sketch, through the making process other variations appear. A dialogue opens between the maker and the material.

I really love the apparent chaos in the workshop and how gradually the sculptures become more refined, until they finally hold their place as a finished piece.

So of to the workshop to do some more carving. A bit cooler today in Dorset. Yesterday it was fairly hot but nothing like the 45 degrees I experienced when I was working in the French Quarry in the Midi. Phew!