- Lesson details
In this video lesson master sculptor Ed Fraughton sculpts a life-size portrait from the model using sulfur-based clay. You will learn how a seasoned master approaches the head including basic anatomical considerations and a logical approach. You will get a unique insight into Ed’s working habits and thought processes as he builds the sculpture from a simple armature into a more developed piece
- Roma Plastilina Clay
- 2″ x 4″ Wood Scraps
- Threaded Dowel
- Large and Small Rake Modeling Tools
- Metal Ruler
- Rubber Mallet
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using sulfur-based clay. You will learn how a seasoned master approaches the head including
basic anatomical considerations and a logical approach. You will get a unique insight into
Ed’s working habits and thought processes as he builds the sculpture from a simple armature
into a more developed piece.
portrait. We have a lovely model Ariel here to help us out. What I intend to do is start
from the beginning with a skeletal frame. I’m using Roma Plastilina, which is available
in almost any art store. I’ll describe the tools as we move through the discussion. Very
simple modeling tools that scrape the clay that put a little texture, and we’ll proceed.
We’ll talk about the importance of a skeletal frame and model a skeleton for you, a skull
so you can see the various parts. We’ll talk about the bones by name, some of the
important muscle attachments that actually make the skeletal frame function properly.
Then we’ll get down to details. How do you sculpt an eye? How do you sculpt a nose? The
mouth? The ears? The basic frame of the face? And then in the end we’ll add hair to that
and discuss how we model hair, how we think of hair and some of the things we need to
think about when we’re modeling all these various aspects.
So let’s begin. We’ll start the procedure from the beginning and show you each step
in some form of order that hopefully will help you understand the process. No matter
what your level of achievement is at this point, you can find something instructional
and helpful from my approach. So thank you for being here, and let’s get started.
The lesson for today is about portraits. We’re going to discuss how to create a human portrait,
and we have Ariel here to help us out as our model. I hope all will go well. I’m starting
with using Roma Plastilina, some used clay. Sculptors often have to reuse their clay.
Clay is a very temporary material. We’re not really worried about what we do with it.
We leave it on an armature for a while, and when we need it we just cut it off. So it
looks pretty rough, but I want to explain to you how I built the armature because, once
again, we don’t want the process of building armatures to be in any way intimidating,
especially if you’re a beginner.
There are a lot of armatures, sculpture houses that sell premade armatures that are very
nice. They have an upright piece of wood usually with a hole drilled in the top and some aluminum
wire loops sticking out of the top. So with these loops you can then bend and twist the
armature any way you desire. Here we have, again, we’re in a closed room, a closed
situation. We’re not out traveling. We’re not seeing—we don’t have a woodshop available,
but we did something very simple.
We just took a piece of 2 x 4, put it on a board. Screwed it into the bottom with some
grabber screws, added a couple of sticks at the top because we want something to support
the top of the head. This may or may not be a little too thick, and we can always go in
and alter this if we need to. But, to get a little bit of movement out of this since
it’s all solid wood and we’d end up with a very stark straight up and down portrait,
I thought, well, we’ll make it bendable. So I saw the 2 x 4 at about the point in the
neck where the sterna notch will come at the base of the neck. And then just drilled a
hole into both pieces of wood and put a little threaded dowel in there to hold it together.
So now I can rotate it.
So Ariel if you’d like to rotate your head. Oftentimes when we’re doing a composition
we want to be able to turn the armature and add a little bit more interest so thank you.
So that’s how we’re going to start out. We’ll start rather straight on and rather,
you know, we talked about the law of frontality being the way the Egyptians used to create
sculpture. Everything was very stiff and very straight. So in a sense we’re starting out
with that in the beginning.
We’ll just make it straight up and down so we can explain to you the various aspects.
We’ll demonstrate eyes, nose, mouth, ears, the placement of those, the proportion of
the skull. We’re going to start by making the skull. Probably the most important point
about building an armature—you’ll notice that the front of this piece of wood comes
about halfway through the board, so if you measure from this end to this end, put a mark
at halfway and then put this behind halfway then we’re going to build the face forward
like this because—if I could, could I rotate your chair?
Now, as you look at Ariel’s head in profile, see how far her face comes in front in front
of the sterna notch in her neck. So the sterna notch comes out about halfway between the
front and the back of the skull. Right at that point is the auditory canal, so the center
of the ear. So if I turn her like that so you can make a visual measurement, you can
see the auditory canal is halfway between the front and the back of the head. She has
a bun that extends a little further. And the ear, I want you to notice where the ear fits
around the auditory canal. It actually tilts backward. The ear is a shape of a question
mark. We’ll talk about that in more detail later. For now we’ll just turn her forward.
And as I turn this forward that’s part of what I’m going to look for. I may have to
move her. I’ve made it so that I can move her and I can move my armature mainly being
in painting and drawing we set up a model and we shoot the model from one position.
When we’re sculpting or I should say we’re drawing as we would shoot a photograph from
one position. Sculpture is very different. We need to move around the model because you
need to develop all sides at once. So simultaneously I can make the profile, but we’re not ending
up with just a profile. We’re ending up with the sides have to be the right proportion
as well as the top. So we’ll just add some clay for a starter. Start building the skull.
So the first part of the lesson is really about the skull, and we’ll take about that.
Ariel has tied her hair back so we can see the shape of her skull.
I may run into a problem, I don’t know, with the length of this stick that I’ve got here.
This will take a little time to just get enough clay to stick to this thing. Often what I do is work in big rolls
of clay, so I’ll take the clay, cut it into big sections, and then end up with big rolls.
So you can just slap that clay on like that and get it to stick. Attach it.
Initially, there may be a little problem just getting it to stick, so I need to push some
clay into the armature here a little bit to give it something to grab to. It’s never
a problem with things that are on top because gravity helps me out. But when we’re underneath
then it’s a different problem.
Oftentimes we actually cut the wood, and I may end up
having to do that to make room for the sterna notch here because the 2 x 4 is just a little
bit wide for the neck. So I may have to do some cutting. But we’ll wait until later
and just see how things develop.
Again, what I like to stress with sculpture is building an armature that’s flexible
so you can alter it when you need it. If you spend a lot of time working on detail you’re
going to be quite reluctant actually to alter the armature to save the piece, but there
are times when you just have to do that. The clay isn’t as warm as I’d like it to be.
It’s a little cold so it’s hard on the hands. It’s a great workout to do sculpture
because you’re always—it’s, you know, people that use these little exercise balls
to crush, I don’t need to do that. I’m doing it all day every day with clay.
