Fine art tips on How to Sculpt in Marble and Wood with Adriaan Vanderlugt on Colour In Your Life

Fine art tips on How to Sculpt in Marble and Wood with Adriaan Vanderlugt on Colour In Your Life

G’day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson and I’d like to invite you to come on
a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the
series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every
family throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an artist
deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties,
uncles and mums and dads, and come and see how some of
the best artists in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) (GRAEME) Well g’day viewers and
welcome back to Colour In Your Life. We’re up at Proserpine at the moment in
far north Queensland. A nice muggy day. And we are with a sculpture
extraordinaire: Mr Adrian Van Der Lugt. – A pleasure bud.
– (ADRIAAN) Pleased to meet you Graeme. (ADRIAAN) Thank you very
much for being on this show. As you can see, Adriaan is a sculptor
and a magnificent sculptor as well. You’ve got an amazing history.
What we’re going to be doing today is we’re going to be working in
timber and this is one of the examples of working on which is one of
his rocking horse kangaroos, – and also…
– (ADRIAAN) Horse? – (GRAEME) It’s a rocking horse?
– (ADRIAAN) No. (GRAEME) It’s a rocking horse kangaroo. (ADRIAAN) It’s a kangaroo. – (GRAEME) It’s a rocking kangaroo.
– (ADRIAAN) Yeah that’s more like it. (GRAEME) But we’re going to be working on one
of these and then some of his stone work as well. But before we get into that, you’re got a very, very
interesting background as well. You’re from Holland,
ex-Canada, then to Australia. Obviously you met your
beautiful wife Denise, a very, very talented lady as well, but one of your main influences
is from the Inuit people in Canada which is when you where there. Can
you tell me a little about that? (ADRIAAN) The Inuit are the people
or they used to be called Eskimos, they’re from the Arctic side of Canada. What inspired me about them is
their being in touch with nature, their whole animal ethic that
inspired me when I moved to Canada as a 7 year old I loved the about
the Indians, I loved that about the Eskimo people, that
we discovered later on and yeah there is something
there. I’d been to Europe, saw the big monuments and
ah, that wasn’t for me, so it was all this environment with animals
and life it really did the inspiration. (GRAEME) That’s magnificent and your
works been seen all over the world. We’ve got a couple of shots
that we’ll screen in about just down at the local council chambers,
were you’ve been commissioned by a number of various government organisations
to actually sculpt some of these pieces. And they really are beautiful,
but nature really plays a huge part in your work doesn’t it? (ADRIAAN) It’s the only odd
commission that comes with the person, that’s the commission because
I’ve been asked to do it. When I’m motivated for my
self it’s all the animal world, the birds, animal, reef. And my first exhibition in Sydney with Denise and me, we took
the Barrier Reef to Sydney – to a major gallery down there.
– (GRAEME) And that was the Barry Stern Gallery in the 80’s wasn’t it? (ADRIAAN) Yeah it was
the mid 80’s it was great. It was just yeah, our
introduction to the art world and that set us up. It was really
lovely to go from here to there. (GRAEME) But today as we said, we
are going to put a rocking kangaroo – (ADRIAAN) That’s it.
– (GRAEME) … together (ADRIAAN) I’ve called it a Rock-a-Roo. (GRAEME) And then see
how this piece proceeds and then we’re going to do some work
on the stone as well. But let’s, uh… – (ADRIAAN) Shove it all the way in.
– (GRAEME) Let’s start on the blank that Adriaan already has going, and then I’ll ask you some more
questions as we go through anyway. (ADRIAAN) So these guys have gone
all around the world over the years. This is number 153, and I’m working on number 154 right now. – So what I’ll do I’ll set that up.
– (GRAEME) Okay. (ADRIAAN) And get some chisels
out and the grinding tools. A boat builder here, a local boat builder
said to me – this is 30 years ago – that was thirty years ago, he said you’re going to run into
trouble with just chisels, he said use the grinder, that’s
what we use in the boating world. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (ADRIAAN) And then there’s no worry about where the grain goes and that was one
of the biggest revelations to me: that tool. – (GRAEME) Sensational.
– (ADRIAAN) So sculpt all that in, it’s mostly self exploration. Talking to other workers you learn a bit more, you share a bit and
all of that, so that’s how I’ve progressed. (GRAEME) There’ll be lots of noise,
but let’s go and have a look anyway. (ADRIAAN) Okay. (GRAEME) Alright well as you can
see, Adriaan’s actually set up this, it’s not really a template
is it? What do you call this? (ADRIAAN) Oh I’ve got templates
in the cupboard, but yeah I’ve made that up, cut it up on the
handsaw and ready to just carve now. I don’t need, it’s in my head. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (ADRIAAN) I know where it’s going. (GRAEME) What I’m going to do,
because it’s going to get pretty dusty, and dirty and noisy, is I’m going to step out of the shot – and I’ll ask you some questions from the side.
– (ADRIAAN) Okay. (GRAEME) And why don’t you talk to the
audience about what you’re doing as well. – Take it away.
– (ADRIAAN) I’m going to grab some chisels and see my tool cupboard, rather simple. Organised but I know where every tool
is. When I need it I know where it is. So… – (GRAEME) It’s not in there?
– (ADRIAAN) No it’s not in there today. A little antichiness lives in there. So there’s my tool, so some of these tools are hand me downs from a friend who said
