First time ever I'm painting a bust, and it was a joy to paint one made by one of my favorite sculptors out there, Romain Van Den Bogaert. He undoubtedly has his own style, and I am always blown away by the expressiveness and details of his characters. They are other worldly and realistic at the same time.

This piece has a personal meaning for me. My family tree is full of people that has lived their lives, or part of them, on the seven seas. From small wooden fishing boats in the Baltic Sea to the great Transatlantic cruise ships of old. Three masted sailboats, steamboats and modern cruise ships alike, for generations my people have worked at sea, and I am here thanks to their strife.

Also, the man that first exposed me to miniatures was a old sailor not very different from the one I have painted here. His name was Alf and he lived on an island we used to go to during the summers when I was a child. I remember when he showed me into his small workshop where he built the most amazing models of ships, some that he had sailed on himself in the past. His hands were big and coarse from a life at sea, but still he managed to make the most delicate of details, perfectly lifelike but in miniature form. I can still remember how enchanted I was by that place, his old worn wooden workbench with all the small drawers containing ropes, lifeboats, steering wheels and other bits and bobs.
  • vincenzo gambinoPLUS

    lovely .... gold :)

  • Roman LappatPLUS

    Love the skin and the textures. An awesome first bust. Not a gold from my side as I barely give golds, but a solid silver in my eyes. The little details like the tattoos make it really stand out. I am just not sure about the birds angle in the first picture and gravity. It does not make 100% sense for me. Could also be the sculpt, but I would have changed the sitting position of the bird or the busts angle. Right now it feels like should fall as he is not holding thight with claws to the fisherman. Confusing.

    • Joel Arklind Kelmeling

      Thank you very much for your feedback and kind words Roman. :D
      About the bird (a Cormorant to be precise), you are absolutely correct, it does look very weird and unnatural the way it stands. The feet were sculpted in place on his shoulders, and one of the bird-legs came damaged and I just couldn’t get it to connect in a good way on the feet. I am not used to working with resin and the bird-legs were so thin and fragile it was difficult to pin it in place. And I had to sculpt one of the legs to repair the damage done, but in the process I think I made it a bit too long. When all finished, I saw that it was a weird angle, but I didn’t want to go back in and re-do it haha. Also, I think the angle the plinth-pin goes into the bust just emphasises this more, as Romains original bust is more leaned forward while mine is more leaned backwards.

      So that’s the little story behind the gravity-defying bird. xD

  • Eamon Connerty

    Nice work!