So I’m attempting to build the bony structure of the skeleton and the skull, the part that
holds that brain is really the shape of an egg. And the widest part is not in front.
Most people think right here at the cheekbone is the widest part of the face or the head,
but it really isn’t. The widest is clear back here where the occipital area connects
to the temporal area. So when we build the skull we want to make sure that it’s got
that egg shape to it, and that the widest part is in back, not the front.
One of the really, I call it a beauty mark, but in women more so than men, men have
a heavy brow ridge. But women have a much lighter brow ridge, and there is an upper
part right in here, the center of the skull projects a little bit forward. So if I can
turn you once again, Ariel, to just show that. So you see how the forehead projects a little
bit forward. Then we’ll talk about the profile of the nose and other parts of the face. Think
about all of the sensory organs in the head, those things that balance the body, those
things that are aware of the environment; the eyes, the nose, mouth, and ears. So that’s
really the personality part of an individual, and we’ll develop those things and teach
you a lesson on how to do each of those sensory parts of the head.
Get some more clay here.
There’s a trade off. We have a warming oven here, and it
can put out some pretty good heat to soften the clay; otherwise, this would take me forever.
They make clays today that are not as fluid and flexible. If you buy a water clay this
goes very fast, but water clay has a disadvantage because you have to keep spraying it with
moisture to keep it pliable. Otherwise, it tends to dry out rather quickly in the open
air. I love water clay because it’s a terrific material to work with, and it just feels—somehow
it feels right. What we’re doing with oil clay is we’re trying to imitate the feel
of water clay. We use various fillers. Years ago the Italians decided to use marble dust.
A really fine marble dust has a nice feel and look to it. So marble dust is a terrific
filler. But to suspend those pieces of marble dust in a mixture, they used linseed oil.
Now, they were trying to create an imitation really of beeswax because beeswax has such
a nice sticky feel to it. But it’s also very fluid. It’s a great material to work
with. So they worked with beeswax actually quite a lot.
So they started working on formulas for oil clay, and they used marble dust as the filler
and linseed oil as the vehicle and other waxes to make the waxy mix feel about like beeswax.
But because everything has a different coefficient of expansion and a different weight, those
materials tended to separate. So they found that they could use sulfur as a suspension
agent to suspend the solids in the clay, and the linseed oil then went rancid after a time.
So they had to preserve it, figure out a way to preserve it. So they added formaldehyde
as a preservative. So when you smell this clay it has a very pungent smell. You’re
smelling the smell of the sulfur and the smell of the formaldehyde. So of course in the modern
age that we live in now we don’t like formaldehyde and we don’t like sulfur, so more modern
manufacturers are using more inert material. So they’re using vegetable oils and other
ways of preserving that don’t have potent qualities to them. So you can buy clay and
it’s not going to go rancid, and it’s going to last a long time.
Some of the clays it’s interesting because without the sulfur they do tend to separate,
so the oil wants to migrate to the surface. Oftentimes you’ll have a piece of sculpture
you haven’t been able to finish. And you’ll store it, and if you store it in a cool place
you’re probably all right for a fairly long time. But if it gets warm and then cools and
warm and cools the oils begin migrating to the surface, and it’s almost as if you have
sprayed it with a coat of varnish. It’s very gooey and sticky on the surface.
So you have to peel that surface away when you want to rework a piece of art, and so you’ve
got to deal with that. Well, the ancients had all that solved, and so now we think we’re
such a great refined people. We’ve invented all these great things, but oftentimes with
progress also come problems. So the way the address solving those problems is interesting.
It always helps, I like to help what’s really unique about being an artist and especially
a sculptor is that you’re curious about materials. You want to know what the limitations
of materials are. You want to know how everything works. And so you begin to, you curiosity
leads you around wondering, well, why do they do this like this? How come that? We’re
always looking for answers to mundane questions but very important questions if we want to
progress and do our work properly. Certainly if we’re carving wood we want to know the
limitations of the wood and how it splinters and different kinds of wood. Some woods are
very soft. Other woods are very hard. Some have a grainy structure that if you disturb
it affects all the grainy structure around it.
Okay, I’m just working on a basic shape here of the top of the skull, and I know it takes
time to do that, but we’re starting to get there.
I’ll do some more refining as I go along. We’ll just start with the basic shape.
my tool again. In sculpture I use a rule quite a lot to actually measure with, but we don’t
care if this is a little larger than her head or smaller, as long as things that are relative
to one another are in proper proportion. Now, I cut this armature a little bit long because
the length of her head is about 7 inches. When we put the jaw on there the dimension from the jaw to the hairline,
and we can’t see that because I don’t have a lower jaw in there yet, but the dimension
from the hairline to the bottom of the jaw is the same dimension as from the forehead
to the very back of the head, the occipital protuberance in back. That is probably the
most important first dimension you should know about as you begin to create a head.
If you’ve never done a head before, I’ve done workshops around the country, and what
I enjoy doing at some of them is I would give a lecture in the beginning and draw on a board,
a blackboard or whiteboard. Draw the proportions of the skull. The nice thing here is we can
actually demonstrate it. But when you draw the proportions of the skull and then you
tell everybody in the room what the proper proportions are. And then tell them I’m
going to tell you before you start all of the mistakes you’re going to make as you
do your first portrait, or even if they’ve done a few. I can tell you in advance. I’m
a prophet. I’m a soothsayer. I don’t know what I am; but I can predict what they’re
going to do, and I tell them because I want them to look for those things and avoid them
so they can prove me wrong. But in almost every case they proved me right because all
of the things that I tell them that they’re going to do mistakenly, especially relative
to proper proportions, they do them. And I don’t know if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy
to tell them that way, but I want to make them aware of what they’re going to do that
does not make good sculpture.
And the first thing is, of course, as I said earlier is making this. Here is where the
forehead is going to come. And hers is a little forward. We need to be willing to use a hammer
to put things in their proper place. The forehead comes forward. There is the crown of the head
here. But the first proportion is wherever the auditory canal is going to be, halfway
between the front and the back. That’s where the sternal notch is going to come, and I’m
still not quite enough far forward to avoid that. So the way to solve it is either cut
a notch out of here later, which I may have to do because I’m running into wood on this
end. I may have to saw that off. But I don’t want to come too much further forward here,
or I’ll end up with a portrait that’s quite a bit larger than I want to do.
