Wednesday, 25 March 2015

#620 Horse anatomy . . . proportion, waypoints, and bony landmarks

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

Every good painter and sculptor of animals studies anatomy.  Experience teaches the artist what to look for and where
 to expect to find it.  The bones of individual species such as the horse are fixed as to length and proportion 
and are restricted as to range of movement and articulation.   A horse's anatomy is governed by laws of mechanics. 

Blog post # 616 shows eight great publications about animal anatomy for the artist.  One time-honored  artist and publication was not included and was saved for this blog which focuses on  proportion and waypoints:  
The book is  "Studies in the Art Anatomy of Animals"  by Ernest Thompson Seton.    

Originally published in 1896, the book is available today.  My copy is old and was published by Running Press.
There is a 2004 reprint (smaller format) available by Fredonia Books

I have used Seton's technique regarding proportion for years . . .  as shown below in sketchbook from the 1970s.

Seton's method for measuring a horse starts with a square and is measured in head length. 
Shown below is a drawing of a typical horse . . . I use dividers when checking a  sculpture in progress against my
working drawings and silhouette.  For instance, one head length equals the greatest width of the chest to the back.
The additional three area measurements that equal one head length are indicated by the green lines and the dividers.

Using Seton's method of proportion, I am at once aware of the length of head measurement compared to the
shoulder blade and the slope of the shoulder, the point of rump, the point of hips and croup, hock, elbow, withers, poll, point of shoulder, the distance between the back and the chest, and can check them with calipers or dividers.  

The artist's goal is not to create a specimen but a work of art.  An artist develops their individual way of seeing an animal's natural characteristics.  The manner in which the animal is presented is the artist's style and the imprint of their personality.  Awareness of proportion and waypoints helps the artist evaluate their work with a clearer
and more discerning eye while exploring various possibilities of design.

The artist should know sound methods and technique but never stop experimenting and taking chances. . .
precise attention to anatomy should not inhibit the style or manner in which the artist executes the art.
Whether creating a sculpture or painting in a realistic, stylized, or even distorted manner,
the basic fundamentals of anatomy still hold true for the subject matter.

Shown below is a sculpture entitled, "Nipper".  When modeling foals, proportion changes.
For instance, a foal grows into their long legs.  Also,  proportion can vary among different breeds.
Next Sunday's blog post will focus on different breeds of horses.


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

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


No comments:

Post a Comment