Saturday, November 3, 2012

#38 anatomy of the lower leg

Ecorche's have been used by artists for many many years. They are used in art schools and in the studios of many accomplished artists. When I was a student at the Academy of Art College (now University) I was fortunate that there was a decent collection of plaster casts of anatomical models, busts, torsos, etc. in the schools collection. The very first drawing class I had to take was a foundations class on drawing. There we studied light and shadow using primarily charcoal on 18x24" white drawing paper and the plaster models were our subject matter. It was a great way to learn. Over the next couple of years at the Academy I became incredible fascinated by the human anatomy. 15 years later here I am with the same passion. For a long time I had wanted to sculpt an ecorche, but hadn't taken the time to do it. With limited time for doing anything anymore this morning I decided I'll never find the time so I have to make the time. And that is what I did. The anatomical leg measures about 9.5" tall including the base and I used a harder clay to allow for more detail. Although it is a work in progress, you can see much of the anatomy is clearly defined. The soleus and gastrocnemius, the tibialis anterior and peroneous longus. Once I finish this I will make a urethane mold in order to cast a harder material, such as resin, forton or plaster. I hope to refine that casting a little further (that the clay won't allow me to do) and then make another mold, this time a silicone mold, and offer castings for sale. Hopefully someone can use this the same way I used the anatomical models back in school.

Anatomy of lower leg (w.i.p.), approximately 9.5" tall by Sutton Betti

Friday, November 2, 2012

#37 fluidity and flow

After a request to email alternate views of two of my sculptures earlier today, I decided to post them on here. The nudes were sculpted back in 2004 from live models and molded and casted in bronze a couple of years later after I moved to Colorado. They were the beginning of a series of sculptures called simple beauty in which the model was not so much posed according to a design I had in mind, but rather doing what she thought looked natural. Of course, there is nothing new with this idea as most art schools let the model choose the pose. I had observed some artists' works whom I thought would let the model pose to their liking and noticed that the works were usually more pleasing to the eye. These were artworks that didn't have much meaning and I had guessed them to be almost 'spontaneously' created. There seems to be a flow when you let a model choose a pose. Another example of this is in a commissioned piece I am working on. Several months ago, I had four models who were to pose for a project I was hoping to get. They were willing to take direction from me and when I had them take the pose that I had in mind, everything looked static and didn't flow. So I asked them to naturally get in a pose that they were comfortable with (within certain guidelines). Well, what happened was the pose that they got into happened to be the pose I used for the maquette which ended up winning the competition. So this theory worked in the public art arena as well. My lesson was to not plan every detail out until models are hired (if they are hired) as nature usually proves to be the best option. Simple beauty was my first experiment into that idea.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

#36 remembering Mrs. Bradley

In the studio today I focused my attention on sculpting hands and several times throughout the day I was thinking of a great teacher I had and wishing that she were still with us.

Barbara Bradley was a great illustrator, teacher, and author of a book "Drawing People". She was most known for her incredible drawing skills of children. What I learned in her class is immeasurable. Some days we would go outside of our classroom and into another classroom, those of elementary school children to study their behaviors, gesture, and proportions. It was great to sit next to her and watch her draw and listen to the little insights she had of kids. I know without Mrs. Bradley's knowledge I wouldn't have been able to win this commission "Sowing the Seeds". I am applying as much as I can remember from those days long ago and I hope that she is watching from above and smiling. 

There are a lot of hands on this life size sculpture and each hand is a challenge. I do not consider hands my strongest talent, I do however realize this and I constantly work on it. Knowing that hands are the second most important part of a great sculpture, next to the face, I have to spend extra time making sure that they get plenty of attention. I was fortunate to have studied with a wonderful teacher back in the academy days as much of what I know about sculpting children was born with this great teacher, Mrs. Bradley.