my mother’s not using them anymore. (GRAEME) Yep. Oh yeah. – (ADRIAAN) So yes, you make a go of that.
– (GRAEME) Beautiful. (ADRIAAN) So there’s my
collection of chisels. And I’ll just slip that over here. Okay I’ll just grab this
mallet from over there, I made this a few years ago on the bench
so I’ll just grind it down to around. It’s made out of blue gum;
it’s nice and solid and heavy. It’s heavy work but so is this. I’m actually going to, I’m chopping now to the hand. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) Where I want it to be. (GRAEME) There’s chips flying everywhere. So you obviously keep
those very, very sharp. – (ADRIAAN) You can’t blame your tools eh.
– (GRAEME) No. (ADRIAAN) Just to show you the the process,
this is what I do for the whole shaping the tail, it just you know,
that’s what you’ve got to do. Okay the next bit I’ll grab a grinder… The grinder that I just used
is about 3 grades of grinding. If I’m taking of really rough stuff, I’ll use a really course one. That was a
pretty fine one that’s why it was a bit slow. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) I brought a side drill 30 years ago, a Makita one that I
went to get it repaired the other day and they couldn’t fix it.
Where did this come from? – (GRAEME) It was 30 years ago. Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) It was an antique. So I bought a new one this side drill okay. And what’s wonderful about this
one is it has varying speeds. The disk is a piece of rubber which is soft so that my disk
will go around the corners. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (ADRIAAN) That’s been my invention to make this all work. Without this, I wouldn’t be doing this. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (ADRIAAN) Okay, I use this in hand sanding with
the sandpaper, the fine sandpaper. Sometimes I use a block, but mostly
I’ll use my fingers and my hands. So a lot of shoulder work in that. But I’ll just show you how this works. (GRAEME) Okay. (ADRIAAN) And it’s not as bad
a tool as the other one was… And again with this, at this stage
I should be using medium sandpaper, but this what was what was on
the disk from the other day, so I should put on a piece
of medium which I cut myself I cut some squares, punch a hole in it and put it on there and cut
then it out with the scissors. When I teach sculpture, there’s a great demand for working with hands again, I think people are just
to thumb crazy these days and point with their fingers and computer and expect everything to happen
with the push of a button. And this doesn’t happen that way. The other thing that I thought about is the original of this should be a drawing that should come out of your head
somehow. How do you get to this stage and you need from
drawing skills to do that. And I think you’re an
artist, I’m an artist. And I draw very well and that’s
what I teach my little kids. When I teach 9 or 12 year olds I teach them to draw what they see. Look, before the computer it
has to come out of the head and into the computer.
You’re in control that way, but when you just pick up the program, somebody else is doing it for you. I think you got to have your
own control of what you’re doing. (GRAEME) That’s a big mainstay
of what you and Denise do. You have kids around and
you literally show them some of the traditional ways
of how this is all put together. (ADRIAAN) Yes I teach the
sculpture with the kids too. Not just drawing abilities. But I just find it terrific when
the kids come back to me later, 4 years later yep I can
draw anything I want. – They’re just full of confidence.
– (GRAEME) That’s great. (ADRIAAN) And one of the kids at university
level now, came home and said to Dad: you know Dad, they were teaching me stuff
that I learnt from Adriaan 10 years ago. And I think that’s the real waste of the
University, they haven’t got it right, because I think everyone,
every kid should be able to draw by the time they’re 12 years old. If you can write your name you can draw. ‘Cause it’s just a matter of process,
learning how to think about observation, all about that. I think
that’s were you’ve got to be. When I was in Canada just
recently there was a conference actually on getting the
image into the computer, from the head to the computer. There was a conference about
that. I said yes, so good. (GRAEME) Well as you can see, as part of
putting this beautiful sculpture together, you’ve got leather ears as well. (ADRIAAN) They are leather. And it’s just sitting on a stick which is that
long and it goes into the head by that much. And I have to round that bit
that’s showing so that it doesn’t cut the leather, and I just simply
use a little knife like that, and then round that off that’s
just to show you how that works. I trim this a little bit, just put a grove in there, just so
the glue has some where to come out. – (GRAEME) Oh right.
– (ADRIAAN) And tight so this, this is an ear that I’ve,
from another kangaroo that’s too soft, and I’ve
gone to a thicker leather now and so I’m actually, the
punch, here’s the punch, and so there’s 5 and there’s
5 holes. It’s easy to do, – you put one on each end.
– (GRAEME) Yep. (ADRIAAN) So then I have to
put this leather fold in there. And I still go through all 5 holes pull it through leaving a
bit so that’ll go each side. So then I come up and over the top. (GRAEME) And just turn
it around the other way. (ADRIAAN) So that’ll come around. Now I have to start
pushing it around like that. (GRAEME) And then roll it over the top. (ADRIAAN) Yeah roll it
over the top like that so you can see what’s going to happen. And that’ll just roll it round
like that and in to there. So you can see that you’re
going to get leather lacing. – (GRAEME) All the way through there.
– (ADRIAAN) Into the holes much like. To come up to this. So I glue that in, I
