Wednesday, 31 July 2013

#448 In the studio: Nature's one pattern

Nature has designed just one pattern for vertebrate mammals.
Variation in the length and shape of the bones indicate how and where an animal lives, feeds, runs,
crawls, hops, and exists on this planet.  All of the approximately 4,500 known living species of mammals
fall into one or another of 18 orders and all species can be compared to and realized by knowing one pattern.

The artist must understand the skeletal structure of animals and 
know how to use the one pattern inherent to all mammals.

Below is an image of two mammals; a human 
and a quadruped. . . showing nature's one pattern for vertebrate mammals.

Above concept, after Eliot Goldfinger.  See reference page.

Typically, the first animal figure that the art student uses as a model is the horse.
Much can be learned by understanding and using comparative anatomy to establish
correct proportion while modeling any animal.

Domestic cats can give insight into lions, cheetahs, tigers, cougars, etc.

Cats move with grace and agility, have a very flexible spine, and an excellent sense of balance.
Below, is a clay model of a cougar sculpture in progress . . . the animal uses it's long, heavy tail for balance.

Unlike most quadrupeds, a cat's shoulder blades or scapula are so loosely attached
to the ribs that they can push up above the spine when the animal crouches.

Cat in the Creamery
8"H 16"L 7"D

Monday, 29 July 2013

#447 . . . Addendum

Last week the Hall (National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum) in Oklahoma City had a 
memorial celebration for their curator and my friend, Anne Morand.  
Gerri Schaad emailed me: "It is lonely here at the museum without her".

Below is a picture taken this year at the Prix de West, shown are:
Trish, Gretchen Jeane - Director of Eduction, Gerrianne Schaad - Director of the Dickinson Research Center, 
Alexa Maples - Intern, Sandy, and Anne Morand

The art world is a better place because of her, and yes, it's lonesome without her.  

Sunday, 28 July 2013

#447: In the studio: Live models and comparative anatomy

I use domestic animals and pets as live models.  Although we also have wild animals such as deer, pheasants, ducks, fox and more on the property, they cannot be called upon to pose when needed.  However, domestic animals can substitute for wild animals and give the artist needed information by using comparative anatomy.

Currently in residence at the Lander studio headquarters are horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, and domestic geese. A few weeks ago, in a "be careful what you wish for moment",  I expressed an interest in owning goats. Besides being an additional model,  goats are easy keepers, eat weeds, and horses like them as companions.

Last week was my birthday and I was presented with two baby goats as a gift.  I'm planning a trip to Africa this
fall and know that a quadruped, such as a goat, makes an excellent model because of the similarity to wildlife
such as antelope.

Below is a photo of my two new baby goats.

There are over 90 species of antelope in Africa . . .  owning a goat and employing comparative anatomy will offer a great alternative to the various species of antelope when I return from Africa with field drawings and photographs. Although proportion and form can be vastly different, goats have similar anatomical features as antelope and most other quadrupeds.

Below is a line drawing from my sketchbook . . . created several years ago from a live model.

Below is a sculpture completed several years ago from a live model.

8"H 10"W 3"D

All drawings and sculpture copyright Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

#446: In the field and studio: "firsts"

The first great event of my life was a family summer vacation to Yellowstone when I was 13.  The Wyoming trip plunged my young life into a rich adventure which would change me forever . . . it was the beginning of a spell that the West has had on me to this day.

Having never traveled beyond Oklahoma, this event presented many "firsts" in my young life:
First time in a boat, caught my first fish - a Cutthroat Trout . . .  saw my first Elk, Antelope, Moose, Bald Eagle,
Grizzly, Bison, and Mule Deer.

The experience revealed the treasures and possibilities that lay ahead in life:  I now live just two hours from
Yellowstone and never fail to reflect upon and realize the meaning of that summer vacation long ago . . .
the vast and wondrous frontiers waiting to be explored were unveiled during that first trip out West.

 Below, a watercolor from my sketch book.

