IMAGES WITH TEXT
This page provides explanations as to why I have chosen to create some of my images or the transcripts of the text that is written on them


DAY AT THE RACES
Terracotta wall relief 100cm x 30 cm approx.

This image was made a couple of years ago in response to the death rate of horses in steeple chasing. The title 'Day at the Races' was chosen to sound like a pleasant day out, but on closer inspection the image is one of carnage. All the images of horses are taken from press photographs of race incidents I collected over a number of years. Photographs of these accidents disappear quickly, and except in newspapers published at the time are hard to find. In my time working as a vet I was always surprised by our confused attitude to animals, in one breath completely besotted by them and then in the next willing to hunt them, race them to death and to farm some of them in inexcusable conditions. In the end I found it difficult working in this atmosphere of hypocrisy.



DESPAIR
Bronze



Response to the emotion from a depressing and demanding request. My sister, terminally ill, asked me to make her last Christmas the best one ever. Creating a good family Christmas is normally exhausting and stressfull, I felt overwhelmed by the task set.
The initial image was taken from a quick life pose. It was only when I returned to the piece I recognised my own feelings were in it. I sat on the workshop floor in this 'despair' pose and felt where the stress was and my energy seemed to drain away. I then returned to my piece and fed these feelings into the image. Once I had completed this process I was able to walk away and take on Christmas, it was as if I had unloaded all this desperation into this work.
Most people recognise immediately the emotion of this image and many say they could not live with such a dark piece, but I see it differently. To me it demonstrates how low you can be, yet still pick yourself up and get on with what is required.


ADAM AND EVE
Fired clay over painted with oils



I created this piece after exhibiting at Westonbirt, The national arboretum, during an Autumn. All the leaves in the pieces are based on leaves I collected whilst there. I wondered if Adam and Eve were entirely constructed of leaves would the fig leaves no longer be a symbol of modesty?


DANS LE BOIS MOUSSERON
Bronze



Dans Le Bois Mousseron and Dancing

I spent 6 years living in a secluded house in the middle of an ancient French deer forest.
The group piece is an attempt to portray the behaviour of truly wild and hunted deer. The group clings together, the bodies forming a tight mass; anyone separated is a potential target. From the mass heads and ears are up looking for danger, legs are ready to run. The young are kept in close. As the group moved through the forest the bodies appeared as an amorphous cloud drifting through the trees with only legs and heads identifiable as separate entities.


The doe in the pair is a deer that became known as ‘The Boss’ to me. She was the chief and very much the bravest. I fed carrots to the herd in winter and after a while they appeared if I shouted the word ‘carrots’(they were slightly bilingual). She had first go at the carrots and if I laid a trail towards me and stood very still she would approach until eventually she had enough confidence , if I dropped a particularly tempting piece of carrot, to come a metre away from me. I could never have tried to reach out to touch her as somehow this would have felt like breaking a bond of trust with the wild.

My dog knew he was not allowed to chase the deer. When we walked back to the house after walking in the forest 'The Boss' would follow us. I am sure she was teasing him because she had seen him punished for chasing her and understood he could not turn around and pursue her.

The Sonnet to A Friend is written from my memories of these moments


Sonnet To a Friend

Ear antennae, Eyes Alert, muscles tight,
Guard galleon stag, prize weighted on his head.
On springboard hooves dust earth with spindle slight,
Amorphous light shot body that you led.

Day by day, by week. By pace. By month, by
Yard by year, we closed the gap. Both froze heart,
And held each other’s breath. Eye fixed to eye,
With each in fear to move. Three steps apart.

I strove to carve you from this clay. Pull rich
Memories from clumsy hands. Slice legs fine,
Slippered in the hooves. Form ears’ velvet twitch.
Then, disbelieving, whittle down limb’s line

But my dull hand and wit will always lack
The skill, to bring you, breath from touching, back.


CEWatts