Friday, 29 March 2013

#411 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .


Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.






Recently, while attending an art exhibition in San Antonio, I had the pleasure of photographing and sketching along the city's famed Riverwalk.  What a delightful "in the field" experience!  

Below, a duck sweeps it's femur or thigh out and sideways from the body . . . thus giving free play and movement to the leg.  A duck is in it's element in the water and awkward on land. 


More about the duck's anatomy on the next post.



Below, is a sketch of a mallard taking off along the San Antonio Riverwal





Drawing copyright - Sandy Scott


Sunday, 24 March 2013

#409 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .


Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Once the artist researches each species' behavior to perceive size, habits, proportion, gesture, pose,
and knows the basics of the skeleton, anatomy, and the sets of feather groupings inherent to all birds,
the bird sculptor simply uses this knowledge to assemble shapes.


I tell participants in my workshops that once bird anatomy is understood,
they will never again look at a bird in the same way.

Below, is a sculpture of a Bufflehead duck stretching it's wings.
Since birds in flight or in motion don't pose for you . . .
  knowledge gained from knowing the supermarket chicken anatomy,
knowing a bird's feather groups,
as well as many hours afield; resulted in Day on the Bay . . .
one of my all-time favorite works.


A Day on the Bay
12"H 15"W 10"D (life-size)
Copyright - Sandy Scott




Note: There will be more about the creation of this sculpture, including field sketches and notes,
in an upcoming blog.




Friday, 22 March 2013

#408 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .


Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Much can be learned from buying a whole frying chicken from the supermarket and studying the feather 
tracts on the skin.  Note the little holes on the wing where the feathers emerge in a pattern, they are alike 
on most birds.  Length, shape, size, and number of feathers vary according to the bird's needs. 
Once you know the sets or feather groups, you can adapt them to any species.




Look at the supermarket chicken and notice the bird's elbow . . .
This is the thickest part of the wing.
Keep in mind - you are looking DOWN on the chicken.








Wednesday, 20 March 2013

#407 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .


Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

The breast bone, also called the "keel" or the sternum, serves as an anchor for the enormous 
pectoral or breast muscles.  Envision a chicken's white breast meat  . . . these are the pectoral 
muscles and they are located directly under the wings.

The pectoral girdle forms the socket for the head of the humerus and creates the shoulder of the bird.  
The coracoid extends from the front end of the scapula to the sternum (breast bone), and forms a strong,  
"tripod-like" brace for the wings.  Humans have only a tiny bone in this region that corresponds to the coracoid process. 


Below is a drawing of a bird's pectoral girdle showing the wing attachment to the coracoid. . .
notice the clavicle or "wishbone" in front of the "keel" or sternum.







Drawing, copyright - Sandy Scott



Sunday, 17 March 2013

#406 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .


Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

The sculptor must make the viewer sense the bird's movement of bone and muscle and
therefore must know how the skeleton articulates and the limitations of skeletal movement. 

Typically, I use my drawings to work out proportion and design possibilities.  Below is a drawing of a hawk in flight showing the skeleton.  This drawing was one of several that was used as a study for a recent sculpture of a
Red-tailed Hawk modeled life-size.   The next photo depicts the clay model of the pose . . . followed by
two images of the finished casting of the sculpture, entitled Red-tailed Hawk at Sappa Creek.   








Red-tailed Hawk at Sappa Creek
36"H 28"W 22"D
Copyright - Sandy Scott



Friday, 15 March 2013

#405 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .


Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.



At right, is a picture of a pheasant wing,
partially folded.
Though a bird sculptor does not need to be a scientist, an
understanding of the important bones, joints, and muscles . . .
where they attach and how they articulate is a must.

In addition to this knowledge, the bird sculptor must know the major feather groups.  Birds in flight don't pose, therefore this understanding is a must.  The feather sets are basic and every bird has the same groupings; from the tiny hummingbird to the gigantic albatross.


Below is a drawing of a bird wing.  Wing flight feathers are divided into three groups:  Primaries, secondaries,
and tertials.  These groups are attached to what corresponds to the arm and hand of the human.

Most  birds have ten primaries and these feathers are attached to the "hand" part of the wing.  The primaries are individually controlled by muscles and are the propellers that provide thrust and move the bird through the air.

The secondaries are attached to the forearm region that corresponds to the human elbow and wrist.  They are not individually controlled and act more like an airplane wing providing lift.  Individual species have different numbers of secondaries:  perching birds have nine or ten, eagles have sixteen, and albatross have thirty-two.


Drawing, copyright - Sandy Scott


Below, is a recent work entitled "After the Hunt Still Life"
The sculptor must know that a pheasant, like most birds, has ten primaries and that modeling
nine or eleven on the wing is as egregious as modeling four or six fingers on the human hand.