Typically, if I’m going to cast this in bronze I make it slightly larger than life
size. I can’t tell you how much larger. But for example, if you were to do one and
a tenth larger, that’s kind of a good proportion. As you increase the volume of something or
the dimension, the linear dimension, you increase the volume in a whole different way. Now a
good illustration of that is if I made this head twice life size then it’s going to
fill eight times the volumes. If you think of a room the size of a room, and you say,
okay, I’m going to double the size of the room. Another layer of rooms in front of it
and a layer over the top, so now you’ve got eight times the volume by increasing the
volume by just doubling the linear dimension. So a very small increase in linear proportion
will make a big increase in volume.
I recently completed a number of sculptures that were done to one and a quarter or 125%
of life size. Now, if you think about that, if you take measurements from a six foot man,
multiply it by 125%, a 6 foot person comes out 7-1/2 feet tall. So imagine the difference
in volume. I usually increase the volume a little bit. One of the reasons being bronze
shrinks. All of the process, you make the mold over the clay. Then you cast wax inside
the mold. The wax shrinks a little bit. Then you invest the wax in a ceramic shell material,
burn the wax out and pour the molten metal in. Well, a metal shrinks a little bit. So
metal shrinks usually between 1/8 and 1/4 inch, so let’s say 3/16 of inch for bronze.
So the piece, if you make it exactly the dimension of the model that you’re doing, the finished
piece in bronze is going to come out smaller, and it’s going to look significantly smaller.
Then in bronze you typically put a patina on it, which darkens the bronze. A dark color
looks smaller. When you view something, normally when we’re talking to each other we’re
just a foot or so away. You know, 18 inches face to face so we see each other up very
close, but when you’re looking at a piece of sculpture you’re generally at a distance
of 8 or 10 feet. So the dark color tends to make it smaller. The distance tends to make
it smaller. So a life-sized bust cast in bronze oftentimes looks smaller than life size. Oftentimes,
when people look at them they say, oh, they were much tinier than I thought they were.
They were small people. Well, can or cannot be true based on how much shrinkage has happened
in the wax and the bronze portions.
Okay, I think we can see the forehead becoming a little more vivid. Now we’ve got to start
working on the jaw. See that nice big oval shape? I’m running into these. I’m not
going to worry about them just yet. We’ll come back to that later. We’re getting the
auditory canal about as close to that as we can. I could put her head back a little bit,
maybe cheat, but eventually I’ve got to have that sternal notch in there. It’s got
to come back far enough. In fact, in Ariel her sternal notch—if you look at Michelangelo’s
work and some of the great sculptors of the past you’ll see that the throat comes forward
and it has a convex shape. It doesn’t droop in at all, but it has a nice round shape.
It tucks right in behind the sternum. So that sternal notch is really an important
landmark in portrait sculpture.
Oftentimes it’s easy to just make a jaw. Again, we’ll throw these rolls of clay on
here. What I do too, which I will advise Ariel at this point is, again, this is not a painting.
It’s not a drawing. In a painting or drawing you have to hold very still. The model just
has to hold a pose as long as the artists are working on that pose. Holding that pose
is quite exhausting. But in sculpture I don’t mind if the subject moves around the bit.
The model, in fact, in some cases I’ve let people stay in their office and do their work
as long as their head isn’t down at the desk all the time. But if they’re on the
phone and animated I get more of the character into the piece. I can study the head better
as it moves than if it just sits there in a very stark, still position.
So let’s try to get this jaw built up a bit. Oftentimes I’ll build this whole front
and stick my two fingers into the clay and pull two holes. I pull them down a little
bit. The orbit, the area the skeletal frame around the eye comes down. It’s almost like
a parallelogram that falls down a little bit. So instead of doing a square here you just
pull the outside corner down a little bit. So I’m going to show that. I’m going to
build it up instead of pulling it in just because my clay is a little too stiff today.
It’s hard to push clay when it’s hard like that.
But I need to show you that zygomatic structure.
Okay, so let’s begin to build up the jaw a little bit more. I’ve rolled a couple
of pieces of clay here, warmed it up. We’ll make a real primitive looking creature here
for a minute. What we need to do is establish some proportions. We started pulling this
zygomatic arch into place, which is very important to create this frame of the skull. For the
eyes. Fill this little spot in. Now, the first proportion of the head we’re going to—in
fact she even has a smile there doesn’t she? It’s amazing how these abstract shapes
suggest things. You can see a face in there.
The first proportion we’re going to worry about now is the height to the width. So we
said earlier the length of the head from the brow ridge to the back of the occipital protuberance
is the same as from the bottom of the jaw to the hairline. So let’s say her hairline
is about there. So we want to make sure those proportions are going to be correct. I need
to add a little bit here to the jaw to bring it down a little bit. There is a nasal bone,
and of course when you look at a skull you see a very, a hole. Actually, the bone comes
down a little bit, and then it cuts in right there. So that’s the shape of the skull.
So the nasal cavity, the sinus area, that’s all tucked up into the skull.
But that defines where the skull goes.
Now, the tear ducts of the eyes, to someone who has never done a portrait before, if they
do this for the first time they’re always going to make the face very flat, and they’re
going to put the eyes above the center of the head. But the tear ducts in the eyes,
let’s measure that. Can you just turn toward me, ArieL? I’m going to measure to the tear
duct of the eye, from the top of the skull down to her chin. The tear duct is halfway
between the crown of the head here and the bottom of the chin. So if we measure that
in two halves we know exactly where the tear ducts and the eyes are going to be. So we
could mark that if we want to. It’s a little landmark.
Then another thing to look for is as we do this as we do zygomatic arch, and it’s an
arch. It’s a bone that comes from the back forward. It comes here, and it has a nice
concave shape right here before the shape of the bone comes down. Now, the bone really
helps protect the eye, and from that bone and from the other portions of this bone and
the muscle that surrounds the eye, which is called the obicularis occuli, meaning a circle
around the eye or it orbits the eye. Knowing all of those, you really have to go to an
anatomy book to see where all those things are. Now, an anatomy book is flat so you’re
looking at a flat picture. It’s hard to get the concept of the depth unless you’re
actually looking at a skull or looking at a model. So I’m going to have you turn again
to the left about a right angle. I’d like to show-there’s a long line that starts
at the brow ridge and comes down this way, but notice how far back the outside coprner
of that zygomatic structure is way back there.
So when the eye, when you do an eye you’re not going to do it flat across here. You’re
going to cut it in, the zygomatic bone back. Also, notice the lips. The lips follow the
contour of the teeth underneath, not the rest of the face. All amateurs doing a face for
the first time will always put the lips following the contour of the lower part of the face
including the cheeks instead of cutting the corners of the mouth in so they follow the
contour of the mouth. So turn again as you were facing forward.