Below, a recent sculpture . . . Elk Bull and Cow Bookends  15"H 14"W 8"D

Below, a clay sketch in progress of an antelope bust

Below, a small oil study of a moose  5" x 7"

Below, dedication of Presidential Eagle at the National Museum of Wildlife Art . . . with Bill Kerr, founder 
Jackson, Wyoming

Below, Tail hook  19"H 36"L 18"D

Below, Buffalo Fragment II  18"H 17"W 7"D

All painting, sculpture and etchings - copyright Sandy Scott

Sunday, 21 July 2013

#445 . . . Addendum

Trish and I enjoyed our 23rd year at the Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Old West Museum Show last Thurs.
Saw great art, good friends, the best Wyoming steaks, sold a bronze, and met our new Governor . . .  Matt Mead . . . thank you for your hospitality at the Gov's mansion cocktail party!  Hope to see you at the Lander One Shot Antelope Hunt in Sept!

Below, Sandy and Gov Mead, and Trish with our good friend and fellow sculptor, George Lundeen.

#445 In the field and in the studio: Mule Deer

I was thirteen before I traveled beyond Oklahoma where I grew up.  My parents and younger sister, Nancy
and I spent a summer vacation below the wild peaks of the Grand Tetons and in the geyser basins of beautiful Yellowstone in Wyoming.

The event presented many "firsts" in my young life:  among them . . .  I saw my first Mule Deer.  Growing up in rural Oklahoma, Whitetail Deer are common;  but muleys are not there and they are different:  Enormous mule-like ears, black tail, forked and bifurcated antlers, and a chunky, stocky body are the most noticeable differences.

Little did I realize then, that many years later, I would live in Wyoming, only two hours from Yellowstone, live on a tributary of the Wind River where I caught my first trout so many years ago and have a resident herd of Mule Deer on my property to use as reference while pursuing a career as a wildlife artist!

Below is one of the muley bucks that hangs out around our property.  During hunting season he is not to be found!  
We don't allow hunting on the property, nor do we feed the deer . . . the bend in the river is natural seclusion for 
the herd.  This photo was taken outside my studio window.

Below is a quick block-in of a Mule Deer in progress . . . 
lots of work remains before going to mold and casting at the foundry.

Below are three original etchings depicting Mule Deer bucks . . .
Notice the antlers are bifurcated;  they "fork" as they grow, rather than 
branching from a single main beam, as is the case with Whitetail Deer.

Feels So Good

Mule Deer Buck

Trophy Muley

All sculpture and etchings - copyright Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

#444 In the studio: "Pigmalion"

No aspect of animal sculpture seems as misunderstood than the artist's deliberate humanization of an animal.
How often one hears, "Isn't that animal cute?" or "Look at the adorable expression on that critter's face."  Yes,
an animal can seem cute and adorable, and certainly, the goal of the artist is to evoke an emotional response.
However, the artist who truly knows the animal will avoid sentimentalism and the purposeful exploitation of emotion
by refraining from humanizing the creatures's expression.

The artist's dilemma can be confusing because the chosen gesture may be dignified, clumsy, intelligent, humorous, powerful, and so on . . . all adjectives that are associated with humans and all subjective!  What artist is not flattered when the viewer says "that animal has personality!" . . .  I certainly am!  At the risk of contradicting myself,
I've decided that whimsy should override sentimentalism!

Below is a closeup of a recent sculpture entitled Pigmalion.
It is a variation of an earlier, wildly popular work, entitled Eat More Beef.  

When the sculptor makes unbiased design decisions about what is considered important about the subject, 
when the artist is in touch with the reason or motive for sculpting the creature, 
when truths are understood about the animal, only then can the sculpture come to life.

Below are two images of Pigmalion in progress.

Below is Pigmalion cast in bronze.

Throughout the centuries, the pig has been defamed, insulted, and condemned as morally and physically unworthy, filthy, and stupid.  It's been my best selling subject.

All sculpture - copyright Sandy Scott

Sunday, 14 July 2013

#443 In the field: "My Source"

The most important days of one's life are spent when one is young for
that is when the foundations of what comes later is laid.  My parents laid
that foundation by taking me to Lake of the Woods, in Ontario, Canada. Later in life I bought a cabin on the north end of an island across the bay from the lodge which we had stayed, many years earlier.

Typically, in the summer and again in the fall, I spend several weeks at the cabin and attached studio.
I'm very busy at the Wyoming studio headquarters this year and must be near the foundry . . . therefore,
I won't open the camp due to a commission for the Briscoe Museum and a fall trip to Africa.  I'm not complaining . . .
but O, how I miss the island, lake, and the wildlife!