glue the lace in as well. So that’s, that’s the making of the ear. (GRAEME) That’s fabulous. Well as you can see we’ve gone back to the
first piece that we had when we started. And the thing I love about
your work, and I think you enjoy is that it’s so tactile. You
love people touching what you do. That’s beautiful. But in saying that, this is obviously one of the pieces
you do for the pleasure for the people, but you’ve got these magnificent
whale pieces that you do. One of them we’ve got up on the screen
at the moment is absolutely enormous. So you can see the extent of were
your career and your sculptural efforts go to in putting these
together. That’s a massive piece. I mean that’s got to weigh
at least half a tonne. – (ADRIAAN) It did until I hollowed it out.
– (GRAEME) Sure. (ADRIAAN) What I’ve learn’t, I
did a big dolphin 3 meters long and I had to hollow it out the
dolphin. And from that I learn’t that we should hollow out this whale. So laying it on its side I was
the chainsaw it was pretty tricky. Made a special long chisel to hollow
it, welded it together to hollow it out. But now 3 people can lift that whale. So it’s not the big tonnage
that you’re talking about, but it’s very tactile. People
want to climb sculptures – I wish they wouldn’t do that, that just…
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (ADRIAAN) It doesn’t happen in Europe. But somehow Australian kids,
maybe it’s the new generation? I wish they wouldn’t
climb all over sculptures. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (ADRIAAN) Touch them yes, like you’re doing now, I mean that’s great. (GRAEME) But you’re very
versatile in what you do. It’s not just the wood,
it’s also the metal, it’s also rock as well. And you’ve got a piece that you’re
going to work with us on today as well. It’s of a scrub fowl
that you’re working on, – and that’s on feldspar.
– (ADRIAAN) I picked the rock for the colour that it is. Yeah it happens to be softer than
the marble than I would’ve, yeah. So yes I’ve worked on to metal. I did back way back in the early
80’s I made a bird with legs and with a stainless steel beak and stainless steel legs. But my artists friends said ah
that’ll never work, but it did work. But it did work and it
encouraged me to keep going and I’ve made a number of
bird sculptures with legs. When you’re in Canada all of the
birds have big thick fur coats on. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) And they have big legs and they got everything the bulk is great for
when you start carving, when you start carving with
stone you’ve got to keep it bulky. Then the bulkiness when
I came to Queensland, the birds here, they’re wearing bikinis. – (GRAEME) Yeah cause it’s hot.
– (ADRIAAN) So what do I do, you know, I can’t just make them thick and bulky, – so I got the idea of using the legs.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (ADRIAAN) I can’t do it with
stones so I started thinking of robs and there’s a foundry
just 2 hours north of here that I was using, and I’ve
got samples of legs over there, they’re all of the wooden ones I’ve made, that then became bronze. And so I hang the bird and I fit the
wooden legs until everything is balanced. I’ve got a base happening,
they get bolted into the base and so the whole thing
has to be engineered. I’m not an engineer but I
intuitively know how to do that. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) Yeah so it’s interesting engineering the rocking kangaroo
had a knee doctor, a foot doctor whatever he’s called and said: how did you know when that rock was right? Because I do feet for people
to rock with and he says: I went to school to learn all
of that. I said: I just did it. So you know that intuitiveness I guess
I don’t know where that comes from. (GRAEME) And you’ve got
another major piece as well, it’s the pelicans in marble. Which was a lifetimes work wasn’t it? It was a 6 tonne block
of marble that you had, and then from there you had various
techniques that you had to use to try and cut it down and carve it. (ADRIAAN) The block came from
Chilligo originally. I got it was 1998 and it took me until
2008 to finish carving it. Mostly because I didn’t know
what I was doing at first. And I started with a
chisel and I got too sore and it wasn’t until Sylvia Aponia
from Adelaide came into my life and we did a sculpture
symposium, did the rock wallaby. And he clued me in on new
tools to be using, so I was thrilled thanks to him,
I’ve moved on a great deal. – I know what I was doing then.
– (GRAEME) Well after talking about rock and marble, and feldspar, let’s go and do some
carving on that feldspar over there. – (ADRIAAN) If you’re ready for a bit of dust.
– (GRAEME) Sounds good to me. Let’s go and have a look. – (ADRIAAN) Okay.
– (GRAEME) Okay. Okay well this next session’s going
to get a little dusty you tell me. Feldspar and then to the
hardest rock which is basalt. – (ADRIAAN) Yes.
– (GRAEME) And in between there are obviously other hardness of rocks
that you guys work on. What’s the one you guys
prefer to use most of all? (ADRIAAN) I like, I like marble. Mostly the marbles come from Chilligo
and there’s various grades of marble and various colours,
lots of colours up there. I was probably one of the first
3 guys carving from Chilligo and he really had his so it was pretty exciting
I think everyone in Australia’s using it now. But you talk about the
hardness of the stuff. We talked about the Inuit
influence in my early carving, well I was carving soap stone
which is what they were carving up there from the north. And I got a piece in the
art gallery, at the art shop and I used a knife and I
did most of it was scraping, so everyone starts off with soap stone. But it comes in various grades as well. So after that you can move
onto the electric tools which I didn’t have in those days. Think of what Michaelangelo could