Now, see the roundness in the lips, how beautiful that roundness is. Roundness in the eye, the
outer corner of the eye—in fact, would you mind tilting your head back. I want to show.
See where the tear duct is and where the outer corner of the eye, how far back it is? So
be aware of that when you create the eye. Relax again.
So those are the things I’m going to be thinking about as I block this in. Then there
is a temporal ridge on the side of the skull where a massive muscle connects. The temporalis
anterior that is really a chewing muscle. It goes down and connects to the front part
of the jaw. So we’re going to now create a general shape for the jaw right here. The
corner of the jaw is called the angle of the lower mandible. So this is the mandible, is
the jaw. And the shape of the jaw, it has a little hollow structure in here, a hollowed
out area. But the jaw comes up and it folds in like this, tucks in under this zygomatic
bone. And there is a head of that bone that sticks up right in there and attaches to this
temporalis anterior muscle. And wherever muscle connects to bone it usually makes a bony protuberance.
And there is a long ridge line where this temporalis muscle connects to this edge and
underneath the parts of the skull. Notice how much that helps it look like a skull just
to put that ridge in there. For example, if we turn it this way now there is no ridge
in there. It doesn’t have that feel to it. So we’ll put one on this side as well.
Build up the jaw a little here. Again, sculpture once you do one side you’ve got to turn
it around and do the other side so you get double the amount of practice. It also has
to look correct from the front and back view and any three-quarter profile view you can
imagine, plus underneath and overhead. So there is a lot to think about in sculpture
to keep everything growing at the same rate. If you just do one side and you haven’t
done the other to comport with it, then you’ll find yourself in trouble later on. So it’s
good to just keep moving around and not dwell on one place and try to refine it too soon.
Or you’ll get yourself in trouble and you won’t keep the proportions going properly.
Each of us are, unless you’re totally ambidextrous have a tendency toward right handedness or
left handedness, so sometimes because our right hand is on the left side of the portrait
we tend to spend a little more time working on this side. Oftentimes it enlarges itself
in our mind, and we end up with a longer face on the left side just because we’re
right handed or vice versa.
get more width back here in the skull. Now, it’s hard to see because Ariel’s hair
is covering all of that. So how do you see under the hair? Sometimes with a model you
just have to poke around and go in with a tool and find out where that is if they’ll
allow you to do that. You can get the idea of where the widest part is. Someone like
me who is bald you can easily see it. But where someone has a lot of hair you have to
find it. Now, I think that’s really important to find that. You just can’t cover it with
hair and suppose you’re going to get it right. I suggest that you create the skull
first before you put any hair on it, and then the hair has a better opportunity of coming
out right. Then when you put the hair on, and we’ll get into more detail on that,
but the hair is not just a bunch of lines. A lot of people put a layer of something on
there and then just put lines as if the hair is all combed and a bunch of scribed lines,
but the hair has form to it. So notice right here that beautiful little wave there, another
little wave there. This tuft of hair coming back.
So you’ll see form in the hair, and we want to get that over the skull. So when you start
cutting form into the hair you don’t want to cut into the skull. This is the worst mistake
that people typically make that have no idea of how important the skull is underneath the
hair. It’s the skull that makes the hair look right and move right and do all the things
it does, and if you don’t have the skull under it, then your sculpture will be weak
and quite unprofessional. So as we progress through this piece I’ll remind you over
and over again to look for the skull under the hair. So just be aware that that’s going
to happen. Now the jaw has a point of articulation which is right—the auditory canal is if
we drilled a hole here, this is where the ear is going to go around that. The sound
goes into the brain through that hole right there. Just in front of that is a joint, so
the jaw locks into the skull right there. If I were to cut this loose which I’ve done
on occasion just to show how the jaw moves I think you can picture that all right. So
the jaw has this joint. The shape of it comes down. Without the zygomatic arch in here I’m
just going to show you, give you an idea of what the shape of that bone is like. So it’s
sort of shaped like that with this little protuberance right in front that sticks up.
A little bit of a hollow here. The angle of the lower mandible here. So the jaw bone is
shaped like that and right to the end of this bone here is where this temporalis muscle
attaches and fans itself out as it comes across here. So there is a tremendous amount of leverage
with the jaw. It has all that muscle connected to it there. We put the zygomatic structure
in here so that’s underneath this zygomatic structure where it attaches to the bone. Now
you can see that has power in it. But also, right along the edge of the zygomatic bone
another muscle attaches and comes down and wraps around. It comes down and it kind of
twists as it connects to the lower part of this jawbone. This is called a masseter muscle,
and a good way to remember it is it’s massive and it masticates. That’s what you chew
with. So this muscle comes down.
There are a lot of glands that fit over the top of that, so when you see you’re looking
at the face, seeing this area, you’re not quite seeing that muscle. In a male you have
a tendency to see it a little bit more because men are more angular. Females have all of
the same features, but they have more what is called adipose tissue or fatty tissue that
fills the space in between the muscles and gives it a more round, more subtle look to
the way muscles and bones blend. So you can’t quite see the delineation, but you see the
beauty of the line that follows the old golden mean principle. The Greeks used math to try
to define what beauty was. So this is a mark of beauty, and a lot of that is very evident
in the female. But in the male it’s more structural, so you tend to see the skeletal
frame a little bit better in the male.
I think it’s good to do a female figure to talk about this. You can see that has a
masculine look about it now with all these muscles on it. The angle of the lower mandible
here, protruding. I always look for the bony structure and build them up a little bit more
because they tend to erode. As you work on it they just sort of disappear so you have
to go back and keep putting them in.
Okay, so there we have the skull, and we have a very angular end of the chin, the bone sticking
out of the chin. So now it’s looking like a skull isn’t it? It’s important in doing
sculpture that you know what the skull looks like under because it’s going to influence
everything that happens on top. Notice again how when we come back for the sternal notch
we may, the sternal notch is going to end up clear here. We could actually take a chisel
to this and just chisel out a chunk of this wood and hide it. We may have the corner of
this piece to worry about. We’ll see what happens when we get there.
Right behind the auditory canal is another bony structure, which is called the mastoid
process. I recall when I was a young boy one day I felt kind of funny, and I touched this
spot behind my ear, the mastoid process. I thought, wow, that hurts. I’d chew with
my jaw and I could feel something back here that was really weird. So we went to the doctor
and the doctor says, oh, you’ve got the mumps. So the mumps, there is a gland here,
and it attacks that gland and swells up and gets very, very tender. So whenever I do or
talk about the mastoid process I think about that experience as a young boy.
