Wednesday, 31 July 2013

#448 In the studio: Nature's one pattern

Nature has designed just one pattern for vertebrate mammals.
Variation in the length and shape of the bones indicate how and where an animal lives, feeds, runs,
crawls, hops, and exists on this planet.  All of the approximately 4,500 known living species of mammals
fall into one or another of 18 orders and all species can be compared to and realized by knowing one pattern.

The artist must understand the skeletal structure of animals and 
know how to use the one pattern inherent to all mammals.

Below is an image of two mammals; a human 
and a quadruped. . . showing nature's one pattern for vertebrate mammals.

Above concept, after Eliot Goldfinger.  See reference page.

Typically, the first animal figure that the art student uses as a model is the horse.
Much can be learned by understanding and using comparative anatomy to establish
correct proportion while modeling any animal.

Domestic cats can give insight into lions, cheetahs, tigers, cougars, etc.

Cats move with grace and agility, have a very flexible spine, and an excellent sense of balance.
Below, is a clay model of a cougar sculpture in progress . . . the animal uses it's long, heavy tail for balance.

Unlike most quadrupeds, a cat's shoulder blades or scapula are so loosely attached
to the ribs that they can push up above the spine when the animal crouches.

Cat in the Creamery
8"H 16"L 7"D


  1. Dear Sandy,

    We purchased one of your pieces, Pig Mask II, in June for our new kitchen. He now guards the stove, looking down on it from a brick alcove. And his new name is Wilbur. :-) And he has a pal, our first bronze pig, his name is WH, short for Whole Hog.

    I write because we were so taken by Wilbur’s face, he just had to come home with us. And then we read your bio and were quite stunned at the number of connections. We live in St. Louis (so KC), Jerry has spent many years hunting and fishing in Wyoming and four years ago, he showed me his haunts there, including Lander. We would have also seen your work at the Natl Wildlife Gallery in Jackson: stunning place. And ... my family home is on the Rainy River which flows into Lake of the Woods, our family cottage is west of Kenora in the Whiteshell.

    Anyway, so many connections, I wanted to, you know, connect and thank you for your work and the pleasure and conversation it is bringing us. We promise Wilbur will always have a happy home.


    Alanna Kellogg
    St. Louis, MO

  2. Alanna, Please forgive the delay in responding to your comment . . . I just returned to this post and discovered it! Thank you so much for your continued interest. So happy you enjoy Wilbur! We love our time spent on Lake of the Woods . . .I first visited in 1962 and bought my cottage in 1978.