- Lesson Details
In this video series master sculptor Ed Fraughton creates sculptures of animals almost entirely from imagination. You will gain a unique insight into the thought processes and working habits of a seasoned master sculptor. In this video lesson Ed Fraughton creates a galloping horse, full of movement using oil based clay.
- Chavant Le Beau Touché Clay
- Wood Scraps
- Threaded Dowel
- Nuts and Washers
- Electric Drill
- Needle Nose Pliers
- 3/16″ Aluminum Wire
- Tape Measure
- Wire Clay Cutter
- Cyanoacrylate Glue
- 3/4″ Thick Melamine Square
- Modeling Stand
- Sculpture House Rake Tools
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
from imagination. You will gain a unique insight into the thought processes and
working habits of a seasoned master sculptor.
In this video lesson, Ed Fraughton creates a galloping horse full of movement
using oil-based clay.
to learn to sculpt a horse, build the armature, talk about the skeletal frame of a horse,
the muscles that are important to understanding how that skeletal frame functions, and then
take it through to completion. In this particular exercise we’re using clay made by Chavant
company, a professional clay that has sulfur and formaldehyde in it. They have newer clays
that are inert so you can buy a clay that’s—you don’t have to worry about the fumes and
the dirt and dust from it. This is the clay that I prefer to work with to get the best
result. I keep my tools relatively clean.
I’m using that tools that often come or most often come from a manufacturer in New
York called Sculpture House. Over the years I’ve come to modify some of their tools,
so I actually make my own. The smaller tool is one that I made because I can’t find
a tool that fits my hand or does the intricate details like I like to do. So I built my own
small tool. Notice how few tools we’re going to use. Basically, we’re going to learn
to understand how intuitive and how sensitive our hands are. The best sculptures really
are created by the hand and the sense of touch that we have to create the right look of a
horse or the right shapes that we’re after. Learn how to fold and manipulate the clay.
So the hands are the best tools we have. So we’ll talk about that. And we’ll talk
about a bit of philosophy along the way that hopefully will inspire you to want to study
a little bit more and where you might find more information about the subject you’re
doing. So this is a horse we started. We blocked it in. It’s coming out to look like a young
horse because it has longer legs, shorter body, smaller head. So let’s get started.
Today we’re going to talk about a simple way to build armatures. A horse is a pretty
intimidating piece of a sculpture, especially for a beginner, so it helps to know how to
build an armature. But we’ll keep it very simple today. We’ve gathered some tools
and materials. We have a threaded dowel here that I’ve already cut to about the size.
We’re just guessing on the size that we’re going to use for the final. I’m going to
simply drill a hole for this threaded dowel. The hole will be slightly smaller than this
so you don’t really need to make a complicated device to put it together. So we’ll drill
a hole in the center not quite going all the way through.
Put the dowel in. I would suggest you unscrew the
nut on the end so you don’t foul up the threads. You may need to take these nuts off.
Now you have a very rigid up and down support system.
What I’m concerned about when I build an armature, I always try to give myself enough
room at the bottom so that I can build clay underneath. My thinking as a sculptor is I
don’t want to build a piece of sculpture that comes down and attaches to this piece
of wood. I want to leave enough room so that I can build a base under it. The base then
becomes a part of the design of the piece itself. Then we have these nuts in place.
I have some pieces of wood, which are simply to fill in holes when I get the body of the
horse so that I can save a little bit of clay. That’s a good point to think about when
you build larger pieces of sculpture because you don’t want to use clay for the body
of a horse if you’re building a sculpture 6 feet high. You want to fill it full of something.
So we’re going to start very simply with a couple of nuts, a couple of washers, and
we’re going to build the head of the horse.
The purpose of the armature is to give something
stable for the clay to hang on to. Quite often we would also wrap this wire with another
smaller piece of wire so the clay will hang on a little bit better. As we do this, this
is going to be somewhat loose and flexible process.
I’m not exactly sure where that head has to be at on the
body of the horse so I’ll make this so I can actually adjust it later if I need to.
I’ll just take one wrap around here.
Sometimes you need more fingers than you actually have. There we go.
Everything is flexible so we can always cut the armature shorter. We can lengthen it.
We can do all kind of things if we need to. This is going to represent the body of the horse.
One of the things that I try to do is if you do a horse you’ll want to get
some anatomy books. When you do one of the first things you’ll notice is the spinal
column on the horse doesn’t come right up the back of the neck of the horse. It comes
down into the middle of the body. So it’s a nice way to adjust the length of the horse’s
head by just simply making that bend in the body.
I’m actually going to cut this off so I can build
a body for the horse and build legs.
The legs, if you take the point of the
shoulder of the horse, follow it down to the ground and measure that dimension. Now, I
need a little bit extra here because in the clay base I’m going to need some extra length
of wire to attach to the base to keep the leg from moving around. So I’m going to
attach the legs, and tie them in later with a little bit of tie wire
so they don’t move around quite so much.
Same with the rump of the horse. The tail we’ll stick in later
because the tail can go almost anywhere. It could be up in the air. It could be tied into
the leg of the horse. It could be a lot of things. What I tend to do is not make an armature
that’s too complicated. Many people I’ve watched build armatures,
and they try to do every little detail.
One person that I was teaching in the past had her husband build a great armature for
a horse. He even put an armature in the ears of the horse, and unfortunately he knew nothing
about the proportion of the ears and they were about a foot and a half apart. So you
have to be careful. If you build an armature that’s too heavy and too complicated it
may not even fit what you end up doing.
My whole theory on building an armature is keep it simple. When you’re building, doing
a face or a heat or something else simple oftentimes you don’t need an armature at
all. If you do, the system I’ve shown here with this little rod, you can do that with
a piece of wood. You’ve all heard that you can’t put a square peg in a round hole.
Well, often I’ll drill a round hole and take a piece of wood that’s basically square
and make the hole undersize and then sharpen the end just a little bit so it’ll start
in the hole, and then pound it in with a hammer, a little ball peen hammer or something. That
thing is so strong you just can’t take it apart. And if you add a dab of glue to it
and let it dry overnight it’s almost unbreakable. So you have a perfectly strong armature.
The reason I used here a threaded dowel is now I can adjust this body up and down. Hopefully
I’ve left enough room at the bottom. It may be a little difficult to see what I’m
doing, but the leg of the horse, where the hoof, the bottom of the hoof comes, if you
measure the body from the withers, the point of the shoulder back, this whole front end
of the horse to the—there’s a bone that sticks out in the rear end of the horse, and
that bone to the point of the shoulder is the same length as the top of the withers
down to the bottom of the legs of the horse. So it’s like a square box. So when you take
your tape if you’re figuring out a specific size you want to make this figure the length
of the horse. We’ve got right now 7 inches. So we need 7 inches to where the bottom of
the foot we’ll come on there. So we can kind of indicate it like that just for now.
Keep it simple.
Oftentimes even doing horses I don’t even build an armature. I’ll add a piece of wire
later. If I have the body of the horse here I can add a leg or some other part by just
taking a piece of wire and sticking it up through the leg. One horse I did a short time
ago that we did a film of—the leg wouldn’t stay in place because the strength of this
was too flimsy. So I took a welding rod and pounded it up through the leg to give it more
support. So there are lot of things you can do after the fact so you don’t have to have
all this stuff figured out in fine detail to begin with.
Now I’m going to create a rib cage, and the reason I do that is just to give you an
idea that I realize we’re not talking much about the proportion of the rib cage right
now because you can get in and twist the wire and use up space. So again, you make it somewhat
flexible. But if I build the rib cage, again, it’s a way of holding on to clay.
But it also gives you an opportunity to fill space so you can put crumpled up paper in here.
The few pieces of wood I have I got for that purpose, just to use up a little room
so I won’t use quite as much clay.
I realize this looks very crude at this point.
But that’s all you need for an armature, just something for the clay to hold on to, and something
very flexible so you can move it around. You can distort it. You can turn the body. You
can do whatever you want. You feel the freedom to move things around wherever you need them to be.
I should’ve gotten a little more of this on this side of the upright so
we will just…
I’ll just screw that down a little bit.
Alright. That’s pretty much all we need to do to start the armature.
Now, building the armature I can tell you there’s one other thing about the proportions
of a horse that most people miss. The front and the back legs are not like the goalpost
at the end of a football field. Many people when they build an armature they’ll put
the legs straight up and down. And when we walk as people you notice where are footprints
go. If you draw a line, a straight line, one foot goes on one side and the other on the
other side, so the body balances, but it walks down a relative straight line. Same with an
animal. The legs come out to the great trochanters of the femur which are very wide here in the
hips. So when you do the legs you want to build the leg coming out at the back end like
this. Again, if it’s out of proportion a little bit we can always adjust that. But
we want to recognize the fact that the legs come wide at the top, then the bones come
together where it comes into the area of the hock, which is called the calcaneus bone,
our heel bone. Then the legs come in at that point and are a little closer. Especially
in the front you’ll notice this. So you come out—the front end of the horse, the
elbow has to come around the rib cage. The rib cage actually gets very narrow in the
front area. If you’re a horse person I recommend you go hug your horse occasionally and see
how narrow the rib cage is right behind where the front legs come in. Then the leg comes
in, and there is a little pocket right there that where the elbow—this is the elbow,
sticks in there on each side.
Then the leg comes in.
Again, if you’re standing up straight look at your legs. You’ll feel the great trochanter
of the femurs, where the hip bone is, and then notice how the knees almost come together
so they touch each other. The horse’s leg is shaped the same way. So when you build
a piece of sculpture of a horse, now you’re going to have those legs come in on the front
legs and the hind legs. Now this is going to be an academic process for the beginning,
but as we further refine it we’re going to let the clay take over. We’re going to
create something that has meaning and has a story. We can enhance this with more armature
material if we’d like, and we can add some wood just as a filler or some other material.
A piece of plastic. We can add some paper, whatever we want, just to fill this space
in because we really don’t need to fill that with clay. I’ll just put a couple of
small pieces of wood in here to fill that space.
The meaning of armature, an armature is a structure upon which something else is built.
So we call it an armature in sculpture because it’s just the framework. It might be good
to speak a little bit about the anatomy because anatomy is extremely important. When you’re
creating a work of art, it doesn’t matter if it’s a human figure, an animal figure.