have done if he had electricity. – So this is a…
– (GRAEME) This is what he did do. That he didn’t demonstrate. (ADRIAAN) So this is a
grinder, it’s an angle grinder and it’s a 5 inch wheel or a 125. That’s a diamond and the diamond
is on the outside as you can see. – It’s not on the inside.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (ADRIAAN) But diamond wheels
are not just diamond wheels. They um, this is meant for stone cutting. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) Some of them you can buy really cheap ones, and they won’t do the job
for you so it will work, but different styles will
require different expertise, and I’ve found this diamond wheel
to be working for me very well. So I’ll just cut some
slices, knock them off – to show you how it works.
– (GRAEME) And you just sort of break it down and then start to smooth it
back with other mediums as well? – (ADRIAAN) I will yep, yep, yep.
– (GRAEME) Okay. Alright well lets let
you have a go at that. – (ADRIAAN) Okay.
– I’ll step aside, there’s going to be a bit of dust. – (ADRIAAN) I’ll put some gear on.
– (GRAEME) And some noise. You’re like an alien. (ADRIAAN) So, so there’s my bird
that I want to do. Like that okay. So there’s my head happening up there. So where do I go? And the interesting thing is
that I’ll look at it from the top, okay you put your head over the top, and now you can see that
I’ve got a great big chest that I need to get rid
of here right. So that’s, I make that decision. I’ll go there and I’ll
take that off, right? Go back to that then I
still look at it this way, do I need to do this. I
don’t want to loose the tail or I do need to. I need to come in. Now the neck is gonna be a lot finer, but I’m leaving it bulky until I refine where it’s going
to come from out of the body. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (ADRIAAN) Then I’ll work towards that and I’ll leave that as
wide, as thick as possible for as long as possible. As I said, stone work is often bulky and that’s part of the charm of
the Eskimo work, the Inuit work, and that’s what I love about stone work and there was a stage were I got
a little advice from Mike Parr and he said you’re getting a bit too flash. Go back to the rawness
you had in the early days. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (ADRIAAN) A wonderful bit of advice. So there you go. Yeah so that’s how it works,
now one more element here… (GRAEME) Yeah. (ADRIAAN) Is just, just
you recognise what that is? – (GRAEME) It’s an old grinding stone.
– (ADRIAAN) A grinding wheel. And I just hit it with a
hammer and it feel into pieces, and then I can actually
grind these into shape on my grinding wheel and can actually go into these little crevices and do what these other
tool don’t do, you see. And this feldspar is soft, soft like that you can see. (GRAEME) So you can see
it really breaks it down. (ADRIAAN) So then when
I want a flat surface I just use a flat or that
piece you’re using there, there’s different grades
of this as well. So I can, so you can see this takes
a while, for a sculpture gallery piece might take 2 or 3 weeks. I guess I’ve done small ones in a week. Big ones when there’s legs
involved it usually can be 6 months. It’s a bit of, a bit of hard labour. – (GRAEME) Yeah it’s very…
– (ADRIAAN) It’s life; it’s passion. Look at the mess, I mean I’m getting dirty – I’m here, noise and all of that.
– (GRAEME) We just arrived. (ADRIAAN) But you know you put up with that just to get the result, and that’s
were the thrill is. But you know, you finish your big project
and you have a breather, and the next bit is the
most exciting bit again. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (ADRIAAN) So the people often ask, what’s your favourite medium and
I say whatever I’m working on. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (ADRIAAN) Because it’s the journey. It’s the process that I’m
involved in that I enjoy so much. – (GRAEME) Absolutely.
– (ADRIAAN) Yeah I see you Put Some Colour In Your Life and
there’s very little colour with this. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (ADRIAAN) But I often think of my life as a whole kaleidoscope of adventure. (GRAEME) Well I think the idea of Put Some
Colour In Your Life is about creativity. – (ADRIAAN) Okay.
– (GRAEME) And it’s about delving into that side of your mind. – (ADRIAAN) Yeah.
– (GRAEME) That says disregardless as to whether you’re doing this – (ADRIAAN) Right-O. Good.
– (GRAEME) … or doing something else, – it’s about creativity.
– (ADRIAAN) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay guys a great day with a very,
very talented man. Thank you bud. – (ADRIAAN) Thank you.
– (GRAEME) It’s been amazing. And as you can see we’re standing
beside this incredible marble piece, it’s just magnificent. It’s
looking for a home isn’t it? – (ADRIAAN) Sure is.
– (GRAEME) Absolutely, so, and even your kangaroo patents as well. (ADRIAAN) I’d love to pass that on to someone
who would be passionate about that yes. (GRAEME) Yeah I think
that would be amazing. And your website, so that if anyone
wants to come in and see what you do is? (ADRIAAN) (GRAEME) On the bottom of the screen
right now guys. So you can go and see that. And come and see in Facebook. And you can see some of your work in our Facebook page and
Colour In Your Life as well. So its And we’ll head off, we
head off to Townsville now, – to see a lady up there. But it’s been a great day.
– (ADRIAAN) You guys are so busy. (GRAEME) Your wonderful wife Denise, god and she’s so talented
as well. It’s just an amazing couple that live up here in
Proserpine. Really, really cool stuff. But until we meet again guys, remember, make sure you put some marble – oh hang on. Make sure you put some colour in your life. – We’ll see you next time guys.
– (ADRIAAN) Oh I like the marble. (GRAEME) Bye now. Bye.