My island on Lake of the Woods holds a special place in my heart.  It represents a place of solitude where loons call, eagles cry from high pine limbs, and moose thrive in bog and muskeg.  It is flooded with memories of spring portages, of summers fishing for walleyed pike and warm autumn days hunting ruffed grouse on lonely logging roads.

Above all, this place is "my source":  Ravens, jays, pelicans, partridge, ducks, geese, beaver, fox, squirrel, wolf, deer, kingfishers, otter, mink, mergansers, cormorants, osprey, herons, gulls, woodpeckers, black bear, and the ever-present loons and eagles are common in this rugged, watery wilderness.  I've experienced these creatures in their domain as the seasons change, for my island has given me a choice seat from which to observe them and the wonders of the great Northland.

Below, is an aerial view of the island . . . the light dot you see is my boathouse.

Below, is a group of watercolor-tinted mallard etchings inspired by "my source".
Note, the various hand-wiped ink plate tones.

Original etching

Mallards Coming In
Original etching

Gray's Sporting Journal 
backcover detail - 1979
Original etching

Three Mallards
Original etching

Mason Premier Decoy - Mallard Drake
Original etching

Pair of Mallards
Original etching

All etchings - copyright Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

#442 In the studio: Roadrunner in progress

I have many sculptures in various stages of completion in the studio and I live with them as long as possible.
Over time, I continue to see the work with "fresh eyes" as I move around the models, making adjustments and "tweaking" until the inspiration and/or desire to finish or a deadline initiates the mold and foundry process.

Below is a clarified line drawing of a roadrunner.  
I begin most of my works with not only field work, but with drawings and photography.
Note the base design with the flowering cactus:
The bird's legs and tarsus are too thin to support the weight of the body when cast in bronze.
Therefore, a mass reinforcement for the figure is an important consideration but must present good design.

Below, I've blocked in the major shapes and established the essential feather groupings and concentrated on the large forms, correct proportions, and gesture.  Like all birds, the roadrunner's feathers grow in predicable sets and groups and I have arranged and organized the plumage patterns. 

Below, I am experimenting with a design alternative by putting a little snake in the bird's beak.  
The species typically feeds on snakes and lizards in the Southwest.  Although the snake works 
well in the composition, I'm not sure about using it . . . but will live with it.

Shown below, is a page from my sketch book.  Before I start a sculpture of a species new to me, I research, observe, photograph, and complete many drawings and studies of the subject.

Sculptors sculpt what they know while painters paint what they see.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

#441 Remarque: "The Red Fox in Art"

Every now and then a coffee table-type art book comes along that is a real showstopper . . . 
such is the case with John Orrelle's impressive publication, The Red Fox in Art.

In this masterful visual tribute to the Red Fox, Orrelle has presented a stunning array of images spanning centuries.  Included are Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Edwin Landseer, Bruno Liljefors, Winslow Homer, N.C. Wyeth, Carl Rungius, and many historically celebrated artists.  Twentieth century and contemporary art is represented by Bob Kuhn, Ken Carlson, Robert Bateman, Ken Bunn, yours truly, and many other wildlife artists.

With hundreds of images featured, this volume represents a unique 
achievement in the history of literature devoted to animal art.  

Skagit River Press
ISBN 978-0-9818005-1-6
Telephone: (360) 466-5953
312 Willapa Place
La Conner, WA 98257

 An image of Fox Watch introduces the book's sculpture section

Included, is Fox Rock Mantlepiece

All sculpture - copyright Sandy Scott
Fox Watch 16"H 16"W 9"D
Fox Rock Mantlepiece 11"H 18"W 6"D

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

#440 In the studio: Touch

The imprint of an artist's touch cast in bronze on the surface of a sculpture has a living presence,
as fingerprints and tool marks are a source of fascination for the viewer.

Run your hands over the surface of a beautifully modeled sculpture - 
feel the form, see with your hands.

Walk around the sculpture and use your hands and eyes to feel your way in and out of the shapes.
New forms appear at every angle -  smooth, curved shapes, vigorously modeled passages, hard edges . . .
a source of endless discovery as the sculptor leads you through space, 
giving you an experience inspire by nature.

North Fork Descent

Sculpture - copyright Sandy Scott