Monday, 30 April 2012

#223 Beyond my window: Geese

Every spring a mated pair of Canada Geese appear on schedule and build a nest on my pond in Lander, Wyoming.  They share the pond with the domestic geese and I never tire of watching them from the studio window.  The Canadas will remain and raise their brood and then climb to the sky as they have for thousands of years.

No other creature connects me to the wilderness like the Canada Goose.  Their haunting call is the call of the wild and symbolizes the human need for freedom for we are all wanderers in spirit.  

What are human beings without animals?
If all animals creased to exist, human beings
would die of great loneliness of the spirit.
                                                 - Chief Seattle

 Late Arrival - Original etching by Sandy Scott

Saturday, 28 April 2012

#222 Remarque: "Simple Pleasure"

Spring comes late in the Rockies.  On this day, a pair of Mallards and a pair of Canada Geese are nesting on my pond and a riot of blossoms are on my wild plum trees.  Robins are building a nest outside my window and the mule deer are losing their winter coats.  Still, a Wyoming spring means a fire at night.
I love the simple pleasures of living in the high country.

Again the blackbirds sings; the streams, 
Wake , laughing , from under their winter dreams,
And tremble in the April showers, 
The tassels of the maple flowers.
                                      - John Greenleaf Whittier

Simple Pleasure
9"H 12"W 7"D

Thursday, 26 April 2012

#221 In the field: Sketchbook

A page from my sketchbook . . . Low country wild turkeys.

Copyright Sandy Scott 2012

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

#220 In the field: Low country birds

The South Carolina marshes, waterways, and piney-woods are alive with birds and are a bird artist's paradise.  As a Trustee of Brookgreen Gardens, I spend lots of time in South Carolina and always take time to teach a yearly workshop and take my camera and sketch book afield in search of birds.

Spring is the time for wild turkeys and last week the big gobblers were on the prowl.  After a rain, when the ground was quiet, I slipped in close to a group of wild turkeys to photograph and sketch the wily birds.  Of the six species of North American wild turkeys, I see Merriams in Wyoming, and the rufous-tipped Eastern in South Carolina.  I returned to my Wyoming studio headquarters this week with enough turkey reference to start 
a new sculpture of the magnificent creature.

I enjoy designing functional art and have created many bookends.
Turkey Bookends  7"H 16"W 7"D

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

#219 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens, con't . . .

Presidential Eagle is one of four of my sculptures in the permanent collection of Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.  The casting, at right was installed in 2005, one year after it's placement and dedication at the William F. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas

Presidential Eagle has a 16' wingspan

Monday, 23 April 2012

#218 In the field: "Atalaya" at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC

Last Saturday, in a driving rain storm, I spent several hours at Atalaya in Huntington Beach State Park
with Robin Salmon, Curator of Sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens; see yesterday's Post.

Atalaya's Courtyard and tower in the rain.
We had the place to ourselves.
Archer Huntington, transportation magnate, and Anna Hyatt Huntington, noted sculptor, purchased Brookgreen Plantation and three adjoining plantations in 1930 as a site for a winter home, studio, and as a setting for Anna's sculpture.

The ocean-front home, studio and Brookgreen Gardens were constructed from 1931 to 1933.The home, named Atalaya, which is a Spanish term for watchtower, was designed by Archer after Moorish architecture, and consists of 30 rooms.  Anna sculpted from live animals so facilities such as horse stables,
dog kennels, and bear pens were built adjoining her studio.

In 1960, the 2,500 - acre tract across from Brookgreen Gardens was leased to the state by the Board Trustees to create Huntington Beach State Park.

North facade of Atalaya

            Sandy in the doorway of Anna's Studio                                      Sign above the studio fireplace, click to enlarge         

Sunday, 22 April 2012

#217 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, has in its collection more than1,600 works by over 350 sculptors. Exhibited within the gardens is the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the world, by sculptors who worked from the early nineteenth century to the present. Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historical Landmark, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Brookgreen offers workshops in sculpture by nationally known sculptors throughout the year.  See posts  #'s 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49, starting Oct.3, 2011 for more information.

Last week was spent at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC teaching a bird anatomy and sculpture workshop, and in the field; researching and photographing birds and animals of the low country.                                                                            

Above right is the entrance to Brookgreen Gardens:  Fighting Stallions by Anna Hyatt Huntington

Eat More Beef, located in the Children's Sculpture Garden at Brookgreen,
is one of 4 of my sculptures in the museum's permanent collection 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

#216 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens Workshop, con't . . .