  • Luisa Agliatta says:

    Adriaan is a very talented man. Dedicated and passionate about his work.  There needs to be more of his work around.
    Between Adriaan and his wife Denise, they have created a beautiful oasis where they live.  If you ever get a chance to go visit, do a workshop, do! Valuable and priceless tricks of the trade to be learnt, that you could save a lifetime on accumulating.  It's certainly on my list to do, when I get to that side of the world.

  • Linda Douglas says:

    Ah, the passion that shows through with Adriaan's beautiful work is palpable!    Such sensual surfaces, and curves and yes, so tactile.  This is indeed a perfect example of how one man transfers what's in his creative mind to mediums/media that can be as unforgiving as life itself, and yet somehow, the hard stone/wood/metal bends and bows to his touch.  Just so inspiring!  I've  enjoyed this  invitation into Adriaan's world so thoroughly. My thanks to Graeme for his thoughtful and well structured program.  Every minute was interesting and had a fluidity not unlike Adriaan's work.  

  • Dave Ovenden says:

    What a truly very nice and talented gentlemen, does he look a bit like eric roberts the american actor ? Anyway super video,many thanks.

  • andy mandy and sheba says:

    a rock.a.roo

  • Mark Stevenson says:

    Incredible talent!

  • Ethel says:

    what an amazing and lovely man, an absolute pleasure to watch x

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