Ariel: Right here?
It’s behind it, behind the ear.
Ariel: Right there?
No, behind it. Right—go up a little higher and behind it.
Further back. Right. You had your finger on it. Right there, yeah.
Can you feel that?
Ariel: Ooh, ouch.
And you just open your jaw and you can feel the pain
and feel something going on, I guess the fluids from that gland that’s in the mastoid process.
So again, let’s see, halfway between the front and the back. That’s the auditory
canal. I may have a tiny bit back too far, but I’ve got to build this back to hide
this wood. But I think I can do that with her hair so that shouldn’t be a big problem.
The crest of the crown of her head should be probably a little higher right about here.
Again, we’ve got to get the width right.
Typically, when you study sculpture, if you study like the old masters studied, they learned
sculpture inside and out because the skeletal frame is really what sculpture is about. The
skeletal frame and then the muscles simply make that skeletal frame articulate and work.
On a brief study of a drapery I blocked in a head, but it didn’t put any detail in
it. All I did was push these holes in where the eyes are and put the zygomatic structure
in the jawbone and cut it in like this so the mouth could follow it. From a distance
it looks like a finished head. So that’s how important a skull is. Without anything
else on it the skull looks like a person, has the same dimensions and so forth. But
if you take the skeletal frame out of the inside of the figure what have you got? Just
a stack of muscles and no structural describable form.
But with the skeleton then we have the form.
Now, what I wanted to point out here. I’ve got to catch up now on the left side of the
skull. But in doing so I’d like to point out that the skull is really a bit oval shape
like an egg again with a wider part at the top. So if you’d like to learn—when you’re
drawing you’ll find that sculpture actually helps your drawing quite a bit because the
way you analyze things in sculpture and then apply them in drawing probably some of what
I say seems awfully repetitive. Repeating things I hope doesn’t become too mundane,
but it just simply supports your range of knowledge. What I say that repeats itself
in the skull I’ll say again relative to creating the form of the skeleton, the frame
of the body. So there are principles that apply no matter what you’re doing.
So I took lessons, music lessons, piano lessons for quite a long time. My teacher, in teaching
theory the first thing that he started telling me about theory I had no clue what he was
talking about. The symbolism, the terms that he used meant absolutely nothing to me, and
I was totally lost. And he said don’t worry about it, Ed, because you have to hear something
seven times before it begins to register. So you may here these things seven times before
they have a great deal of meaning to you. But the great thing about that is if you continue
to practice and do these things over and over, after awhile they become and automatic response.
So the trick is how does a musician just play an instrument with valves or play a piano.
He’s not thinking. He or she is not thinking of every single note and every way you should
position your hand or which finger should hit the note. It becomes intuitive and automatic.
So that’s our hope as we advance more and more. We’ll give you enough information
that you can begin to build a base of knowledge and get some fundamental principles down.
But as you go through it over and over again then those principles become automatic, and
you don’t really have to think about what you’re doing. You’re just using experience
and intuition to carry you forward. So then you can concentrate on what it is you’re
doing rather than the pure mechanics.
Now, all of this is kind of mechanical to get to where we need to get which is the next
step. We’ll just turn this so you can see it. I’ll put the angle of the lower mandible
over here. Push this around. Fill in this area which somehow we’ve ignored. I’ll
use the rough treatment tool on that, see how much that helps. Sculptors are permitted
to use hammers. It’s hard to use a hammer on a painting, isn’t it? Or a drawing. But
we can use it in sculpture. Anything that helps us move material we can use. Think of
clay too as being a temporary material.
Now you’ve noticed I haven’t used any books or reference materials because I should
know this anatomy. I could perfect it a little more. But we’re going to cover things anyway,
so if I have the basic proportions and the basic structural elements that we need to
know and we can talk about those in a generic way then even the accomplished sculptors who
have no idea of me and my background, but have never had this kind of training, can
benefit from it as well as the beginner. So the principles are exactly the same no matter
what level of art you’re creating. I hope that’s helpful.
So here we have the skull. I’ll turn this. Ariel, if you could rotate left and rotate
right. And I’ll rotate this with it and hopefully the camera will help the viewers
see the shape of your head from side to side as well as well as—there we go.
you need to take a break occasionally and let the model rest, especially if you’re
doing drawings and paintings. The model can’t assume a pose—or even in sculpture when
you have a model take a particular pose it’s very tiring and so you need to take breaks.
So after a short break now this was a good time to kind of end this little session on
the skull and make some progress. We’ll discuss muscles. First, however, I want to
put the maxillary, which is the upper part of the teeth, the bony part that has the upper
teeth in it, and the lower mandible. So if we were to just describe a line across there
you get a sense of where the teeth fit inside the skull. Remember, we’re going to follow
this contour of the teeth when we put the mouth and the corners of the mouth in and
talk about details of the mouth.
We’re going to now just add a few of the important muscle groups. I’ll create a little
bit more of a brow ridge. In a male it’s a pretty heavy brow ridge. In a female it’s
a very soft brow ridge. It’s distinctly there. Just check the top of the skull to
get that nice form of the skull on this. There are two protuberances on the skull in front.
The frontal eminences, if you look at Michelangelo’s Moses you’ll see horns growing out of the
skull. The horns wouldn’t be clear back here. The frontal eminences are what correspond
to the parts of the skull that horns grow out of on other creatures like a ram or a
cow or some other animal. So look for the frontal eminences. Again, in a female this
beauty mark, I call it part of the skull that actually projects forward just a little bit.
So around the eyes we have a muscle that doesn’t connect to bone. And there aren’t too many
muscles on the body. I guess there are a lot of muscles, but prominent muscles. Most muscles
connect to bone because they’re making the frame, the skeletal frame—I call it the
architectural frame of the figure—function or articulate. So in the wrist it’s all
bony. In each of these knuckles it’s all bony. In the elbow you see all bone. Same
in the skull. You see a lot of bony areas that then muscles connect to. They have to
have leverage so they connect to things. They have to have leverage so they connect to things.