The bird sculptor must know and understand bird anatomy and how a bird is structured.
Birds, like mammals (including humans) are vertebrates.  
Vertebrates simply means that the animal has a backbone.  
Nature has designed just one basic pattern, with many variations, for all vertebrates.  
The skeleton of the bird's wing is more easily understood when compared to the human arm. 

Comparison between human arm above and bird wing below

Wing drawings, copyright Sandy Scott, from the book Spirit of the Wild Things - The Art of Sandy Scott

Friday, 20 April 2012

#215 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens Workshop, con't . . .

This week I taught a 3-day Bird Anatomy and Sculpture Workshop at Brookgreen Gardens at Murrell's Inlet, SC;
see posts #213 and #214 and refer to the REFERENCE link
under PAGES for more information about bird anatomy.

Though animal sculptors do not need to be scientists, they
must know and understand the important bones, joints and muscles, not only where they attach but how they articulate.
In addition to this knowledge the bird sculptor must know the major feather groups, individual feather construction and
the mechanics of flight.

All birds have a basic and predictable structure:
the bird sculptor must know the basic skelton and the
sets of feathers inherent to all birds.

The humerus, elbow, and portion of the radius/ulna drawn on the clay model

Thursday, 19 April 2012

#214 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens Workshop, con't . . .

Yesterday was the last day of my 3-day 2012 Brookgreen Gardens Bird Anatomy and Sculpture Workshop;
see yesterday's post.  For more information about bird anatomy, refer to the REFERENCE link under PAGES.

All birds - from the tiny hummingbird to the giant albatross - have the same basic feather groupings.  Once these
are known, the sculptor simply researches the individual bird to be modeled to establish relative proportions.

There are four basic wing shapes and all birds fall into a semblance of one of the four configurations.
The size and shape of wings give clues to how the bird lives:

1.  Long and wide wings are used by soaring birds
     such as hawks, eagles, and ravens.  A wing is
     considered long when it exceeds the length of
     the bird's body.

2.  Narrow and pointed wings are used by fast
     flying birds such as swallows, swifts, and many
     migratory birds such as ducks and geese.

3.  Long and narrow wings are used by gliding
     birds such as albatrosses, gulls, fulmars,
     shearwaters, and terns.

4.  Wide and rounded wings are used for short,
     fast and quick-escape flight birds such as
     grouse, pheasants, pigeons, and owls.

Please go to HOME, then to REFERENCE under PAGES and click on Posts #143 and #144.

Wing drawings, copyright Sandy Scott, from the book Spirit of the Wild Things - The Art of Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

#213 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens Workshop

Portable clay warming device:
heat lamp and bucket 
Monday morning was the first day of my 3-day 2012  Brookgreen Gardens Bird Anatomy and Sculpture Workshop.  For information about Brookgreen Gardens please refer to and

Teaching bird anatomy and sculpture is a personal discipline and has been rewarding
over the years in that I continue to explore, learn and stay in touch with the basics.
This afternoon will end a 3-day information packed introduction to bird sculpture,
and the 4 "A's":  anatomy, aerodynamics, armature building, and art.

Workshops provide continuing education for adults and an opportunity to learn from a working, professional artist/instructor.  I enjoy working with students of all levels of proficiency; particularly beginners and painters.  We focus on birds in flight  and my teaching method is structured and methodical . . . a step by step "follow me" approach.

For more information about my workshops please refer to Blogs #140 - #145, January 21 - 27, 2012. 

Students  participating in a group critique of  a Common Tern clay block-in sculpture


Monday, 16 April 2012

#212 National Sculpture Society . . . LOVE

New York, New York - The National Sculpture Society presents LOVE . . . 
An on-line exhibition featuring the work of 61 members of  NSS.           

Torso Fragment II 18"H 8"W 4"D

Sunday, 15 April 2012

#211 In the field: Gilcrease Rendezvous Reunion, con't . . .

I was born in Dubuque, Iowa and when I was 2 years old my family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I attended Tulsa Public Schools which were known at the time to be
among the best educational systems in the United States.  My high school art
teacher, Sue Johnson, was a recognized American watercolorist and was
instrumental in my acceptance into the Kansas City Art Institute in 1961.

