Our Spiritual Plight
This piece depicts a woman reaching up for spiritual enlightenment, while holding herself back at the same time. It was carved from a section of Spotted Gum, which is often used for making axe handles.
Rather than being detrimental to the figure, the rough nature of this tough Australian timber has provided an uncanny sense of human likeness, right down to the hairline shadows, and knots to form elbows and knees. The following two photographs show the work well underway. Nothing has been added to this carving; what you see is naturally existing in the original tree section.
And here is the artist with the original Spotted Gum section. This part of the tree had fallen from the main trunk, split by lightning, and lay on the ground. Initially, Robert was going to use a smaller section for a different carving until, as he says, "Something stopped me, pulled me back, and that's when I saw the [finished] figure." The chains were used to harness the tree to a 4WD, and was then hurriedly dragged down the highway to the artist's carport where it could be carved. Circa 1984.
The sculpture remains in the artist's possession - his first - and is for sale at an off-putting, ridiculously expensive price!
The Lost Boy
The following photograph shows the Radiata Pine section from which the saddened figure of the lost boy is emerging.
Linseed Oil and Turpentine was used to ensure the wood wouldn't crack during carving (though another choice is Tung Oil) and a special anti-blue stain mix is applied to restrict the pine's natural tendency to stain.
And here is the final piece, as another interpretation of an historical Australian art theme.