But if you were to take all of the muscles off the figure, if you were to take all the
bones out of the figure what would the figure look like? Well, it would be just a mass of
protoplasm with no real forms. So the form and sculpture depends on this tremendously,
the skeletal frame. The skeletal frame is really the architectural frame of the figure
or the body, the animal. So if you create an armature now that’s going to fit that
architectural frame, and you make it flexible enough that you can bend and twist it.
rotate. You know, as we walk one shoulder goes forward, and that hip goes back. One
hip goes forward, and the opposite goes back. The spinal column twists. So we have an axis
of twists that goes this way, this way, and this way. So when you’re walking you have
that dynamic. If you don’t understand that when you’re creating sculpture then you
can’t replicate it. It all depends on the skeletal frame that you start with. So see
what we have here, something very flexible. Not very complicated. It took us five minutes
to build an armature so from here we’ll proceed and begin to add some clay.
Whenever I do a piece of sculpture I use visual aids. I do drawings. I collect photographs.
I go through anatomy books. It’s almost as if, you know, your mind fades and you forget
some of the important things you want to remember so you need some visual aids. I never copy
anything virtually that I’m looking at. Many people get the idea that, you know, where
does this idea come from? Did you have a picture to work from? Did you have a drawing? Drawings
and pictures are two-dimensional. So I’m actually sculpting.
I’m sketching as I’m sculpting.
So here we have some clay and tools. These are typical rake and loop tools that are used
by sculptors. I have various sizes here. Surprisingly, I’m going to begin using the largest of
the tools and then work my way down as it gets a little more refined. We don’t really
start out by trying to find detail in a piece. We’re just generally blocking things in.
This is a clay cutter wire. You can easily make with a piece of wire and two sticks that
you just wrap the wire around and stretch it out.
We’re cutting the clay. This is normally how I cut clay. You can cut it longitudinally.
This gives you pieces of clay now that you can work with. You may have to warm your clay
up first so that it’s easier to cut and easier to model.
I’ll cut it into slabs like this, cut it into smaller segments.
Put those segments together. Cut them.
So let's just start blocking in here. I’ll cut as I go. I put a couple of pieces of wood just
to fill spaces I said earlier, but we’ll start with the body of the horse.
You'll need to push it into the armature so it’ll hold. That’s the whole idea of the armature.
You want this perpendicular support to stick out in a place that you can get around it
later when you build a mold. If it comes out on the chest it’s a good thing. If it comes
out on the belly it’s a good thing. But this gives you lots of flexibility on bending
the rib cage to the place you finally are going to leave it.
Okay, so we’re getting clay just to stick to the armature for now. The proportion of
a horse, one of the reasons it’s a good idea to start with the horse in a standing
position, I think we can talk about some of the proportions better in a standing position.
A little mallet helps or just a stick of wood to beat the armature around to where you need
it to be and to help the clay adhere a little bit better.
I’ll get the body going, get a sense of proportion, dimension.
Once again, if the neck isn’t quite right I can bend
it down here to shorten it or bend it higher to lengthen it.
This is sort of the academic approach, and then a little later on as we get into this piece then we’ll start bending
and twisting it. So you’ll see then the importance for making an armature that’s
very flexible. It doesn’t tie you down. If you spend too much time on the armature
and make it too explicit you’ll be stuck later on when you want to make a change. This
way we can make changes very freely and easily. We want it to flow. In fact, that’s part
of the problem with some of the ancient pieces of art. They were too stiff and straight.
Now sculpture is very different than painting and drawing, as you see. You do something
that looks good from one angle. You turn it to the other side, and suddenly it doesn’t
look so good anymore. So we’re redoing this from every angle, even underneath and overhead
instead of having a straight horse like this.
As a young boy I remember looking at toy animals, horses, soldiers, and I would turn the piece
one way and look at it and turn it the other way and look at it, and one side looked exactly
like the other. I thought, well, that’s not very interesting. Why didn’t he do something
different over here? I had this curious mind even as a young boy, and I’m sure many of
you who do art the reason you do is because you have a great curious mind. If you have
a little talent to go with it that’s a great place to start, but talent alone is not the
way to get there. But it’s a wonderful place to start. Just do it for the love of doing
it. Look for the shape of the animal.
Someone once said that sculpture is really tough. They ask the sculptor how do you do
that? He said, well, really it’s very easy. For example, if you have a stone and you want
to make into a elephant, you just chisel everything away that doesn’t look like an elephant.
Clay is a little different because you don’t have to chisel it away, but you’re looking
for the animal, and after awhile this will be. For awhile it’ll be very academic looking.
It’s just a horse, but it’ll take on a life of its own.
Ultimately, that’s what we’re looking for.
The shoulders now come at a right angle, excuse me, at a 45 degree angle to the plane of the
body. If the horse is standing straight up and down the angle on this shoulder blade
will be in a 45-degree angle. I knew a great illustrator once who did lessons on television
about how to draw animals, and people were fascinated because he just started with a
series of circles. He drew a circle for the rib cage. He drew a circle for the rump of
the horse. He drew another circle for the head, and then he just connected that with
another little series of lines, and it made it look so easy and so simple.
Well, that’s kind of the way we draw when we’re young and in grade school. We have
to try to figure out how to draw a horse. Well, if you can learn to see the rib cage
and just draw a big circle or oval to represent the rib cage and then another oval for the
head, another oval for the rump, and then start refining it from there. That pretty
well defines the general shape of the horse. When you see a horse from a distance you don’t
see all the detail anyway. So start with general shapes.
Rolls of clay. I make little rolls in my hand. I just roll the clay like this. It makes the
clay very easy to apply, and it goes quite quickly, actually.
See, with this flexible armature, if we want this horse
to be in a turn or something we can bend and twist that
wherever we decide we want to put it later on. We can stretch the head out. We can begin
to give it some expression right from the very beginning.
Now, I’m going to start putting a little clay on the—I’ll build the rump first.
Remember what I said about the hip bones sticking out. The hip bone starts up here on the horse,
but in anatomical terms it’s called the anterior-superior crest of the ileum. So this
is actually the pelvic girdle here. There’s a bone, the ischium bone that sticks out on
the back, there are two parts to it. But it’s the bone we sit on when we’re in a sitting
position. So you know where the crest of your hip is. Right in front of that hip from the
crest on top and the ischium bone on the bottom, this is where the hip bone articulates. It’s
a big ball socket joint in there. So we’ve got to build that out enough so that it gives
enough width to the horse. If you don’t do that then the rump of the horse is going
to look very funny because it’ll be too narrow, too skinny, and it just won’t have
any strength. We’ll show you what we do with that later to give it power and force.
On the front end, the legs on the front end usually are under this part of the animal,
and if you look at the weight, with the weight going forward then you need to catch the balance
out front. But the forelegs are really more for balance than they are for strength. But
the hindquarters are there to supply the power to the hind legs to move. I’m tending to
give it a little bit of motion, which I don’t mean to, just give you this first part.
When I was a young boy I drew pictures of horses. I loved horses. I kept drawing pictures
of horses, but I had a problem figuring out the complexity of the legs. They had so many
joints in the hind leg. You know, this joint comes up here in the hock, and it bends this
way forward. In the front leg the front leg comes out and bends back like our wrist. That’s
really what it is. As a young child I didn’t make that connection with the human anatomy,
but once I studied anatomy and really understood that, you can apply the knowledge from one
thing to another. So I call it applied anatomy. I actually dissected cadavers and took the
equivalent of a medical course in gross anatomy. Not meaning what we think the word gross means,
which is something gross, something uncomfortable. But gross, the German term means large; it
means big. I think the origin of the word has to do with you study anatomy from the
inside out so you get a big concept of what anatomy really is all about. When you dissect
a cadaver it’s very different than just looking at books and knowing where the muscles
originate and end and the shapes of the bones.
The importance of the form underneath whatever you’re doing, whether it’s an animal or
a human, we’re going to try to find the frame, the architectural frame that all these
muscles hang on. So as I work, the thing I’m concerned about right now is where are these
big bony parts of the body that affect this shape. I have a ruler here, and I’m just
going to show you where we are right now. We’re about 9 inches long in the body. So
we’re going to be about 9 inches high. So if these legs were straight up and down you
just draw a box, and the front legs, they’re going to go back a little bit, but the point
of the shoulder, the rump of the horse, 9 inches high.
After you’ve done this a number of times then you can trust your eye a little bit more,
but the first time around it’s good to have either calipers or have a ruler handy and
have your anatomy books handy so that you can study the proportions. Otherwise, there
is a tendency—we all have a natural tendency to do things that are not accurate and we’ll
make those mistakes almost invariably unless somebody points it out to them.
Hopefully, this will be helpful to understand how important this anatomical frame is underneath.
So I’m going to now, I’ve just been sticking clay on it to get it to hold. You’ll notice
as I start refining and pulling things together I’m going to use this heavy rake tool. You
can see the kind of texture lines it makes. But it tends to pull things together.
Now, you see I get this shape going pretty well. Now, I turn it around and there is nothing
there. So I’ve got to work on that same basic thing from this side.
Actually, a stick is a great thing to use because you can unify things, pull them together.
You can use some pretty crude instruments in doing sculpture. Use rock and use wood.
Use a hammer. This hammer is a little large for me today, but sometimes I just need to
pound the clay in to change the shape of the armature. Need to flatten it right there.
One of the things that will stabilize this is later on when I tie the legs into the base.
Now, it’s just kind of flopping around freely. But once I tie this down, and I can always
add stiffeners of some kind, or I can even alter the whole armature if I’m willing
to go in and cut away. Once you get something down there you’re not stuck with it. You
can always cut back into it like that and get right down to the armature and alter or
change it if you want. An attitude to maybe work on developing is nothing is sacred that
you’re doing, and if you do something and suddenly it looks right, there’s a natural
fear of changing it. For example, if I started working on the head of the horse too soon
and the head was out of proportion to the figure, I’d never change that head because
I’ve worked too much, I’ve put too much time into modeling the head. I’m just not
going to change it. My advice to the beginner and the person, the even more advanced student
is don’t start putting detail in until the very end when it is important for it. You
don’t need to start working on the eyes before you have the body figure out. So my
suggestion is to generally block this in and look for the character to come out of the animal.