Friday, during the artist luncheon at the Gilcrease Museum's Rendezvous Reunion, 
I spent a quiet moment in the Vista Room which overlooks the beautiful Oklahoma 
Osage Hills.  Below me, on the manicured lawn, was my eagle sculpture, Above It All; 
which is in the museum's permanent collection. 

In the distance I noticed a yellow school bus which had carried children to visit the museum; just as a yellow school bus had carried me to this magical place so many years ago.  I remembered the overwhelming feelings I had when I visited the museum as a child and saw the paintings of Moran, Bierstadt, Remington, Russell, and the John James Audubon's painting of the Wild Turkey.  Television was in it's infancy and the art took me to places I had never  imagined and opened my eyes to the wonder of art.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

#210 In the field: Gilcrease Rendezvous Reunion

The Gilcrease Museum, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, continues to honor the legacy of its founder, Thomas Gilcrease, by supporting contemporary artists 
who paint and sculpt images of the American West. Since 1980, Gilcrease has showcased America's most prominent artists by choosing two artists annually - typically a painter and a sculptor -  and exhibiting their work in a retrospective; 
my work was exhibited at the world-renowned museum in 1998 with the painter, Steve Hanks. Some of the illustrious artists, such as Joe Beeler, Eric Sloane, Wilson Hurley, Frank McCarthy, Bettina Steinke, Fritz White, Morris Rippel, 
Hollis Williford, Tom Ryan, Paul Calle, Chen Chi, James Reynolds, and 
Bob Kuhn are no longer with us. I knew them all and I miss them.  

This year's Rendezvous Reunion features 35 former Rendezvous artists during an exhibition and sale that opened last night and will continue through July 15, 2012. Today, I've posted images from the gala event that includes pictures of some of the artists in attendance.

At right I am with friend, fellow Tulsa-native and one of the founding members 
of the Cowboy Artists of America, Gordon Snidow; Rendezvous artist in 1981.

5 sculptors, John Coleman, Sandy Scott, 
Doug Hyde, Edward Fraughton and Gerald  Balciar 

Opening Panarama

Friday, 13 April 2012

#209 In the field: Gilcrease workshop

Yesterday I completed a 3-day workshop at the Gilcrease Museum.  I had the delightful experience of teaching in the original house that Thomas Gilcrease built and lived in, located in the beautiful Osage Hills northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma where the museum is located.

I enjoy teaching 3-day workshops . . . typically, my workshops are 5-day but I have found that it's possible to condense the class to 3 days.  My workshops are structured, organized and I cover an enormous amount of information about bird anatomy, flight, armature building, and the art of sculpture in general.
The subject focused upon in this class was the Common Tern:  a bird with a 30" wingspan which we modeled life-size.

My sculpture, Above It All, was acquired by Gilcrease in 2000 and is installed on the grounds.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

#208 In the field: Gilcrease Museum

Recognized as one of the nations premier museums, Tulsa, Oklahoma's Gilcrease Museum features the world's largest and most renowned collection of art and artifacts, historical manuscripts, maps and documents of the Americas.  The museum's internationally famous western art collection includes works by Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Joseph Henry Sharp, and Charles M. Russell.

This week I am teaching a Bird Anatomy and Sculpture Workshop at the museum and attending the 2012 Gilcrease Rendezvous Reunion.  The show brings together featured artists from years past.  The museum honored me as the Rendezvous Artist in 1998, and I am thrilled to be here for the reunion.

My sculpture, Above It All, was acquired by Gilcrease in 2000 and is installed on the grounds.

Above It All  8 1/2' wingspan

Monday, 9 April 2012

#207 In the foundry: "Eclipse" patina, con't . . .

The picture below shows Eclipse with liver of sulfur and cupric nitrate only.

The picture below shows the next step, after ferric nitrate has been stippled over the cupric nitrate.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

#206 In the foundry: "Eclipse" patina . . .

To know the fascinating story of the horse named Eclipse,
refer to Post #152, February 4, 2012.

The patina for Eclipse was achieved using the following method: The cold bronze was doused with liver of sulfur (below) and then rinsed.  At right, the bronze was heated with a propane torch, then cupric and ferric nitrate was alternately sizzled and stippled on the hot bronze.