However, around the eye is the orbicularis oculi, meaning it orbits the eye, comes around
in a circle, but it doesn’t hook to bone. So when you squint and make certain gestures
with the eye, it’s this muscle flexing, and it has the ability to close the eye to
protect the eye. And this frame, the bony frame around the eye is there also to protect
the eye. So the orbicularis oculi. Under that is a ball, and perhaps before laying that
on there we ought to just do a little ball to represent the eyeball. The thing we want
to keep in mind with the ball of the eye is that on the front of the ball is the cornea,
so the cornea projects a little further forward than the rest of the ball. I’m going to
keep tucking this in on the side because we showed a little while ago, and we can show
that again if you’ll tilt your head back. Remember how the tear duct is closer to the
nose. The outside of the eye is much further back. So we’re going to keep pushing that
bone structure of the zygomatic bone or arch. Push it back further. So we don’t get this
orbicularis oculi too far forward. Most people when they put this on now, if you’re going
through and just following my instruction you’ll put that on there. It’ll flatten
that eye out. So what we want to do is push that corner back. Push it back so it comes
back far enough. So put the eyeball or something that looks like the eyeball. Push this outer
part of the eye corner back. Put the muscle around the eye. We have another muscle that
surrounds the lips, the mouth. The lips are very interesting because the lips are—I
guess the best way to describe it is endoderm. We have skin on the inside and the outside
of the body. Inside is endoderm, exoderm on the outside. But where the lips come together
we have this orbicularis oculi muscle that surrounds the mouth. It looks a little weird
there to just put it in like that.
But, when we talk about that later you’ll find that the endoderm is as if somebody made
a very careful cut, and the cut is like a cupid’s bow. Somehow in our evolutionary
process or in our embryonic process it’s as if that skin just rolled out from the inside
of the body to make the lower lip and upper lip. So when we do the math we want to think
of it as being endoderm meeting ectoderm as you see in Ariel’s edge of the lip. Quite
often the amateur will make that line very solid all the way around. The line isn’t
that. The two fade together especially in this area of the lip right there. So the line
that you see in the lips comes and goes. So we’ll get to that in a few minutes when
we’ve talked about some of the other muscles. We already talked about the masseter and the
large masseter muscle, the temporalis anterior.
Now there are a group of muscles called the quadratus labii superioris that connect to
the lips from the zygomatic structure. They come down. I’m not going to point them out
individually. One comes from the outer portion of the zygomatic bone, one a little further
in. There is one here, and there is one that runs right along the edge of the nose that
connects to. So quadratus labii superioris group is what kind of controls the expression
of the lips. So you have to be aware that they’re there. Often when you’re blocking
in a portrait you’ll look for a nice hollow shape right in here that comes out toward
the lip. And that gives the right expression to the lips. So just be aware that it’s
there. We’re going to leave this lower part where the lips are on this radius that comes
around the teeth. So the upper and lower mandible or the maxillary group and the lower mandible.
These medical terms are not so important to have to memorize or know, perhaps. Once you
get used to knowing that they’re there and you do the research and probably get better
than I am at remembering these terms. It’s been 50 years since I did my gross anatomy
studies, but I name them so you can find them if necessary if you want to do a little extra
research. But I name them because I want you to be aware of what it is we’re looking
at and paying attention to. Okay, so we’re starting to get a little bit of an expression
of the face here. So those are the basic muscle groups that affect the way the head looks.
So the temporalis anterior, the masseter muscle, orbicularis oris, and orbicularis oculi. Oral
meaning mouth, oculi meaning eyes. So let’s do that on this side as well so we can catch
up. It seems like this part of it is a little on the technical side, but to me it’s extremely
important if you want to do portraits because oftentimes people think it’s all about talent.
You know, you look at the model and you just reproduce what you’re looking at. Some approaches,
some of the art schools make castings of other sculptures that have been done from history
in the past, antique sculptures. They often will take a portrait and divide it into planes.
So you’ll look for planes. In painting and drawing we’re usually looking for planes
the way light reflects on a surface. So if you make a combination of planes that reflect
light you can make a head out of that. But in that case you’re looking at surfaces.
I’m not looking at surfaces so much yet, anyway, as I am the internal structure. The
thing that causes shapes to happen on the outside. Little temporalis muscle here. Angle
of the lower mandible and then the masseter muscle that ties from the zygomatic ridge.
It comes on a line that tilts backward. So when you look at someone’s face—Ariel,
would you mind facing left again at about a right angle? The thing I’d like to have
you notice is off the brow ridge there is a line that comes down like this. The line
cuts right through where the zygomatic bone attaches to the face, and it sort of follows
the line of the masseter muscle, so you get these lines coming off the face like this.
If your face is too flat, if you create a face that just has a flat look to it you’ll
never see that line. So always look for this angular line. Thank you, that’s good.
Alright, muscles. I think it’s important to—we’ve got a floating head here. And
there are a couple muscles we’re going to talk about that have to do with the shoulders
and the neck. The main one is connected to this mastoid process behind the ear is a long
muscle that basically breaks apart into two heads, and it comes, the proportion on looking
at the portrait, it’s going to come about halfway from the front to the back of the
skull, so the sternal notch, this notch in the neck you see, and especially you’ll
see it when somebody hiccups. You see that retract in there. The trachea and the esophagus
are connected together and come up and make this arch toward the throat. Of course, the
tongue is in there as well. But make a nice convex shape coming from the sternal notch
forward. So we see that here.
Alright, we’re putting the esophagus and the windpipe together coming out. Of course,
you know on a male there’s a nice big Adam’s apple where the larynx, the voice box is.
On a female you don’t get that. It’s very subtle. Still there, but it’s so subtle
you don’t see it. It doesn’t stick out like a huge Adam’s apple, we call it. I
guess it was named after Adam because it’s in the male and not the female. Okay, so here
is the stretchy, long muscle. I want you to sit straight like you’re sitting right now.
Then rotate your head extremely to the left, and I want the viewer that nice long muscle.
Go back again, straight ahead. So you see these nice lines that are now
coming across these long lines.
I don’t know if it’s really a science or a pseudoscience, but there is a science
that people enlist in that is called personology, and personology is reading various traits
of people by the characteristics of, you know, the proportions of the head, the width of
the mouth as opposed to the space between the eyes, and so forth. I don’t put a whole
lot of merit into it, but there are some interesting things that I learned from personologists,
people that study that area of science. Again, I’m not sure what to call it. But, for example,
they would say if you have real narrow lips you’re precise. And, of course, that can
be overcome by other physical characteristics, the width between the eyes or the space in
the middle. All these proportions vary in different people. What I’m giving you is
a general proportion so you can use that as a standard and then work from there. They
say if a person’s eyes are very close together they have very low tolerance, for example.
This preciseness in the lips I noticed years ago. I was working on a sculpture, and as
I start working on higher and higher detail for some reason I hold my lips tight like
that. Oh, that’s what personologists are talking about; I’m becoming precise, and
it shows in my lips.