I never copy a two-dimensional or photograph, as I said earlier because then suddenly the
art fails to develop its own life. What I’m doing is I’m letting the clay talk to me
as I’m modeling it, and I need to learn the language of, you know, how do I speak
to the clay. How does it speak back? So if you put something in the wrong place, the
nice thing about defining the architectural
frame is if you put something down
wrong, at some point you’ll notice it. If you put it down and it’s very vague you’ll
never quite understand what it is you need to do to fix it. So be bold in your blocking
in of these various parts. I’m not using my cutting tool because the clay is warm enough
to cut with this big tool.
Now this is the elbow of the horse, so when I put that in there I’m not just putting
a shape in there. I’m going to build this bony protuberance from the elbow joint. You
can feel your own elbow. Feel what it feels like. The horse has a different proportion
to it, but it has the same basic structure, the same bony protuberances and bumps and
hollows, so you can actually check your own anatomy to figure out
how you need to do a horse’s anatomy.
This is called the withers and people that do animals notice that first of all the spinal
column is clear down inside the body. Again, if you check anatomy books the spine is clear
down here, but it has spiny protuberances that come out of the spine to create this
feeling along the backbone then. There are muscles lining those bony spines that come
up and connect to those spiny protuberances. That’s what we see as the backbone.
But it’s not really it. The backbone is down inside, and it’s all muscle that’s in
between there. Make sure you make that hollow
enough that you can create the shape of the rib cage underneath.
Here is the rib cage. We’re going to define where it is.
Normally, I don’t draw on clay except if I’m, it’s a little like a road map. You’re drawing
a boundary or an area that you want to think of and define.
If I can refer to what I call amateurish sculpture, often people create a shape, and the shape
is more like a sack of potatoes. On this shape they’ll draw lines. The reason for that
is we’ve been disciplined from the time we were very young we have a piece of paper,
we have some flat surface to create a symbol of what the real world is like, and we tend
to draw lines to do that. For example, here we would draw a line to indicate the outline
of the belly of the horse or the back of the horse or the top of the horse’s neck. We
draw a line, but is there a line there? No. You turn the piece. There is no line there.
It’s just the form we’re seeing against a background.
Sculpture is different in that we have to really create the form. No matter what kind
of lighting on the piece or how we rotate it, what angle we look at it from, we still
see a horse. It has proper dimension. It has movement. It has power. It doesn’t flatten
out. Now, if I’m not turning this thing constantly then it’s going to have a tendency
to get flat on one side, maybe longer one side than it is the other. It gets out of
proportion. Huge mistake to watch for is we’re used to looking. If we do a human figure we’re
used to looking at people that we’re interacting with at face level. And as we look at their
head and their face we make the rest of the body in perspective going away. So the head
ends up being much too large, and the body much too short. But because we’ve already
put an armature down, and now we’re building the body right to the board we will never
change the lower part of that body or the head if we put a lot of refinement in it.
So we tend to just continue to create it out of proportion, one part to another. So for
that reason you need to keep reminding yourself to turn the piece, look for the bony structure.
On the crest of this ileum there is a little front of the ileum that sticks up there that
makes a point. It comes out here now. The thing I discovered very early on as a sculptor
was you can establish points of the skeleton as you’re working, but somehow they seem
to disappear. They erode away whether it’s just your hand continually to touch the piece.
This is probably going to grow a little bit larger in size because I’ll keep building
up these bony ends of the lines.
There is a great story that was, one of the stories left over from college that really
had significance to me was a story about a famous artist, and I believe it was Watteau,
a French draftsman and artist, a painter, who did the most elegant drawings. He was
asked once, “So, Mr. Watteau, what is your secret? What is it you do that nobody else
can do? He said, well, of course, I have no secrets, but when I do a drawing I concern
myself with the ends of the linens. The middles take care of themselves.” That was
such a profound statement, and I’ve never heard it since or before, but to me it’s
significant in sculpture because if you concern yourself with the ends of the lines the middles
will help take care of themselves. So you can spend all the time you want modeling muscles,
but if the muscles are not connected to make the skeletal frame function, muscles by themselves
mean absolutely nothing. They’re just strange shapes.
So I’m always going back and putting in this point on the hip right here, the great
trochanter here or the hip. I should have said the pelvis here, the front of the pelvis.
The rear of the pelvis. I’m always adding those back in. I think the viewer can see
how that now gives a place to connect the muscles that come down now. I want to do the
same here in the knee. I’m going to build a bone here so the muscle has something to
connect to. If the bone is in the wrong place, my eye will tell me. But if that just fades
away into some nondescript shape, I’ll never be able to see the error. So be bold in the
way that you attack your work. Bold in that you’re willing to take big chances, put
big things in. Use large tools. It’s a relatively small piece but I’m using large tools.
I need to define the shape of that rib cage again. It also needs to come together right
here. Go hug your horse and see how wide that is and the space between the legs is very narrow.
But behind it is quite thick and wide. I hope this is showing up
so you can see the shadows.
Now, a good way to check this is rotate it too from the side and so now you begin to
see, okay, how much more width do I need. Does this look like a horse as viewed from
the backside? How wide does this back part of the rib cage stick out? If you go look
at a horse you’ll find it’s actually fairly wide. I’ll watch this shoulder change when
I add that piece right there, shoulder blade.
I do that to emphasize the need for a skeletal
frame so you can see that. I’ll put the elbow here.
Alright, this is quite a bit exaggerated. You can see the shoulder. I don’t want to
lose it. I make sure it put it in there then we’ll come back later. When we refine at
least we’ve got something to go by. The point I made earlier about if you don’t
put it in there then you won’t see it. But if you do put it in then it’s pretty easy
to pinpoint your errors or where it needs more work. I’ll keep putting that bone back
on right there, the elbow.
Obviously, right now I don’t have a horse just standing;
he’s already moving.
See how that looks from the rear. There’s not much there yet.
I’ll go ahead and put some meat on his hindquarter. Build up this left side.
The nice thing about doing something in the round, unlike painting, is now we can go through
the same process on the left side so you can see it happen again. It’s a great way to
review. The lighting is a little different. Maybe you’ll see it differently.
The crest of the ileum.
The ischium bone. There is always a protuberance right here in the rump.
Pull the two sides together here.
Again, the great trochanter of the femur. So this bone comes down. It’s the ball socket joint
of the bone, and the bone is actually shaped, a little bit of an arch shape that comes forward
like this toward the kneecap. So the patella is right inside there. For those of you know
a little bit about the anatomy, the kneecap is the patella. We’ll talk about some of
these muscles later on as we begin to develop them.
Okay, so refining. Further refining. When I’m doing an animal I’m actually thinking
of human anatomy because this is the scapula on the horse. The sternocleidomastoid muscle
that’s in the neck of a human is also in the neck of the horse, but they don’t have
a clavicle like we do. When we come to the center here there is one bone that goes up
the front of the chest, ties the rib cage together. It’s not really like the sternum.
Then there are no clavicles in here. So the whole shoulder floats. The muscles that connect
the leg of the horse to the body of the horse, normally there is always a bony connection,
and for us in our shoulder it’s the clavicle bone here that connects to the sternum. But
since a horse does not have a clavicle, his
shoulder blade just kind of rides around loose
on the rest of the body. It moves backward and forward. Of course, all these bones are
connected to that scapula bone. This will
be the triceps in here connecting to this.
Again, it’s the elbow joint right here. They have a radius and an ulna, but the radius
just kind of ends. It doesn’t really do anything. A horse cannot articulate like we
can, turning the hand side to side. If you’re leading a horse you know to stand right next
to the leg. They can’t turn their leg around like that and hit you. They can rotate the
whole shoulder or rotate their rump and still get you. But if you’re right next to a horse,
right up against his upper arm it’s very hard for a horse to kick you.
Again, these adductor muscles add—adductor means you add to the body; you pull it in.
Abductor you extend. Adductors in the hand are here, adductors this way to extend. Same
thing in the animal. So the old rule that for every action there is an opposite and
equal reaction is particularly true in the way the body works because if you extend an
arm out or a hand one way you have to have muscles that are going to contract it in the
opposite direction as well. So that’s how we get motion.
Okay, you can kind of see how important that elbow joint is right there. Now, I’m going
to go back to this big tool and start pulling a few of those things together. Texture lines
in sculpture—I guess maybe I should back up just a little bit. Many people, when I’m
working on a piece of sculpture, they’ll come in and say, oh, Mr. Fraughton, when are
you going to start smoothing that? To me, smoothing is kind of a dirty word because
I never smooth anything. Smoothing takes the life out of it. When you look at sculpture
that’s really smooth on the surface usually it looks kind of dead. There is not much life
in it. Conversely, if you put textures in you pull all these lines together. It’s
like pulling the skin over the skeleton. So you’ve defined the muscles now.
Let's have this muscle coming back down off the structure of the shoulder, the bone.
Okay, the scapula on the horse is very reminiscent of the human scapula. For example, here is
a human scapula. See how flat this muscle is? Now it’s a very different shape than
it is on a horse. This is actually the scapula on the right side so it should be over here.
So here’s the ball socket joint right in this area. Right down the top of this is a
bony protuberance called the spine of the scapula. See this right here. So you have
the supraspinatus over the top and the infraspinatus underneath. So if you define those and keep
referring back to them as you go so that you never lose them. Once you’ve lost them the
sculpture becomes weak. So keep defining those bony structures.
I started to describe how you pull textures. The way to do that is to tie the—once you’ve
defined the skeletal frame and then know where the muscles go under it then you pull this
tool across those long lines and create a feeling of the tissue, the skin tissue pulling
across the muscles and the bony protuberances. So we usually end up actually with a little
hollow right in there where that spine of the scapula is. So you see this little line
right there. It’s not sticking out because the muscles attach to it, and then the muscles
stick out. Quite often people will make that bony protuberance and make it stick out. Well,
if you had a real thin horse, you know, one that’s starving, it might stick out. But
typically the muscle around it is what sticks out. So you kind of indicate where the bone
is by cutting a little indentation there.
