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about the artist
Rosalie Johnson was born and educated in South Africa, where she observed and loved wildliferosalie johnson portrait in all its forms. After a career in social work there and later in England, and having raised her family, she turned her full attention to sculpture - specifically the sculpture of animals...

In addition to displaying her sculptures in many of the most established commercial galleries in the UK, Rosalie has had significant success and accolade in many prestigious exhibitions throughout her career including the Society of Wildlife Artists' Annual Exhibition and the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition. In 1991 and 1994, Rosalie’s sculptures of a Grebe and a Young Deer, respectively, were chosen for a distinguished award by the Crown Commissioners which culminated in an award ceremony and dinner held in her honour.

As well as her  work gaining increasing popularity, Rosalie has earned the respect of many of her fellow artists. In 1990, Rosalie was elected a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists (affiliated to the Federation of British Artists) and in 1991, was invited to become a rosalie and goatmember of the Society of Women Artists. Rosalie retains an active role in both of these reputable societies and is currently serving on the Council of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

Always seeking to innovate and perfect her art, Rosalie maintains her flexibility by creating sculptures of differing sizes, from a life-size hippo named ‘Huberta’, to field mice, and being equally adept in working with many different forms of material. Rosalie carefully selects the most appropriate material for each new sculpture to provide the required texture, appearance and ‘feel’ using such varied substances as clay, composite marble, bronze, silver, pewter and even rust-finished iron. Despite attempting to continually enhance and develop her work, Rosalie spends much of her time in perfecting the form and character of each animal.

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artist's statement
"My medium is
clay, which is later translated into bronze or resin and rusty iron, or fired. The joy of clay is the fact that one can start off making, perhaps, a mouse and then (if the clay is still damp) decide to make, say, a warthog calf. This is a wonderful freedom for one who does change her mind rather a lot. Almost all of my scurosalie and warthoglptures are of animals I have watched or known well; essential, I feel, in order to get the essence of the creature.

Photographs are, of course, very useful. The time it takes to complete a sculpture varies enormously. Sometimes I ‘get’ the animal at once, but at other times not so quickly! I do tend to avoid commissions as I like to sculpt what I am drawn to – freedom again!

I came to working as a sculptor comparatively late as my earlier training and work was in topographical training and social welfare work in South Africa. It was only years later – when I got into my forties – that, on attending Putney Art School (Adult Education) in London, I found to my surprise and joy that I had a talent for modelling and sculpture.

Not surprisingly, South African animals came forth – lizards, snakes and scorpions on my coiled pots or sculptures of aardvark, warthogs and rhinos. This was of course reinforced by return trips to South African wildlife reserves. There I observed my beloved animals in quietness and peace, and above all in their natural environment – I do find zoos a difficult point of reference.

I have been with my bronze foundry in Birmingham since 1996. We work closely together from the moment the clay figure goes to the foundry to be made into a cast, returned to me for any adjustments and then back again for casting and patination. I aardvarkprefer my sculptures to be without a mount, and thus freestanding in their own space. The return home of one’s bronze is incredibly exciting – bronze can last almost forever.

This is perhaps why I have started, within the last few years, to make miniature sculptures. Years ago I went to an exhibition at the Royal Academy where they were showing old bronze artefacts of little goats and horses and so on which had been dug up centuries later, pretty much intact. Could this be the fate of my little bronze aardvark?"

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