So a lot of characteristics show up in the face. One of the traits of personologists,
they say a line like that coming around the throat means that they’re a vocal person
and often have a beautiful singing voice. Sometimes even though you don’t know how
much merit to give it, just somebody saying those things forces you to look for certain
characteristics in people. I think that’s helpful to do that. In the front at the base
of the neck where we have that sternal notch, and I’m just going to push a hole in there.
It may be in the wrong place, but it’ll tell me later if it’s right or not so right.
But we have a bone that comes right down the center of the rib cage called the sternum.
And then we have the clavicle that actually attaches to the sternum. It makes the sternum
look like a bow tie because it has a wing on both sides. Then the flatness in the middle.
It’s called the medial head. Medial meaning middle. The medial head of this sternocleidomastoid
muscle comes back, comes down and attaches to the sternum, and it’s inside this joint,
this bony joint of the clavicle.
Now, I’m not going to do much on the neck right now, but later on when I establish where
the shoulders are, often I’ll put a cross piece of wood in there to support the shoulders
from the rear, and I may take a longer piece and bring it clear out here and nail that
across here so it’ll support the weight of the clay. But for now we’re going to
leave that off. When we take another break at a later time we may come back and put that
in so we can refine and finish the head.
bone that comes around the back, it’s like a big plate that’s bowl shaped. But it has
a ridge. So the ridge of the occipital process I would call it comes down about halfway down
the skull. Off that comes the trapezius muscle. Trapezius is a trapezoid shape.
The sternocleidomastoid muscle on this side, same as the other side. And the trapezius muscle then, actually
there are some muscles that are more internal. They’re deeper muscles that connect to the spinal column and
come out this way a little bit to help support the head and help turn the head. But the trapezius
muscle comes down and actually twists as it comes down and attaches to this clavicle.
The clavicle is sort of an S-shaped bone, and it comes out of this sternum, the corner
of the sternum. It comes back and then it drops back. Again, you can check these things
on you. You can just feel the bone where it comes from the clavicle, goes across, and
then it drops back. So it kind of makes an S-shaped curve a little bit like this, but
we don’t have anything to support it with right now. This will come out to the acromion
process on the shoulder and become part of the scapula. This is reversed. This will be
on the right side. Here is the scapula. Acromion process comes out and attaches to the end
of this protuberance here, and then this acromion process extends underneath to the front. That’s
a little too technical for now, but at least it’ll make you be aware of the shape of
this clavicle bone as it comes around, and that the trapezius comes around and attaches to that.
So the clavicular head of the sternocleidomastoid, I guess I should explain what I mean about
a head. A head on a bone is a bony end of a bone, and it usually has an enlarged joint
where it attaches. But the head in a muscle when you speak of the head means it breaks
apart into two distinctive parts of a muscle. Sometimes these muscles blend together into
one unit so it comes back down as a massive unit, and then it sort of splits apart, so
it makes what are called heads. So you have the clavicular head meaning this part of the
muscle attaches to the clavicle. Then you have the sternal head which attaches to the sternum.
Again, I wouldn’t worry too much about these names, but I want to give enough information
that if you’re really devoted to finding out how all this stuff works I can give you
enough information, and you can go back over it and over it. As I stumble around words
you’ll see that, well, the important thing is not that I know the medical term. The important
thing is that I know that it exists and that it affects the result of the work that you
do as a sculptor. So just looking at that right now you can get a sense of this sternal
notch, the sternal bone, sternum, and this head, the sternal head of the sternocleidomastoid.
And the clavicular head here. Notice I’m so old even the medical terms oftentimes change,
and I don’t recognize what I’m reading, but I can figure out what they’re referring
to. Over time even the scientific language alters and evolves like everything else. So
I may or may not be pronouncing these things correctly. But the important thing is that
we’re talking about them, and you’ll know how to look for them.
Okay, now from the side view. See how that really starts helping the shape of this portrait.
Maybe a short story. I was doing a portrait once of a gentleman, and his nose was bent.
Oftentimes when we’re doing a portrait we’ll look at the figure and we’ll draw a center
line down the center so we make sure it looks right, but everybody’s face is asymmetrical.
If you take a photograph of one side of the face, print a mirror image of it and put it
on the other side, it doesn’t look like the person anymore. One side is not exactly
like the other. Each side of the face is different. You have to learn over time. You learn to
look for the differences. In the portraits of Lincoln that I’ve done you really see
that. In fact, his jaw is bent a little bit. He has a scar on one side of his mouth, and
it’s as if he—I was told once by speculation that they think maybe when he was chopping
wood a splinter, a piece of wood bounced and bounced up and hit up right there. It almost
looks like it broke his jaw because his jaw is misplaced a little bit. But when you look
at most people you could say, well, you know their jaw has shifted one way or another.
But you can draw midline. Oftentimes it has a nice curve on it.
One painter I know does superb paintings. I asked him before, how is it, Robert, you
can do such great paintings? And he said, well, why do you ask? And I said because your
left eye is about a quarter of inch higher and further back than your right eye. How
can you see? Of course, he just shakes his head and laughs. But some people are so profoundly
different from one side to another, you know, you wonder how those things occur. In some
people you can tell that they sleep. Older people you can tell that they sleep on the
left side all the time. Their face becomes bent and flattened on one side. Even the ear
becomes flat. The other ear sticks out. So we’re all asymmetrical, and we need to look
for those subtle differences.
It might be a good idea now if I start adding some of the facial features. For example,
we haven’t talked about the nose. There is a nasal bone that sticks out here. You
can usually see a little arch right there where the cartilage of the nose connects.
And the nose is a series of cartilages that connect to this bone. But we can take our
nose and push it sideways. So again, is suggest you get an anatomy book and see how the nose
is formed. These cartilages have some definite angles and planes that really define a person’s
face or the shape of the nose by where these angles and planes go. Now, I can see this
little hollow that comes below the brow ridge.
I’m going to start looking at Ariel more now because I’ve just been doing a generic
skull and generic muscles. But now we’re going to start looking for individual characteristics.
I would like to describe the proportions, the relative dimensions, for example, of where
the nose comes and where the lips come and so forth. But I think in this case I’m going
to do it after I get a little more material here. There’s a plane on the side of the
nose, plane on each side of the nose. So you can think of it like a big triangular shape.
Nose coming down. There is usually a flat surface on the front and then two planes on
the sides. So just to block a nose in you can just put a plane there, a plane there,
and the split in between where the cartilage comes. A little part that hangs down, and
then the nostrils. Nostrils are very sort of complex, but they’re very beautiful if
you do them right.