Again, if we look at this scapula there is a nice concave surface there, and it’s the
ball of the humerus that fits there, and that explains why the upper arm can rotate from
side to side and up and down. So it extends, which gives us mobility. If we were a creature
that crawled on the ground or walked on the ground we’d need to extend that arm forward
and plant it in a point of rotation. So it’s actually our spinal column that rotates around
the point that contacts the Earth, which is usually the hoof or the foot or whatever.
Imagine, for example, if what we learn about evolution is true, the fish in the sea grew
a spinal column. Well, the spinal column allowed them to wiggle through the water, but when
they got on land it’s a problem, so they had some fins, some dorsal fins and some lateral
fins that allowed them then to if you grew an arm out of there, and you’ll notice some
sea creatures like sea lions, for example, they’ve got an arm and a hand just very
much like humans. We weren’t created with wheels so we have to have a way to go across
the ground. That requires planting a foot then planting the other foot, but the spinal
column has to actually rotate around where that foot is planted. So that gives a nice
S-shaped curve to the composition.
I had a sculptor friend once who said that he had really discovered something great,
and I said, well, what have you discovered? He said, “Well, I do all these horses all
the time. I found a great way to save time. What I did was I just created a body for a
horse, and then I created legs that, you know, some are extended, some straight. All I have
to do is cast all these pieces and hook them together, and I’ve got a horse in any shape
you want.” I said, that’s alright, I guess, but what about the spinal column? The spinal
column moves; it rotates. You have to move and rotate around that. Again, most artists,
most sculptors who call themselves sculptors, if you look at their work they’re not rotating
the spinal column. In a human it’s beautiful because it’s standing upright so you can
look at the back of the figure and you can see this beautiful S-shaped curve. You know,
the hips are—if I’m standing in front of you normally I’m not standing on both
legs. I’m standing on one and not the other, so I’m standing on my left foot. My left
foot is right under my center of balance. It’s under my sterna notch. My hips now
are on an inclined plane in this direction. Well, typically my shoulders will be the opposite.
This shoulder will be low, and this one will be high. The spinal column, now it’s coming
out of the pelvis. It has to bend this direction. So to compensate it bends in the other direction.
So the upper part of the torso is going to be on this kind of a line. Oftentimes the
head will go this way or that way. But when you do a figure you can bend and twist it.
Always twist the spine and also rotate it. This, the left hip on me now is forward. The
left shoulder is back. The right shoulder is forward. The right hip is back. So you
get just opposite reactions, which is what makes motion look so great and glorious. If
you study horses, horses have so many different gaits that they can travel in, and of course,
they train them to do different gaits for different things. Just study horses.
In today’s world we can get video tapes and movies, and we can watch the action. We
can freeze the action in time and see what’s really going on. In fact, there was a really
famous photographer, around the turn of the century, meaning 20th century, so early 1900s.
He set up a series of cameras and took pictures of animals running, and he did one on people
in motion. People were riding animals. There were trip wires so that as the horse would
run through they would hit the shutter of each of these cameras. He took all these pictures.
Really, that was the beginning of moving pictures. So you can find these books by Muybridge and
study animals in motion and humans in motion, and they’re some of the most incredible
pieces of reference material out there even to this day.
You know, we’re so much more sophisticated with the cameras and the equipment we have
today, but nobody yet has done better, a better treatment of animals and humans in motion
than Eadweard Muybridge, so you might want to look for that book.
Oftentimes when I’ve done studies in the past, as I said earlier, I don’t copy anything.
I’ve already mentioned that I don’t really copy from pictures. I’m not trying to have
the photographer or even do a drawing that solves all of the problems of design. I don’t
start with drawings, but I often go to reference Muybridge’s animals in motion. So for example,
if I’ve got a horse jumping or a horse doing some action that I’ve got to find, well,
where are those legs really. I’ve seen people that copy—a good example is a few years
ago cameras weren’t quite so sophisticated, so at the finish line of a horse race, they
would take a picture of the horse that crossed the finish line first, so that’s where the
photo finish idea came from. So you look at the photos and they didn’t have a camera
shutter that would fire fast enough without the horse being a blur. So someone invented
what they called a curtain shutter. Of course, the shutter is on old film. We don’t have
it so much on video tape these days, electronic photographs, but the old mechanical cameras
had a diaphragm inside that expanded and opened and closed, so it was a mechanical shutter.
It would only fire so fast you could get it up to maybe a hundredth of a second. That’s
about the most you could get out of it because if it’s physical and structural limitations.
So somebody came up with an idea once. They said, well, what if we create a curtain shutter
that is just curtain on the back of one of these old big cameras that took film holder.
The curtain will move across the film and expose it, and it’ll move so fast that you’ll
just be exposing a tiny part of it. So we can catch the horse’s nose as it crosses
the finish line and take the picture.
Well, a lot of these pictures in the horse magazines that artists began copying were
photographs taken with this curtain shutter. What they didn’t realize is the exposure
on this part of the picture is not the same time as this. The horse is moving before that
shutter got all the way across. So you see the pastern on the horse’s foot stretched
way out. You see distorted, elongated horses. So I’ve seen people actually do sculpture
of distorted elongated horses that look like a photograph taken with a curtain shutter.
So it’s good to learn how to observe and understand the physical limitation of cameras
or whatever you’re using to help you capture an image. Photographs, I use them for reference
only, but I’m usually checking the structure of the horse, either their leg or their chest
or even the underside. There aren’t a lot of photographs of the underside of the horse.
But when you see the underside and what it really looks like and then see the legs in
relation to that underside then you get a clue of how this leg comes out and comes in
on the upper part of the leg. Then the leg kind of straightens out so it comes down,
and then it goes straight to the lower part the leg. So you’ll actually get a line coming
in on an angle. If you don’t get that right it’ll show in your work. I’ve judged shows.
I’ve seen so many artists’ works. They bring it in and they show me, and I can just
glance at it, and I can see it from yards away that they just don’t understand the
structure and how the body moves and why it works the way it does. So that leg has to
be straightened out right in there. The hoof comes down here.
So that’s why my armature needs to be flexible. I can bend and twist that when it isn’t
quite right. Now, one of the things I’d like to do is, and I don’t need a ruler
to check this, but if I’m checking this dimension from the point of the shoulder to
the rump it should come out about the same as the height here. My leg has to end
right about where this little tool is.
Okay, so I’m a little long here. Oftentimes, most
of us get the lower part, the leg of the horse too long. That bone is not as lengthy as it looks.
If you study very carefully the photographs of horses, you’ll see that this lower leg
is—that bone is really not all that long.
What you’re really trying to do is train your eye.
Let’s assume that you have a little bit of artistic talent, or at least you’re
wanting to explore and discover if you do have a talent. You realize it’s not all
talent that does this. So many people today, and I blame really some of the modern art
schools for this because they make art sound like, well, if you don’t understand it there’s
something wrong with you. Well, it isn’t really that sophisticated. What you need to
do is teach yourself how to learn. My first art teacher, and I was in college before I
had my first art lesson, really, or art class. The first question he asked the class was
how many of you signed up for this class and are here because you think I can teach you
to draw? Of course, a few hands went up. He said, I cannot teach you to draw. But, if
you pay close attention and listen to what I say I can teach you how to learn to draw.
So the whole process of art is learning to see things. Training your eye. Knowing what
to look for. Before this, you just go by total intuition. That’s the ingredient we usually
refer to as talent. But what does talent really mean? Talent only goes as far as your knowledge
and experience will let you go.
So what we’re trying to do is teach you how to learn to see better than you do today.
So when you look at a horse now you’re going to start looking for some of these points.
The skeletal frame, first of all. Watch what happens when I add this. Again, it’s the
calcaneus bone coming from below and the Achilles tendon. See how smooth that looks back there.
But, when we add that, suddenly that leg has power and structure, movement, meaning. It
means something because now we’ve got the joint here in the knee, and then we’ve got
the joint in the lower leg. Again, this is the heel on a horse. This comports to what
we have right down to our foot. This is really part of the foot down here of the horse. It’s
like his middle metatarsal going down to his phalanges, which is the hoof on the bottom.
But you see how much power that angle right there does. So we’ll cut that little notch
in there where the Achilles tendon is. You’ll notice as I do animals and humans I’m using
the same anatomical references. In my mind, I studied gross anatomy so I dissected a human
cadaver. But then you apply the same rules to animals. You have to understand how to
measure and animal because, for example, the femur bone, this bone right in here, will
be a different weight than it is on a human. It’ll be a different length compared to
other parts of the body. So they all vary, but I call it applied anatomy because everything
you learn about human anatomy applies to animal anatomy as well. If we get into other subjects—birds,
not so much reptiles. Yeah, reptiles, lizards. Certainly not snakes. But lizards have the
same anatomical structure that humans do, as did the dinosaurs of eons ago.
This part that’s sticking out here, we’re going to actually make it into a tail. Out
of the spinal column comes, in a human it’s called a coccyx bone, which is, you know,
it have five or seven, I don’t remember how many very tiny bones that come out. Well,
it’s our tailbone. If you’ve ever fallen on your tailbone you know how much that hurts.
Well, when you do an animal we’re doing the coccyx bone, and it’s segmented so it’s
like parts of the spine. Sometimes you can see that. But when you do the tail of a horse
it isn’t just waving in the—it’s not like a flag waving in the breeze. It has structure
to it. So we can add structure to this tail if we want to stick it up in there. They talk
about some horses as their tail is like a flag. They stick it up in the air in the run.
Arabian horses are particularly built that way. When they get into a real run they stick
their tail up in the air. That’s a bone inside the tail. So even though the tail is
a bunch of hair the tailbone is covered with muscles and hair. In fact, that’s really
the fly flicker muscle. So they, you know, other than the muscle on their body that’s
called the fly flicker muscle. It’s very versatile, and it can flick flies as far as
the tail can reach. So it’s a fly swatter, really. It has structure inside. It’s not
just a bunch of hair. Oftentimes people will draw all these cute little hairs on here without
any feeling inside for the structural element. I’m not interested in the individual hairs.
I’m just interested in the motion.
Now, look what that does, just to see what that tail waving in the breeze can do. Putting
that angle on it and then making the hair go from there. Then it becomes like a flag.
