Summer School - A Conversation with David Walton RBSA

13 July 2013

David Walton RBSA is running a Forming the Figure workshop on Saturday 27 July. Here, he talks to one our Volunteer Gallery Assistants, Becky Sexton, about his plans for the day.


What or who influences your workshop techniques?

For the students on this course there are three people we shall consider: Giacometti for the appreciation of the essentials of the action pose, Elizabeth Frink for an understanding of how light affects the surface, and Nicola Hicks for the potential of plaster mixed with other materials.

What are the benefits of constructing a wire frame sculpture?

This process forces the student to focus on the structure of the body in what may appear obvious ways, for example, that two forearms are the same length, that elbows bend the right way, that limbs are straight not bowed, that the figure’s centre of gravity is correct. Students have to think about what lies inside the form and solve problem areas like shoulders and hips. To think below the surface. And the main lesson is one of good preparation on which to build.

The workshop will show the importance of construction. Where did you learn these skills?

A long time ago at college during my intermediate, but I learnt the value of this activity as an art teacher in secondary schools, where I made sure children experienced a broad range of art activities apart from drawing and painting, such as printmaking, ceramics and sculpture in its various forms. I knew how much satisfaction students gain from manipulating the wire framework and the enjoyment of the physical working with many materials like plaster.

What projects are you currently working on?

I was recently inspired by a Maggie Kitching lino print of a cat which I purchased. The image was enhanced by an amount of embossing caused by Maggie’s use of an etching pen. I decided to use my etching pen to make some lino cuts. Etching is complex and if things can go wrong, they will, at every stage. Although lino cut printing is relatively simpler, the process is not as easy as one might imagine as I discovered when making a portrait of a friend for his birthday.