After the Hunt Still Life
29"H 19"W 4"D
Copyright, Sandy Scott




Wednesday, 13 March 2013

#404 In the studio: Bird anatomy . . .


From  a bird sculptor's point of view, the skeleton is the most important part of the anatomy.  The sculptor must know how the bones are arranged and how they articulate before attempting to define muscles or feathers.  


Below, is a drawing of the skeleton of a bird's wing compared to the skeleton of the human arm.  

Drawing, copyright - Sandy Scott

Below, is a drawing of the bird's skeleton showing the arrangement of flight feathers on the wing.   
The secondaries of the inner wing are attached to the ulna and the primaries of the outer wing 
are attached to the bones of the bird's "hand".

The bird's "hand"make up the outermost wing bones.  Some metacarpals are missing, some are fused together.  
One of the digits is the thumb or alula, a small group of three or four feathers that are attached to this bone.   
The ten primary flight feathers are attached to the "hand".  

Drawing, copyright - Sandy Scott

More about the bird's anatomy, including the alula, flight feathers, and additional feather groups on the next post. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

#403 In the field: At the tavern and sculptural thought . . .


The bird sculptor must know and understand bird anatomy, the skeleton, and how the joints articulate.
The skeleton of the chicken wing is more easily understood when compared to the human arm. 

Much can be learned from pondering an order of buffalo wings at the local tavern.
What you are eating is the meat surrounding the humerus, 
which is the innermost bone between the body and the elbow.
The second morsel which includes two bones, is the meat of the forearm between the elbow and wrist; 
which corresponds to the human ulna and radius.  





Drawing, copyright - Sandy Scott

Friday, 8 March 2013

#402 Remarque: "Striding Cougar"


From the sculptor's point of view, the skeleton is the most important part of the anatomy.
The sculptor must know how the bones are arranged and how they articulate before attempting to define muscles.   

As powerful as patina and color are - see posts  #391through #401 . . . 
sculpture is about anatomy, form, locomotion, and the realization of the animal through art.

Striding Cougar
8"H 19"L 6"W 
Copyright - Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

#401 At the foundry: Patina, the power of color, con't . . .


Please start this series about patina with post #391, Feb. 13

The use of patina and the colors of bronze has a profound effect on the sculpture's final appearance 
and the impression it makes on the viewer . . . color is more powerful than form.  

I routinely use color to suggest the natural color inherent to a species, such as the North American Mountain Lion,
also know as the Cougar.  The chemical, ferric nitrate, produces a golden tone, which is a logical choice for the mammal's distinctive yellow-gold coat.

Below, is a new work entitled Striding Cougar:
The top two pictures show my final choice of a ferric nitrate patina for the sculpture.
The bottom two pictures show an experiment with a darker patina using liver of sulfur, cupric nitrate,
and a hint of ferric nitrate.  Although the second patina has merit, I decided to repatina the work,
suggest the natural color of the animal and use the golden ferric nitrate chemicals.  In my opinion,
the darker patina imparted a "jaguar or panther look" to the sculpture.











Sunday, 3 March 2013

#400 At the foundry: Patina, the power of color, con't . . .


Please start this series about patina with post #391, Feb. 13

The sculpture below is entitled In the Orchard and is another example of a multi-colored, "toy soldier" styled patina.  Please scroll back to the previous post for an explanation of this type of application.

Although I rarely use this type of patina - I typically use a single color - I felt that the decorative blush of red on the apple enhanced the visual interpretation of the little bronze.  Most important, when using a decorative, multi-colored patina, is retaining the overall clarity and unified shapes.

Imagine the photography in black and white . . . color should not define form.


In the Orchard
7"H 6"W 7"D
Copyright, Sandy Scott

Friday, 1 March 2013

#399 At the foundry: Patina, the power of color, con't . . .


Please start this series about patina with post #391, Feb. 13

When I consider the aesthetics of patina, typically I employ a single overall color for the vast majority of my work. 
I rarely use a multi-colored patina which causes a "toy soldier look", where various parts of the sculpture are
patinaed different colors . . . such as green bird, yellow beak, black legs, brown branch, and so on.   

However, on rare occasions I find the suggestion of various colors effective . . .  
such as the patina used on the early work below, entitled Windmaster.  

To achieve this patina, I polished the head, cape and tail to a high sheen to represent white.  Next, a pale application of ferric to the beak, legs, and talons created yellow.  The body and wings were patinaed a rich brown by using liver of sulfur and ferric nitrate.  Finally, additional liver of sulfur was applied to the wing tips, creating a blackish-brown color.  

My goal was to present the distinctive and dramatic color variations of the American Bald Eagle.
Remember, color is more powerful than form and the sculptor must strive to retain 
the clarity and silhouette of the figure while interrupting form with color changes.

The power of color is even more realized by using a sky blue background in the photography.


Windmaster
13"H 23"W 14"D
Copyright, Sandy Scott