But there is something in here supporting that structure. Now, I’m going to add a
piece of wire to help support that. But in this case I’m not going to do it just yet
because I’m not ready for it. But when I do, I’ll just stick the wire in there. If
the wire goes down inside the clay it anchors itself. We don’t always have to have a very
solid self-contained armature. We need the flexibility. So in many cases I’ll cut a
leg of a horse or not even have an armature in there. I’ll add a leg. Sometimes I can
go add an armature later by—if I just put a little parting line in here I can go in
here and go like this. I can stick a wire in there if I wanted to put a wire that goes
up inside the animal.
Now, for some of you just destroying what I’ve just done may seem pretty drastic,
pretty shocking. But if you’ve done it once as you’re learning surely you can do it
again. A great statement somebody made years ago was you can’t own anything until you
can give it away. I think relative to art is you can’t really improve your work, or
you can’t own what you can do unless you can actually destroy it.
something to make it better is a tough obstacle to overcome. But if I can assure you and give
you a little confidence so you can move forward doing that. This is a learning experience
so don’t be afraid to make mistakes because it will help you get to your finished goal
a lot quicker if you’re willing to take some risks. Again, I hope you can see that
shoulder now. Again, we’ve got to start working on further refining the rib cage.
I’m hoping you’re beginning to see how much energy it adds to that each time I make
a cut. This spinal column again is clear up here on the side. We’ve got to get it down
here and then make that—this muscle is a very full, heavy muscle. It’s actually,
in beef it’s the filet. It’s the filet mignon that goes down the side of the, those
spines that extend from the spinal column, the vertebrae.
So remember, the bone is clear down here. Now, the vertebrae in the neck come about
halfway from the bottom of the neck to the top that it connects to this pastern. So it’s
like a group of cables going up on either side of the spine that then connect up into
the top of the horse’s head that lifts the head and supports all that. Remember, we’re
standing upright so our pelvis is built like a huge bowl. All the viscera, all the internal
organs are sort of supported by that bowl along with the diaphragm. In an animal that
stands on four legs their pelvis is not shaped like that. That’s why you should study the
pelvis and study the anatomy because the pelvis is more like a structural element, and these
are like the tendons and the muscles that tie from one end of the spinal column to another.
They’re like giant cables. Think of the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, and how you
get these terminal ends where these huge towers are. Then you get these long sloping cables
that support. It’s actually those long cables that are supporting the head and the neck
of the horse and supporting the viscera on the inside. All these organs, the diaphragm
has to be strong enough, and the fascia—fascia is connective tissue, and it’s usually very
grisly kind of tissue, but it’s not flexible like muscles. It’s so powerful here that
it has to support all those organs. Imagine the G-forces that are on the viscera in a
horse when it’s in a full gallop and running and all that weight is coming up and down.
If you’re a horse person you actually hear the sounds of that viscera and the gases in
the stomach area and so forth. The horse is running, you hear the sounds of this tremendous
amount of weight being shifted around. If you did a rodeo bull, one of the fascinating
things about a bull is the skin is very loosely connected. So here is the skeletal frame underneath.
If you ever watch a bull and the way it moves around, the skin just sort of, you know, it
just sort of goes around the body. It just flips from one side to another. So how anybody
can hang on to animal whose skin is so loose that it’s like a big rubbery covering with
grease underneath it so it’s slipping and sliding underneath the surface of the skin
to the point that, you know, it just is amazing. I love watching cowboys fight bulls because
you see all of that dynamic stuff going on. If you don’t know to look for it
you'll never see it, obviously.
We don’t have much detail in here, and yet it’s beginning to say something, isn’t it?
The hindquarter of the horse is very interesting. Again, we’ve got to start with this internal
structure and then decide where we want to put the knee joint.
Once we make that decision we can extend the leg back, or we could have
the knee clear up here and his leg coming
under him. There are some nice compositions with horses that have the legs coming forward.
For example, when a jumper goes over the hedge or over a barricade of some kind and they
come down, they’ve got to not only clear it with the hind legs way out here, but then
they have to tuck those legs up underneath and then catch the weight of the horse as
it comes down on the other side.
Again, I urge you to study anatomy. But study photographs that have been taken or movies
of the animal. Once you get a sense of the movement it helps you better understand what
to watch for as you do your sculpture. Also, realize that it’s not just talent. You have
to consciously talk to yourself. As I do this, I’m saying things to myself all the way
through. Now, where is the scapula? Where is the sternocleidomastoid muscle? Right here.
Where does it have to fit in? Where’s the trachea? Inside this muscle and against the
trachea, and it’s the—of course, the windpipe and
the esophagus kind of blend together, don’t they?
So you look at this, and you’ll see this big blood vessel that sort of separates the
two. That’s where veterinarians give shots to horses. They find that big blood vessel
right in here. One of the little tricks I found years ago is that there is a part that
comes forward toward the mouth. Well, that’s where the trachea and the windpipe and the
esophagus come forward just like in humans. Our throat comes forward toward the mouth,
doesn’t it? Yet, the muscles here behind the ear, the sternocleidomastoid comes down.
My muscles are starting to stretch.
My platysma is the muscle that covers the neck. Like in a dog when a dog gets mean looking
it flexes its platysma. Well, that’s a platysma in humans. As you get a little bit older gravity
starts to take over. So, we look for all of those things in the animals, just like in humans.
This has a crest on it which sticks out. It’s from that crest.
Then again, there’s a huge muscle that connects from
that spine or the front of the pelvis that comes
down. You’ll always see that on a horse.
It’s carrying all that weight, but it’s again like that big cable on a suspension
bridge holding all the weight. So if you look for it you’ll see it.
Hopefully, it’s helpful. If I’m talking about what I’m thinking when I’m doing a horse. I’m talking
about that with you as you’re trying to contemplate how to do a horse. Hopefully that
will help you follow the process and the line of thought that goes with it.
I think you can see from just that little bit, for example, why you need a certain level of knowledge
to really do a credible horse. You may love horses to death. I had something happen years
ago with one of the cowboy artists who was—we had a debate about who could do a horse and
who couldn’t do a horse. He suggested that there were a lot of cowboys. He said you can
tell who knows something about the horse by the way they put the bridle on and the saddle
and all of these things. I asked him, well, what does that have to do with sculpture.
He said, well, I think you really have to know the horse to be able to sculpt it. I
said, well, I know a lot of people who really know horses, but their sculpture is just horrible
because they don’t have any knowledge of the anatomy that goes with the horse. They
can interface in a personal way with a horse, but they just don’t have a clue about the
length of the horse’s leg or the length of its face, you know, the things that really
make a beautiful piece of art.
So you really need to have an informed approach to do this. However, much you’re willing
to put into studying the anatomy, looking at books and so forth. You can do it just
for the sheer joy and entertainment of doing it. That’s fine. But if you really want
to do things that are going to be maybe on a level that you can compete with other artists
and art exhibits or show your work at places where attention will be really paid, then
you need to be willing to go the extra effort and add to the knowledge that you already have.
It’s never ending. It’s a little like music. On a guitar you have six strings, but
there is an infinite number of positions you can put your fingers and the way you can pluck
the string and the way some people even use the guitar as a percussion instrument. So
with those six strings it’s amazing what you can get, and the same thing here. It’s
just a piece of clay and a little bit of wire. But what you can create from that, the way
it manifests itself in the finished product tells everybody else what you really understand
or know about the subject. Then with that, the piece begins to take on a life of its own.
If you need to change it or want to change it, not that you can’t go ahead and give
it a whole different life if you’d prefer, but it begins to talk to you a little bit.
For example, I think this forearm or front leg needs to stretch out a little bit more.
I just pull it out there.
It has a different feeling, a different character about it.
Maybe that’s not where I want to end up with it.
It starts talking to me, and I need to listen a little bit.
I would like to move this leg back a little bit so I’m going to pull it back.
See the gesture. That’s almost like those trotters that can’t run. They have to stay
in their gait and pull these little carts behind them. It has the sense of that kind
of running. Do you see what action does to that? It just begins to speak to you.
Let's put this one back a little and see what that does.
Also, if a horse is going around a corner
you need to lean the horse itself into the turn so you want to rotate it like this.
See that? So that’s how you give it action. Either leaning or out of a turn, I’m not
sure what I’ve got him doing yet, but that adds something. I’m not sure exactly what,
but it’s evolving on its own. It’s almost as if I’m here to watch it happen and then
kind of recognize whenever it needs something, just adding to that.
A lot of what I’m doing, I’m just sketching in clay. I don’t have a pre-plan. I’m
exploring. I’m looking for something good to happen. If it wants to happen keep improving,
then it’s as if I’m here for the show but not totally in control but willing to
make those changes to let it do what it wants to do. I know that sounds maybe a little strange,
but that’s how I feel about it.
Okay, now this leg seems to be too straight up and down. I don’t like this straight
up and down leg, so I will bend it out. Maybe not quite so much.
See what happens there. Okay, yeah. That’s doing something.
So now it’s a composition not just looking at the
sides but also looking at the ends. They’re going to have some meaning.
What I’m going to do now, I think will add a base to this because I’m fighting it a little bit.
I think if I tie at least this leg down and then show the importance of the base to the
sculpture. It’s all part of the composition. So if you just cut it off at the base, at
the ends of the legs and mount it on something flat oftentimes it just looks too top-heavy.
It needs to have balance. It needs to have something to tie itself to. I could actually
tie it to a very small base or a larger one.
Alright. I just cut off his tail with that little slip of the cutting tool I have here.
The idea of this step is just to give a sense of base and its importance to the overall composition.
The length of the [leg] of the horse is usually about 2-1/2 head lengths.
So as you measure things you want to do comparative measurement. If you use anatomy books or if
you use photographs of pictures or if you go out and photograph horses on your own,
I suggest taking some photos of the side of
the horse so you can make these comparative measurements.
a matter of selecting paint and putting it on. You’ve got to worry about armature and
a lot of surrounding elements that really affect it that have nothing to do with the
example. If this were a piece intended to be only viewed from this angle, we could almost
do it in relief. We wouldn’t have to do the whole horse. But once you’ve made a
decision to do a sculpture in the full round, it becomes almost monotonous and boring to
sit and watch the process because you expect things to happen a lot faster. So it’s a
matter of patience and working this thing in the round until it begins to work. So what
you would think would just take a matter of days ends up taking weeks and months to complete
one single piece that has any real merit if you take it completely to the finish. We don’t
need that tail in there right now anyway. Again, I’ll get a piece of wire for it soon
if it starts feeling right.
