Sunday, 22 March 2015

#619 In the studio . . . horse anatomy and bony landmarks

Please start this series of posts about horse anatomy with blog #616.

The artist must understand the location of bony landmarks when drawing, painting, and sculpting a figure such as the horse.   A painter creates the illusion of form by showing shadow, middle-tone, and highlights while the sculptor models a form in space that creates its own.  It may sound simplistic, but when asked what my main concern is in sculpture . . .
my reply is to make sure all of the shadows fall in the right place!

But how does a sculptor make sure all of the shadows fall in the right place?
The answer:  Bony landmarks.

The best way to analyze bony landmarks involve the following considerations:

1.  How does the skeleton influence the surface appearance?
2.  The artist must understand the animal's skeleton and the location of bony landmarks in the figure.
3.  Where does the skeletal structure rise to the surface?    
4.  Bony landmarks are typically hard edges while muscle structure is not.  Their relationship to each   
     other, where muscles attach to the main bones, must be understood.
5.  Observe the horse:  Where there are dips, curves, bumps, and knobs, projection and indentations -
     there is an anatomical explanation that the sculptor must understand.
6.  A bony landmark is a "waypoint" for the sculptor and is any identifiable point on the figure that     
     can be referred to such as where the femur joins the pelvis, where the humerus joins the scapula,
     or the tibia joins the metatarsus [cannonbone], etc.

                 Shown below is a clay model of a horse with body landmarks identified with dots.

7.  Bony landmarks occur at places where different parts of a form meet or come together.  This is  
     also called  "points of articulation".
8.  Understanding anatomy takes the mystery out of drawing, painting, and sculpting.   Start with the
      largest bones and compare them with your own.  All mammals have the same basic design.
9.  Bony landmarks can assist the artist in establishing proportion and a point of reference which is      
     discussed and illustrated in the next blog post.
10. Beyond bony landmarks and waypoints, the sculptor must keep the large masses simple. clarified,          
      and unified . . . more is said with large shapes, planes, and masses.
11. Indicate the simple, underlying masses of the skeletal system:  Skull, rib cage, pelvis, lumbar,
      abdomen, neck, shoulder, upper and lower leg, etc.
12. Bony landmarks are generally the joining of limbs and the points of articulation . . . be aware of
      your own body and movement when modeling the horse.   See drawing below.

13. Don't give premature attention to detail . . . there will typically be problems with proportion.
14. It's really true:  Sculptors sculpt what they know and painters paint what they see.

Three-dimintional form creates shadows . . .  when the sculptor understands anatomy,  
the shadows fall in the right place.

26"H 25"W 9"D


Go to the BLOG INDEX and Reference Page for more information.  See posts #616 and 655

Blog, text, photos, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish


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