This application is a traditional, old world patination.
Bronze is over 95% copper and typically, depending on atmospheric conditions, location and other issues, turns
blue green without chemical inducement.  We've all found
an old copper penny with a natural blue green patina.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

#205 In the foundry: "Hunter's Pheasant Gamepiece" patina . . .

The goal during patination was to present a highly decorative sculpture.
A pheasant is an extremely colorful bird, yet I did not want to take elements such as the green head, red cheek patch, white neck ring,
blue green rump feathers, etc. and apply these individual pigments to
the bronze.  I wanted to retain the bronze quality . . . not make the sculpture look like porcelain or ceramic.

The patina was achieved by applying liver of sulfur and scrubbing back with Scotch Brite which leaves darks in the negatives.  Next, after
heating the bronze, cupric nitrate and ferric nitrate were applied by
"side-brushing" and "stippling" the chemicals.

My hunter's still-life composition (also known as a gamepiece)
was designed to be a wall-hanging. For more information about
this time-honored motif refer to Blogs #134, 135 and 136,
January 14, 15 & 16, 2012.

Friday, 6 April 2012

#204 In the foundry: "Buffalo ReliefIII & IV" patina . . .

I've used one of my favorite patinas on the Buffalo Relief III and IV which were designed to be displayed as mantlepieces.  I've used an earth-tone patina that works well on an active and rugged surface.  The opaque 
application of the cupric nitrate and ferric nitrate, stippled over liver of sulfur, impart a warm, stone-like quality.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

#203 In the foundry: "Swamp Buck" patina

I moved my studio headquarters from Colorado to Lander, Wyoming years ago to be near the foundry that casts my work.  I live less than 5 miles from the foundry and when in residence in Lander, I can be found there almost daily.

Yesterday was spent at the foundry applying patinas on work for up coming shows. Shown is a new sculpture, Swamp Buck, that will be introduced in June at the
Prix de West, held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK.  The clay model can be seen in an August, 2011 post.

The patina procedure is as follows: The sculpture is sand blasted, then (below)
liver of sulfur is applied while the bronze is cold and scrubbed back, revealing the high points and leaving dark in the negatives.  At right, the patineaur heats the
bronze and ferric nitrate is stippled on.  Finally, the bronze is cooled, sealed, waxed and based.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

#202 In the studio: Animals in motion, con't . . .

The definitive guide for artists in understanding animals in motion is the book, "Animals in Motion", by Eadweard Muybridge; published by Dover Press.  The book begins with  an analysis of animal locomotion;  human, quadruped, and bird.  The book contains over 4000 photos of the animal in motion.  Every artist should have this celebrated book in their studio.

An artist must educate himself, 
he cannot be educated,
he must test things out as they apply to himself;
his life is one long investigation 
of things and his reaction to them.
                                                   -Robert Henri

This, of course, applies to women artists as well.

Patina being applied to Swamp Buck . . . a deer in motion 

Monday, 2 April 2012

#201 In the studio: Animals in motion

When modeling an animal in motion, whether it's a quadruped, a bird, or a human; 
the eyes must be level with, and parallel to the horizon.  When you see horses running flat-out around a race track, their bodies leaning into the turn, notice that their eyes are parallel to the ground.  If you see a spooked deer, bounding over a fence while looking 
for an escape route, notice that the eyes are parallel to the ground. An eagle banking 
and soaring in a thermal;  or a football player . . . spinning, turning, and running for the goalpost . . . all will have their eyes parallel to the ground.  

A bird in flight can bank in excess of 65 degrees but the eyes are parallel to the ground. This fact of nature has something to do with the inner ear, balance, and logic.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

#200 In the studio: Equestrian maquette, con't . . .

Typically, I don't use measuring devices such as calipers, to tell me if my sculpture is "right". I am not blindly dependent on them because the results in clay can come across as a specimen of the figure.

After attending the Kansas City Art Institute years ago, I worked as a background artist in the animation department of Calvin Motion Pictures. While creating a recent sculpture depicting running horses, I referred to an animator's trick which is to "draw the verb".  For instance, while horses are the noun . . . running is the verb.

The sculptor must understand locomotive anatomy; how the muscles bunch and stretch.  The sculptor must know when and how to exaggerate a figure's form and anatomy.  Below, is the initial block-in and work in progress.  By narrowing the waist and lengthening the largest shape - the torso - a sensation of athleticism and speed is felt by the viewer.