Gallery of past work

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Barbara Hepworth and Ovals

The other day, finding a postcard of a wonderful, even exquisite, little sculpture by Barbara Hepworth prompted me to have a change from circles and holes and to explore ovals.

Called Oval Sculpture and made in 1943, this piece was one of many items of beauty and interest seen in the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, in Orkney, Scotland, last summer. Oval Sculpture has especially stayed with me over the months since our visit but the range and quality of all the exhibits to be found here delighted me. I could so easily have posted other gems. I'm sure I've blogged about this visit before but dredging through my posts doesn't reveal it.

Inspired, I drew round a large oval perspex shape from my store and then moved the shape part way down and drew again, repeating the process twice more. I then filled in the segments I'd delineated with graded graphite stick which I rubbed with a fine cotton cloth to even the coverage.

Next, I cut out ovals of different sizes using some (nesting) perspex shapes. I then drew into each with the oval one size smaller and filled in portions of the shapes with smoothed graphite as before. Before sticking the ovals into my sketchbook, I played with the arrangement, twisting and angling till I was happy with the result. Though flattened here in the photograph, this gave something of a 3 D effect to hint at the sculpture that had inspired me.

This is something of a diversion from current directions, but who knows what will be useful and find its way into things ... and a change is as good as as rest.


  1. Hepworth's oval forms are such a delight, are they not. I have always loved her stringed oval forms and her dynamic drawings of ovals too. Certainly a good form to work with.

    1. The oval forms are indeed wonderful. They cry out to be touched - but responding to them in this way is the closest I'll get for now. This reminds me I must visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park again to see her large Family of Man - lots of delicious holes and 'look throughs'.


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