A few minutes ago—I didn’t mention this, but I, again looking for what needs to be
done I just have a sense that this leg if it’s carrying a lot of weight needs to be
back underneath the horse and almost bent, you know, toward the front in a concave way
at the lower bottom, which gives an indication of the weight that’s coming down on this foot.
So if I do that, it not only adds weight but it gives a place for this leg to go. In fact,
I may need to extend this head up and out like he’s driving forward. More like that.
I think that gives you a sense of movement and how making a flexible armature helps you
to move this horse around. You have an infinite number of choices. You can have him shaking
his head. You can have him reaching forward with it. You can have him tucked underneath.
If he has a bridle on, a show horse, typically they hold the head back and put the head on
a nice 90-degree angle to the neck so the neck will arch down, and the horse will come
down the head. The head will almost be on a perpendicular line. The face and then the
neck has this big arch in it. There are some bones here that you’ll need to pay attention
to. One is called the atlas bone. The atlas bone is like the figure of atlas where atlas
is juggling the whole world, holding the world on his shoulders. Well, that’s what this
atlas bone does. It holds his head onto the spinal column, and it’s articulated in such
a way that it is almost like a ball socket joint. The head can go up and down this way.
It can shake side to side. It can do a lot of things, but you’ll see the structure
right behind, actually behind the ear. There is a little shape of that atlas bone right
behind the head of the horse. If you don’t get that it will really show in your work.
Again, it doesn’t have the strength and the power it should have if you have that
bone in place. I’ll just stick it in there for now without refining it. But you see the
little bit of power that adds to that head and neck. Cut this leg down a wee bit. It’s
getting a little hefty. There is a flatness to this joint.
One thing I should mention in the skeletal structure. You’ll notice on your own body
and notice that on the animals, the story I told about the ends of the lines concerning
yourself with the ends of the lines, the middles take care of themselves. Well, in sculpture
what are the ends of the lines? The ends of the lines are all the bony joints. The knuckles,
the wrist, the elbow in the shoulder and the hips. Those ends of the lines are bigger than
what surrounds them. So if you draw a picture of the knee, for example, and you come down
and do what looks like a joint of the knee and a kneecap, and that’s weaker than the
rest of the space around it, it’s not going to look right.
So notice especially on the front legs of the horse, this big flat area in front where
the joint comes together for the upper leg and the lower leg. There are two bones that
articulate, kind of like your fists fitting together like this. That’s what the knee
joint does. That’s what this joint does in the horse. You’ll see a beautiful line
that comes down, and it comes inward on that flat surface of that joint. It really makes
a beautiful shape. But if you don’t know it’s there you can never make it beautiful
unless you understand it or are aware of how important it is. I’ve got this leg too long
because remember I cut the armature, these long lengthy wires. Well,, this wire needs
to be cut off right about there somewhere. So I’ll just cut it off, get rid of it.
I can double it back up, which I probably should have done. But it doesn’t matter.
But let’s get rid of it so now we can make the hoof a little short. If we get that right,
now if I left it the length it was I’d begin modeling the piece to fit that. Well, now
that I’ve got it shorter I’m going to make this upper leg just a wee bit shorter
so that everything will stay in the proper proportion to the other elements around it.
It helps to—we’re not going deep into anatomy studies or explaining the anatomy
very fully in this beginning discussion because it’s important that you understand gesture
and just blocking out. We should say a little bit about design, but this is an initiation
to get you started in looking for the big things.
We’ll get this joint in the right place. The hoof has a character about it. We can
bend it under a little if we want. Just look at the gesture of it. That’s the main thing
that we want to do. Gesture may not be quite what we want, but it speaks to you. It says
something. I’m going to thin this down a bit. The tendons, you know, you see these
tendons that are on the underside of this foot. Pull down and pull that hoof, you know,
they create the tension in that hoof. That’s what catches it. The pastern is right here,
but when you unfold that foot out like that, then there is a big tendon that ties to foot.
You’ll want to make sure you get that in there. But it’s very subtle. It’s all
hidden under skin. Right here is a little protuberance, a bony protuberance that’s
really a pivotal point for the tendons that attach to it. If you miss that then it becomes
weaker as well. So you’ve got to look for that little bony, that bump that sticks out
where some of the tendons attach. You see the gesture in that. Just doing that much
hopefully you’ll begin to recognize what it is that I’m thinking and suggesting that
you look for as you go about this.
I just added that bump on top. Somehow it may be in the wrong place, but it improves.
The way that leg looks, it adds something to the gesture. This is all melting together,
not meaning much. So the jawbone will come down and have a fullness to it. But then it’s
a round shape and it’ll come back into here. Then the chin of the horse will protrude down.
Of course, when they’re running sometimes that chin really sticks out there so it bobs
around. Even the face on the horse has some character in it. Some gesture, movement. So
we’re trying to create the bony structure of the head here if we can. You can see we’re
not matching both sides. This side seems longer, and I’m not sure what I have to do on the
other side to fix that. For now we’ll just do a few quick gestures here. Now, if we put
a nose hole in there, a nostril hole, nostrils are usually flared when a horse is running.
But if we put that in there too soon we’re going to have a tendency to work around it
and not want to change it. The same with the eye, the placement of the eye. If you put
that in too soon then you’re going to keep working around it and around it. You’ll
alter the whole piece of sculpture before you dare change that eye if you spent time on it.
So that’s why I suggest just a general suggestion of things. That horse, if you’re looking
at it from 50 feet away he doesn’t need an eye, but it looks like he has one, right?
So there is a beginning. The base doesn’t have much going on yet. I’m going to start
looking for some lines. Design is really important, and I’m just going to suggest this for now
and hope that later on we may have a complete discussion on some of these more important
detailed aspects. But for now, I’m looking for a line. Here’s a real interesting line.
This line from his neck comes down, kind of repeats in his leg. It might even look better
if we put something on the base that complements that. We could tie something in here maybe.
I don’t know. I just try things. I don’t know what’s going to work and what isn’t.
But you’re trying to develop your sense of discovery and exploration, so you try things.
If it doesn’t improve the piece than you try something else. See what that little gesture
did? Somehow it sweeps your attention right up into the neck of that horse. I don’t
know why. It’s because your eye wants to follow a line, and the story I told about
the ends of the lines is important in that in composition your eye follows a line until it terminates.
A good example of what happens in composition is let’s say you’re walking down a street
in the city someday. You’re walking along and everybody’s kind of looking down. Somebody
you notice somebody looks up at the top of the building. What do you do? You look up
at the building. Or if they point like that you’re going to point to the building. That
happens in sculpture. This hoof can point out of a piece like that. But, if you have
something else to bring it back in then it doesn’t go away. If that just sticks out
there on its own, and I’ve seen compositions where this is sticking out, the ears are sticking
out, the ears are sticking out, this is sticking out, the legs stick out, and they all take
your attention away from the composition.
It’s like in dance. If you go to a ballet and see these beautiful poses that the dances
take, notice their hands. Their hands are always in some kind of gesture that takes
your attention back into the piece or their legs. The point of their toe, whatever it
is. It looks so elegant and beautiful, but they could do things that just take your attention
completely out of the piece. Realize that what you do to the ends of the lines either
makes or breaks the piece of art. It either holds the attention or it doesn’t. I’ve
seen people do cowboys on horses, and the horse’s legs are going this way and that
way, and the guy’s body is this way. All those lines take your attention right out
of the composition. Where if the artist only knew how to twist the body and then bring
an arm around or a leg or put in piece of cactus or something like that to take the
attention back into the piece.
Now, watch what this does if we put a plant up there. See how that attaches itself to
that foot? It just somehow, these two, the interrelationship, and I guess that’s a
little like what Michelangelo with God creating Adam. He created this spark of electricity
just by putting these fingers almost touching but not quite, so that negative space really
does a lot for the composition.
Well, that happens here. If you want to play with that idea a little bit, we can explore
it a little further. But for now, let’s just take a look at where we are. We’ve
got another leg to add. We’ll come back and pick up where we left off.
You do notice that I haven’t used any reference material yet, so I’m just going by creating this
out of my head, which in a way is good because I’m not restricting myself. I’m just letting—it’s
a little like jazz. Let your intuition be your guide and staying within the not really
limits, but the guidelines as if I’m following music theory here, but I’m not stuck on
any particular piece of music at the moment. Letting it evolve.
And you can see too that there is not much armature really needed at this point.
Just to hold things together,that’s the only purpose of the armature.
I think what I’m going to do, I may build
something up here just so I can tie that back leg down.
Once again you have to be very careful that you don’t let this leg bone get too long
because it’s very easy to make it very long and very thing. Now, the legs are very thin,
but you have to be careful. It’ll get away from you. And there is a, as you look at the
front end it’s like the tibia in a human. It has an inner surface to it, and it bends
slightly out so it has a nice arch shape to it. If you don’t get that right, if you
make the leg too straight somehow it just doesn’t work. A lot of what we do is an
accumulation of either things that you do know or don’t know well. Depending on your
level of knowledge, if you don’t put certain things in it detracts from the complexity
or the beauty of the piece. If you do put them in it contributes to it. So the more
you want that’s credible in your work as a fine work of art the more you really are
almost obligated to study and research and figure out. That’s what makes great art.
It’s a reflection of what you know. Great art doesn’t have to be explained.
You know, a lot of the art we see today critics have to write an explanation about it before
you can really appreciate or understand what it is. But great classical works of art, you
don’t have to say a word about it. They speak for themselves and always have throughout
all antiquity. That’s what I strive to do, is reach for that star. I want my work to
show the best of the best and hopefully stand with some of them. I’d like to think that
somewhere in the great hereafter if you ever have a chance to meet some of the sculptors,
Michelangelo, Leonardo, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Rodan, Fremiet, I would hope they would say,
well, Ed, you did a good job. You didn’t let us down. You did the best that you could
do, and you made a contribution in your way as we attempted in ours.
So I feel a big responsibility goes with doing art.
I’m not sure where we’re going with this. I don’t have a theme in mind.
I’m just doing a demonstration of a horse that hopefully will come alive
and eventually want to speak to you. Then it will help us figure out what it wants to
say. I remember, a long time ago some years ago somebody came to me and said what is it
that is so different about your work? I said, well, what do you mean different about it?
