A SCULPTOR who moved to Salisbury just before the pandemic has been praised for his work by an arts group.

Plain Arts Salisbury, a network of artists in Salisbury and the surrounding area, has named Donald Foxley as its Artist of the Month for June.

Donald loved drawing from an early age and wanted to go to art college, but his parents insisted he study a subject with better job prospects. After a physics degree at Imperial College he embarked on a career in aviation electronics with British Airways, specialising in flight data recorders.

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Throughout his career Donald continued to draw and paint in watercolours, taking many evening courses, but a major turning point came when he enrolled for a change in a sculpture class. He was immediately hooked, and three years later took early retirement from BA to concentrate on sculpture.

Starting by modelling in clay, Donald soon felt the urge to work much bigger, taking inspiration from a small object and developing its shape into an abstract work from four to twelve feet tall.

Unable to manhandle – let alone afford – stone of this size, Donald developed his own technique. He carves his large sculptures out of expanded polystyrene and laminates glass fibre over it for durability, first coating it with several layers of papier mâché and paint to ensure that the resin can’t touch the polystyrene and dissolve it.

At this stage, he may have a mould made and copies cast in resin stone or resin bronze, but more often he will create a unique piece by applying a finishing coat of resin with various fillers to give a stone effect.

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For many years Donald was a member of Surrey Sculpture Society and Oxford Sculptors, exhibiting at National Trust, Royal Horticultural Society and a number of private gardens. On moving to Cumbria, he founded Cumbria Sculptors. He has sold work all over England and has exported pieces to Germany and the USA.

Donald particularly enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for sculpture with others. He taught a sculpture evening class until funding was withdrawn, whereupon he started a U3A sculpture group in Carlisle. He moved to Salisbury just before the Covid pandemic, and as soon as rules allowed, started a U3A sculpture group here.

Now in his eighties, and with a much smaller studio than he had in Cumbria, Donald is no longer exhibiting widely, but some of his work can be seen at www.donaldfoxley.co.uk and visitors are welcome to view the sculptures in his Salisbury garden, some of which are for sale.