Wednesday, 24 June 2015

#646 Live models and comparative anatomy . . . con't

Please see the previous two blogs for more information about this post.

Before an artist can properly represent an animal in either action or at ease, an understanding
 of nature's one pattern, waypoints and bony landmarks must be understood. 
Comparative anatomy is a logical sequence of anatomical understanding and once the artist understands
the special peculiarities of various species and grasps the different characteristics of the animal, whether wild,
domestic, or even human, splendid opportunities exist for artistic expression!
Nature's one pattern, waypoints, and bony landmarks can be reviewed on the previous two blogs.  

A necessary point to remember is that our principle joints correspond to those of other mammals and birds. 
All have shoulder blades that connect to the humerus, which is attached to the radius/ulna at the elbow.
These join the bones of the wrist and hand.  There is a pelvis connected to the femur with a ball-and-socket joint . . .  
the tibia/fibula is connected to the femur at the knee and a heel, hind foot, and toes are  connected to the 
tibia/fibula at the ankle . . . all of this, common to man, mammals, and birds alike and all are vertebrates.

In man , the scapula is across the back and turned at a right angle to the plane of the body.
The scapula on a bird is covered with feathers of course and not visible . . . but, it is there.

It's not always possible for the sculptor or painter to work from live models.  Wild animal subjects such as grizzlies, 
wolves, cougars, moose, caribou, African species, etc.  are not usually available to pose for the artist.   
Much can be learned by comparing wild animal anatomy to a household pet or domestic animals that you have access to.  Begin by locating the joints (waypoints and bony landmarks) on a drawing or blocked-in clay model of your wild animal subject, then find the same joints on a pet such as your dog, cat, or horse.

The scapula or shoulder blades on quadrupeds typically stand almost upward and lean slightly in.
The scapula are easily identified by feeling down the slope of shoulder on your dog or cat to the place
where the scapula joins the end knob of the humerus . . . then follow the humerus to the elbow . . .
it is the elbow on the front limb of your dog that thrusts upward.

Next, locate the top of the hipbone and run your hand to where the femur emerges.  Then, run your hand along the femur to the knee.There's a bewildering array of shapes and proportions in the dog family . . . making them a favorite subject!

It's important to remember, that whether you're modeling a short-legged Dachshund or
 a long-legged Borzoi,  proportion is determined by the length of the skeletal bones.

"Painters paint what they see - sculptors sculpt what they know."

                                                                               - Sandy Scott

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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