I said, well, others can do a horse and a cowboy and maybe a steer that’s being roped
or some other object and it looks like what they’re trying to do, but yours is very
different. Somehow it comes alive. So the liveliness about my work I think I can attribute
to several things, but one is a knowledge of anatomy, at least enough of a knowledge
that I can’t get away with making big errors. I’ve got to be fairly accurate in what I do.
Another point is the design. The design holds your attention. It’s, you know, to
some extent it follows the golden mean, the sense of proportion of one part of the piece
compared to another part. So the action, the design has to do with action. The composition,
what is it really doing? Is everything in proportion. As I put these points on I can
see thing that are not quite right. I need to go back and fix them like that right there.
It just evolves slowly over time into what it eventually becomes. I’ve got too much
clay under there. You can’t tell from a flat camera view, but in the round I can see
those things much easier. I want a sense of that belly coming down. There is a difference
where that huge tendon that holds everything upright here in the belly comes down. There
will be a hollow above that as well. Again, like the big suspension cable on a bridge
holding all this up. There is almost an angle right under here on the rib cage where that
goes in and tucks in underneath, and so it creates the sense that the belly is soft tissue
and the rib cage is hard. That’s one thing you’re looking for in your work. You want
to create the sense of the hardness of surfaces.
I’m wondering if I bent this leg forward somehow—
now when a horse is in a different pace, you know, they pace, they prance. They
have all these gaits, canter and trot. Their legs are in different positions depending
on what they’re doing. You can make a big study of that. What I’m doing right now
is I’m just looking at line. I’m looking for a place to put things where it says something.
It looks good as a piece of design, whether it’s correct of a certain gait of the horse,
I’m not even thinking about that right now. Watch what happens when I take care of this
calcaneus bone. I’ll stick that in there like that.
This leg may change totally again, I don’t know. But if I put that in and the Achilles
tendon, here’s the joint right down here. The leg rotates around so it’s like, you
know, its leverage action. It’s going like that, rotating around this point. This tendon
is stretching out, and the muscle is pulling that leg or holding all the weight.
Okay, we’ll do the knee joint here.
So I concern myself with the ends of the lines. You can see where the middles begin to kind
of take care of themselves or tell you what they need in order to connect, because you
need a tendon here. That would actually be the rectus femoris right in here coming from
the crest of the ileum down to the front and attaching to this part of the leg, the femur
in here. The femur again is going to be shaped like this. It’s going to have a shape kind
of like that coming forward, and then the bony joint is right in here.
And it’s interesting how these muscles and the rump
of the horse pull from the back end and come forward,
stretch, and go down around the kneecap. You start putting those lines in, and now it adds tension
to that leg. Some of these muscles twist as they come down. So the fibers from the muscle
will come back like this and then tuck in. If you were to lay these out as individual
strands of muscle you’d come down and then just roll it like that to fit it on there
and give it the right expression because that’s really what it does. So as I do these strokes
I’m thinking about all those things. If I don’t know that then all I’m going to
be doing is drawing lines. Notice something interesting, because in the beginning I said
people make a shape like a sack of potatoes and then start drawings on it. This is a line.
This is a line. I haven’t drawn any of those lines in there. I’ve created shapes.
And the way these shapes fit together create the illusion of a line or something that you might
want to call a line, but it’s not a line at all. So when you create sculpture you don’t
make a potato and start drawing in lines. You also don’t go start cutting out shadows
because that’s not what this is about. What you’re doing is creating shapes, and then
the skin stretches across those shapes. And the way it stretches creates the illusion
of a line. And if you turn it to another angle you may not see it.
But see the strength you begin to see in this hip right here? It looks like that’s the
way it’s supposed to be. But you feel this stretch right in here, not by drawing the
line in but creating the form, this form fitting against this form that creates the line. It
also creates the feeling of stretch because it’s the mass of the muscle that you’re
working on, making right. So line happens automatically. So when you’re sculpting
get away from the lines. Drawing is different than sculpture. It’s nice to be able to
render them on a flat piece of paper, and you can indicate that by a line. If you’re
indicating that surely you’re doing to draw a line in there. You’re going to shade the
bottom of it. But I can tell you that if you learn this, the things that I’ve been saying,
your drawing will improve a thousand fold because you’ll begin to understand why shapes
look the way they do and shadows look the way they do. It’s reflection of light off
form that you’re really looking for. So now you’re learning the structure and the
form that you’re trying to render either in pencil or ink or in paint. So once you
understand that form and the proportion and the relationships and the composition and
all of the elements related to any aspect of art. As a sculptor, I mean if you take
a few lessons in sculpture and learn it well you can draw this leg of this horse really
pretty well without going out and looking at a horse. So the study of anatomy and design
and the experience you gain help you do another thing, and that is you don’t need a picture
to look at. You don’t need to make a drawing of what it is you’re going to do. You can
do you’re sketching as I do in clay. Jokingly I tell some people sometimes that my whole
life is made of a series of mistakes carefully corrected. Well, that’s what it is. That’s
what clay is. You put it on. You take it off. If it doesn’t look right you take it off
and you put it somewhere else. You move it around. You change your position. You can’t
do that in painting quite as easily. I mean if you’ve painted something in light it’s
pretty hard to change it. You can. But in sculpture you’re not fixed on anything specific.
And notice how as I refine this that the refining just slowly comes into focus. I’m not out
there worrying about the face, the details, the eyes. But what I’m thinking of are big
shapes like the shape of the skull, the shape of the jaw, the jawbone of the horse coming
down here in this big masseter muscle that then ties to the zygomatic arch that comes
across here. You’ve seen that in a horse. You see this little bone comes down and it
has kind of an S-shape curve to it.
Now, I’m not refining any of that stuff, but as you
see it from a distance it all begins to contribute.
It contributes to the whole. We don’t stop and belabor or try to refine
any point. See, I see an opportunity right there, I’ll hollow that out where these
muscles come down toward the jaw and the mouth of the horse. I don’t care if I get rid
of that nostril. There’s really nothing there. There is a nice full muscle that comes
out underneath here. Actually, there is a muscle that connects, that goes up here and
connects to the underside of this zygomatic bone.
There is another part of the zygomatic arch
that swizzles back. Now, see, just those little things. The whole thing is beginning
to come into focus. It’s almost like you’re looking through a lens, a camera lens and
adjusting it. Slowly the whole thing comes into focus, not any one part of it. It’s
just beginning to speak to you and say, okay. Now, where can I go to refine other parts.
Okay, what if we stick a mane on him? Give it a little bit of action.
I don’t know how much refinement we have to do on this. But if you learn this much from this lesson,
to block something in and be able to attain that level of work then surely you can learn
how to go in and begin refining. If you don’t do it well just go back and
redo it until it starts looking better.
Now, watch what I do here because I’m just going to cut. I know there is a muscle that
comes from this crest of the ileum back this way, and I’m just going to cut a hole there
a little bit. But look at what that does to create that form and that shape.
And as I said, these muscles come wrap themselves around the trochanter of the femur and then tuck
in down here around the patella.
Okay, now one thing that is bothering me about this leg I can’t even see because it’s
on the inside. Watch what happens when I turn this and come in here and cut the inside.
That’s the inside of the tibia that has a concave surface to it.
look better from the side. Now you see this side view looks better, and yet I wasn’t
even working on this part of it that the camera is looking at. I may need to bend that leg
a little bit more like this to make that tibia bend enough. Somehow that really makes that
knee joint look right. Notice how hollow it is right in the belly area here. There is
a reason for that. When a horse is running and it tucks this leg up underneath, there
has to be a place for this knee to go, and it tucks right up in here. If you just have
that round belly of the horse and that knee ran into its belly while it’s running it
could not run very far without really doing itself a lot of harm. So realize that right
here is a place for that knee to go when the leg is forward. Same here. I’ve mentioned
how narrow the breast is right here.
One of the reasons it’s so narrow is because this
elbow when the horse is running and the horse’s leg is back, that elbow has to go somewhere,
and it tucks right into here. Look at what those two little things do for the side of
that horse to give it form and meaning. I often refer to sculpture as being like in
the scriptures. It said when God created the heavens and the Earth and then he created
man he took form—excuse me, he took matter which was unorganized and gave it form and
meaning. I think that’s what you do as a sculptor. You take matter which is unorganized.
You can dig clay out of the Earth, and anciently they did that. They made little symbols. They
made little pieces of sculpture. They didn’t understand the anatomy all that well so they
began to be stylized in the things they depicted. But nevertheless, you take matter which is
unorganized and give it form and meaning.
Now, I’m running into this nut right here a little bit. I may end up either having to
grind that off or change my armature so I can lift this whole piece up a little bit.
This is one of the hazards of sculpture. You can’t always anticipate exactly what you’re
going to do so you take a lot of chances. So I don’t know what kind of horse we have
here. But I think if Leonardo saw this, I saw the horse that Leonardo designed, and
I have seen not in person but photographs of that horse that others finally after 500
years decided needed to be executed in heroic scale, and they did.
Rembrandt’s horses weren’t so great. Leonardo’s was much better but it still had a stylization about
it that didn’t look like what to me to looks like a horse. So when I look at this and I
think, well, when I refine and finish this I’ve done enough horses now that I think
even if Leonardo were to walk by he would stop for a minute and put his finger to his
cheek maybe and say, hmm, that’s not bad, Ed. That’s pretty good.
Now, this little frog on the back of the horse, you don’t want to forget that. But it’s
kind of a last-minute thing. It’s like the thumb. It’s actually an organ. It puts out
something that has quite an odor, and that’s the way I think mares recognize their little
foals and colts is by the smell that comes out of that little thing. It’s almost like
fingernail material. It’ll break off. It’s a chestnut, I guess. It kind of looks like that.
Okay, so now as we refine that leg. See how much thinner this foreleg is getting. It needs
to get a little thinner. So I’m beginning to see the proportion only because I have
experience with it and it just sticks out. To me it’s the old expression “like a
sore thumb.” It kind of sticks out and tells me, well, you gotta fix that. So it’s just
a matter of sticking with the program here until you get it refined. I might show this
tool as compared to the other. Let me put a little piece on here first because I want
that joint big enough. This raking tool has grooves cut in it across this flat surface,
and I don’t know how well that shows up. So when you’re using this tool it puts little
rake marks in it like that. This tool is different. This one has wire wrapped around a wire, and
it’s much more harsh texture like that. So quite often you’ll use tools.
