Wednesday, 17 June 2015

#644 Nature's one pattern


Last Saturday at Prix de West I was a member of a wildlife art panel which included Greg Beecham,
Ralph Oberg, and moderated by Walter Matia.  During the discussion, I talked about nature's one pattern. 
For more information about Prix de West and the panel, see the previous post.
Nature's one pattern is a phrase I use when teaching bird sculpture workshops and it refers to comparative anatomy. 
 After the panel, I was asked to elaborate on the phrase by someone in the audience who follows my blog.  
While I've mentioned it before in a blog, the focus of this post is a review of nature's one pattern

Like humans, quadrupeds and birds are vertebrates . . . meaning they have a backbone and nature has designed
 just one pattern for all vertebrates.   Below, are drawings comparing humans with quadrupeds and birds.





Variation in the length and shape of the bones indicate how and where an animal lives, feeds, runs, crawls, hops, flies, breeds, and exists on this planet.  All of the approximately 4,500 known living species of mammals fall into one or
another of 19 orders and all of the over 10,000 species of birds fall into one or another of 28 orders and
all species can be compared to and realized by knowing and understanding nature's one pattern.



All are vertebrates and have skeletal similarities:  nature's one pattern.
All have a backbone, humerus, radius/ulna [the bird's wing compares to our arm], 
femur, tibia/fibula,  rib cage, sternum, scapula, pelvic girdle, digits, toes,  etc. 
Interestingly,  while all mammals have 7 neck vertebrae - even giraffes -  birds, on the other hand, 
have a very flexible neck consisting of 13 - 25 neck vertebrae.

The artist must know how the skeleton is arranged and how the joints articulate.
The artist must understand that it is the skeleton and length of bones that determines proportion.
The artist must understand the skeletal structure and similarities of animals and
know how to use nature's one pattern which is inherent to all vertebrates.

Understanding comparative anatomy will revolutionize the artist's approach to figurative sculpture:
be it a figure of a human, horse, cat, dog, deer, bison, bear, bird, and beyond:  nature's one pattern.



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

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




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