I’ve seen sculptors use pieces of burlap or other materials, things that they can use
on the surface and especially people like Bruno Lucchesi who uses a textured cloth often
on the outer surfaces. His pieces are all water clay, and you can create some real interesting
textures in water clay. You can put the texture in and it can be harsh like that. Instead
of overworking it you just wet it down and it’ll wash off some of the high spots or
fade in, and it just creates some really interesting textures. I put that harsh texture in here,
again across perpendicular to the long lines. Here is, let’s see where that gap is between
the trachea and the esophagus and the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
So you create this nice feeling in the neck.
The muscle has to have an origin and insertion.
But if I use this tool now and put a real harsh texture like that, then I may want to come across with my
finger and just blend it. But those texture lines will stay in the undercut areas. If you cast it
in bronze later it really creates a nice patina because it gives the patina the chemicals
and the oxide process, the oxidation process, it gives them something to hang on to, so
it sticks to those heavily textured areas and really makes a nice contrast between the
slick areas and the more soft areas. Once in a while I do smooth, but it’s just a
highlight. It’s like Michelangelo did on the back of the hand of his David. He carved
texture lines, again perpendicular to the long lines. Then he polished off the very
top like this. Made it almost shiny. It looked like that tendon coming and stretching across
the joint of the finger. So he really understood textures. And if you look at the hand—look,
when I fold my arm up all these texture lines comes at a right angle to the long, stringy
lines. Also, everything points toward this point right here in the hand. It’s the same
way on the animals. I’ve got a feeling right here that it needs something right there to
define the edge of that scapula. I’m not sure why I get that feeling but just adding
that little bit really compliments the shape, the form there,
then the biceps coming down underneath here.
So that’s how I think as I refine these things. I’m thinking of this stuff steadily,
and you can see how limiting it is if you don’t know it. My purpose in doing all this
is not to be intimidating about it, but to give you some insights that perhaps you’ve
never thought of before. I’m sure some of your insights go beyond what I’m offering
with this particular lesson, but they show how art, the evolutionary process of creating
art happens in the brain and with the hand of Ed Fraughton, and it may or may not apply
to what you’re doing. But hopefully, it’s helpful to just see that happening at somebody’s
else’s hand instead of your own.
So let’s take a turn. Oh, there is a great set of muscles here that comes around this
ischium bone in back. They wrap around it this way and come to the inside of the leg
and support the leg here. So if you have the expression of that muscle. One of the things
I’ve noticed is I’ve noticed people draw or sculpt muscles, but they don’t have this
stretch that the muscle has. The muscle has a real, it’s like a series of rubber bands
that you can attach up here, for example, and stretch around before you connect them
inside the leg here to support the leg. If you get that expression that the muscle has
a lot of that in me came from my studies of gross anatomy. Although when you dissect a
cadaver there is no tension in the muscle at all. I mean the person has been dead, and
the muscle has lost all of its elasticity, so you have to imagine the way that muscle
functions is it has to stretch. There is a reason it comes around this bone, and it’s
a matter of the right angle. It needs to pull this leg in the right direction when it comes
down and attaches to it. So it just stretches and wraps around to the inside like that.
Again, on this side we haven’t brought of these muscles around to attach them here.
They actually come forward from the back like that. Wrap around this great trochanter of
the femur as they come forward. So this is all refining process. So I think we can probably
just turn this, look at it. And that’s enough of this session. You can see just how far
we’ve come with this now. Let’s just stick a piece on there. We may actually put it forward.
I may change that a bit.
What I want to do though is before I get into the head it’s very tempting to want to go
to the head and start refining, and I purposely don’t for awhile because some really, probably
some drastic changes could happen before then, and I want to make sure the head is about
the right size. I’d like to. Well, we’ll hook the tail on later. But yeah, let’s
just add a little more to the head so it can…
Most of these things I’m doing right now are fairly big moves. Nothing
detailed at all. Almost a gesture study. I mean it’s a little beyond what a normal
gesture study would be. In drawing you do a gesture study in a matter of 20 seconds
or two minutes or something, just to get the basic idea. It’s very tough to do that with
sculpture because you’ve got too many things that depend on each other, and you’re turning
it 360 degrees. So you just have to, you know, one thing that you do may affect the other
side and may not work at all. So you notice how I keep turning the piece, and I’m turning
it so everything will evolve pretty much in sort of a balanced and consistent way. So
no one thing becomes more important than any other one thing. Again, it’s all about
capturing the gesture. I may block this in one day and then spend two months refining
it and changing things. Then it may end up looking totally different than it does now.
I still need more rib cage right here. I can tell that.
Here goes the tail again.
Why don’t we just hook that down? Piece of wire in the tail here. Squeeze it.
Now it’s not going to fall off. It’s not where I want it to be, but at least it gives a gesture that we
can criticize if we want. It may not be what we want it to be in the end.
Okay, let’s see that leg now. That hind leg is coming down under the horse. We may
not even want it there, but for now it’s okay.
The gesture in this front leg coming in a little bit this way.
Look at the widest part in the knee too. When you study this
notice how the joint itself is the widest part. It’s narrower above the joint. It’s
narrower below the joint. So that’s, those joints need a lot of room. So when you define
the ends of the lines with those joints they have to have a lot of mass to them compared
to the structures that are around them. It’s amazing too how thin a bone can be. For example,
contemplate how thin and small this foreleg is, and yet how much power, how much in pounds
per square inch, how much pressure that bone has to endure every time that leg comes down.
So when you watch a horse race and you see those horses thundering along and that fore
hoof coming down, the pressure that’s on that fore hoof because it’s holding the
whole weight on one leg. It’s balancing. It’s moving. It’s flying, but it still
has to withstand the weight. Of course, the weight, since the horse is coming down on
the weight it’s more than the weight of the horse. It’s probably three or four G-forces
meaning it’s three or four times the amount of the original weight of the horse has to
be supported for just a brief time on that one leg. So there is a little bit of flexibility
in the bone that we don’t think about. And the bones we know about marrow. If you look
at a bone how porous a piece of bone is, how is it that a bone has such strength to withstand—you
know, a normal horse is maybe 800 to 1000 lbs depending on the kind of horse. A riding
horse, a big draft horse may be 1800 lbs in comparison, a lot more mass to the body.
Of course, when they’re tugging with their back legs and pulling a huge weight some of
these horses that you see at the fair that pull those huge weights. Well, they’ve got
a jar that weight loose and then drag it. So imagine the tremendous pressure there is
on those small thin bones in this part of the horse’s leg.
and more like a horse every time we turn it and do a little more to it. So it evolves
slowly over a long many steps, a long period of time. Of course, refining it, that is a
lot of fun, but blocking it in is almost more fun because more happens in a short period
of time. We’re not going to spend all the time on the refining process. We’ll describe
some parts of that on this and other pieces. We don’t have weeks and months to spend,
but we’ll describe those steps in detail as well.
But, I think at this point you can see the blocking in process, the armature building,
the blocking in, basic proportions, anatomy, things that just come off the top of my head
that I have no, nothing for reference material, but I’m just composing.
I’ll take this out of the way so we can get one last view of it.
Let me do one other thing.
Now this view looks pretty rough so I’m going to refine just that elbow part just a wee bit
and the muscle that comes around here has a nice fullness right up here and not so much
below that, so I’ll cut that down a little bit. There, that looks a little better. And
we’ll maybe tie the mane in a little bit. Make it grow out of the back of the neck.
There is a little ridge right there from those. I call them the spines of the vertebrae that
stick up, that muscles attach to. There is a little fullness thing there, but we’ll
just put a little bit of character in the mane. There is a mane that sticks out over
the front of the horse’s head that usually the hair grows forward. So it’s going to
stick up just a little bit more because before it bends back.
If his ears are laid back the horse is,
it shows the emotion of the horse. If they’re being attacked or chased, or
if the horse if fearful it’s going to lay its ears back. So we’ll lay them back a
little bit for now instead of sticking them forward.
Let’s see what that looks like from a distance.
Just this gesture is enough for that, probably.
I’m trying to actually tie both sides together now, but I don’t know if we could—hmm,
that leg has lost some of its strength.
There is usually a little hollow right there.
You notice this is the first time I’ve even used this smaller tool. I use my fingers and
the larger tool. I describe a tool as being like a mechanic uses wrenches. But normally
if a mechanic gets in with his tools and loosens a bolt, as soon as that bolt can be turned
with the hands he throws his tools away and gets in there with this fingers and loosens
the bolt. That’s the way sculpture is. Tools are not to be used to do all of the sculpting.
It’s much better. Your work becomes much more sensitive as you model it with your fingers.
Only when you need to cut things or start tying things together with textures and refining
do you use the tools more and more. So you can see how small this tool is, but I really
haven’t used it and I don’t want to yet because it’ll tempt me to
want to put too much refinement in it.
Also, your fingers are very sensitive. If you’re a mechanic that body and fender people
who retouch and rework car bodies, they have tools that they use to help them do this,
but when they get something fairly well refined they can get in with their hand and pass it
over a fender. The hand has the ability to measure, to detect a difference of a ten-thousandth
of an inch. So if there is an uneven surface you can pretty well tell just by feeling it
with your hand. So the hands are full of emotion and have this great ability to measure. I
just pushed this nasal bone a little bit narrow there. It’s going to grow wider here as
it gets back toward the zygomatic arch, but from that front view just putting those things
it’s a very flat surface now. But if I start building up the skull you can see the difference
in width that’ll help shape the face and the nose.
Let’s do a final quick turn on this.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview39sNow playing...
1. Building a simple armature19m 58sNow playing...
1. Blocking in and awakening the creative spirit19m 53sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Establishing essential landmarks19m 59s
3. The dynamics of anatomy19m 53s
4. Talent vs. knowledge – hearing the clay speak20m 18s
5. Composition and the thought process18m 46s
6. The refining process – what you do and don't know20m 27s
7. The form and function of sculpture20m 54s
8. Completing a composition before adding details8m 23s