The upper lip on the side view usually comes—let me ask you to turn your face to the left. The upper
lip, I’ve added a piece here. The upper lip usually comes about halfway between the
tip of the nose here and the outside of the wing of the nose. So if you go halfway that’s
usually typical. In Abraham Lincoln his lip is way behind center, so there are a lot of
variations in people, but that’s basically where it comes. Okay, turn this way again.
Now, I’m doing this a little different than I normally do, but I’m going to point out
the parts of the lips to you. Remember, we’ve got that muscle that orbits the mouth that
causes a lot of expression and those things tied to it. But as the lip hangs down from
the top we get a little fullness right in the center of the lip and a little hollow
on either side, sort of a concave shape, and then we get a fullness in the outside of the
lip. So as you look at the lip there is a nice full little bulb right in the center,
a little hollow, and then another fullness on the outside. Strangely, that’s complemented
by on the lower lip where this is hollow on the upper lip. You get a fullness on the lower
lip and a little bit of a hollow right in the center. Sorry to do that because this
smell, the odor of this clay isn’t very pleasant with that sulfur in it.
So that’s what we’re going to do. In nature it’s interesting how concave shapes compliment
convex shapes, so we’re going to build this lip with these shapes I just described. There is a
little hollow right under the nose. We’ll put that in and put this fullness in the center.
But it’s quite a shock to—like I did with Ariel just now, put this tool right next to
her nose because that sulfur smell, I mean there is nothing worse than the smell of sulfur.
It’s a very foul smell so that got her attention for a minute. So we’re going to do the wing
of the nose, the shape of the lip. This nice hollow shape right there. Fullness coming
down. And the corner of the lip, we have to treat it as this endoderm being somehow severed
in the early embryonic stage, and then the skin growing together, the inside skin so
it’s almost like scar tissue that creates these lines. Then the corner of the mouth
tucks in a little bit.
My portrait is a little bigger than Ariel is in life because, again, I like to work
just a little larger than life-size for various reasons. So if we compare her scale to this
scale, this will come out winning the contest in size, where she may take it on delicacy
and the fineness and the sensitivity of line and so forth. Again, this is going to be a
little crude and rough initially. Probably going to raise her brow ridge just a tiny bit.
Okay, there’s the mouth. The mouth is series of fullnesses. Ordinarily when I’ve taught
classes I do a large set of lips separate from this. But since we’re doing the full
head it’s nice to be able to demonstrate right on the head itself and then catch the
relationship between the other parts that we’ll be describing. So we’ll do general
characteristics. Then we’ll get into specific and make it look more like her. Although in
the blocking-in phase I’m looking at her, so I am thinking about what the end result
should look like. Now, recall what I said about the quadratus labii superioris group
connecting to the zygomatic bone. Ariel has a very nice big, full cheek, the cheekbone.
But there is also fatty tissue over the top of the bone, which gives a nice round shape.
If you look at different races, for example, Native American people usually have huge cheeks.
Compared to Lincoln he had almost no fatty tissue or adipose tissue over his zygomatic
arch and the zygomatic bone. But she has a nice round form there that’s easy to see,
and because of just this slight plane change there you can see the shadow edge of that,
it defines where the edge of that bone is going. That’s what determines where those
shadows are. Again, it’s very subtle. But that subtlety makes the difference in making
it look either like her, the finished product, or someone else.
A huge mistake people make, and I don’t mind calling it a mistake because it’s a
lack of understanding of how this fatty tissue, the fold right here in the cheek comes off
the nose. See how it orbits out from this part of the nose. It comes down this way.
They make that groove. They’re looking for the groove and trying to draw a line on a
form, and once again, sculpture is not drawing lines like we have learned to do from the
time we were infants to indicate a shape. There’s no line there. It’s this beautiful
form here, meaning the form of the lips up here. And the way those two forms come together
create the illusion of a line that is just two different forms coming together. So if
you can develop the habit of looking for that in your own work, look for the form. Don’t
look for the line. The line only is a, it’s like a highway. The border of a state doesn’t
define what the state looks like or the border of a road doesn’t tell you in three dimensions
what the terrain around the road really looks like. So only use a line to mark something
that you need to remember or the location of something or where something goes. But
never in the finished product do you want lines, really. Maybe once in a while just
for an accent, if there is a wrinkle or something. Typically, we’re not going to use lines.
Now, already, look how the eye is beginning to come into view. The eyeball underneath,
orbicularis oculi. And then these, there’s a subtle little fold right here under the
eye just like there is from the nose.
doing to move your head because, again, look at that line that comes under the nose. Then
the nasal passage is actually above that. Then there is a beautiful plane that comes
at sort of a 45-degree angle coming off the nose and that right here. So you can see that
plane. See on this side we don’t see that. We put the plane in there and suddenly it
looks like a nose. It’s nice to have a model that features shows well on because on many
models the nose can be covered with so much adipose tissue it’s very hard to see those
little subtle angles and planes.
Now, as she rotates her head like that you can see shadows and you can see planes. You
can see form that you can’t see if she’s sitting in the light in one position. I just
saw as she moved a little part of the zygomatic bone that I couldn’t see before. The zygomatic
bone, if you touch that bone right there under your cheek you can definitely feel a ridge,
and I want that ridge to be there because it defines where that bone drops off. Ridge
right there. A couple of smaller muscles. One muscle I love is called the corrugator
muscle. It’s the corrugation on a paper box, a cardboard box. It just kind of ripples,
and it comes right down from the brow ridge down to the top of the nasal bone. When you
wrinkle your face your corrugate that muscle. So it’s a great name.
You get little wrinkles in it.
Now, there is a delicate little hollow right behind here in Ariel’s nose, which is a
distinctive characteristic that we don’t want to miss when we do the finishing of her
portrait. Now, I’m going to fill out the cheek down here. There are glands and other
muscles. There is a little muscle that connects from the corner of the lips or the orbicularis
orus. It connects back into tissue. It helps us smile so when we pull our mouth back that’s
the risorius muscle. Fill this in front of the masseter muscle if I can. Begin looking
for some of those more subtle shapes.
When I begin a piece of sculpture I make the shape of the skull. But of course I don’t
do all of this detail work that I’m pointing out to you because I want you to understand
what I’m thinking as I do this and what it took for me to get to the point where I
am as a sculptor as by being a conscious and aware of all of those things each time I do
work. But I don’t quite start from scratch every time. You won’t either. But it helps
to be able to do that. You need to do it occasionally just to refresh your memory of where all these
things are located and the shapes they have and why they’re there and what exists and
what doesn’t. If we get too lazy about it eventually we’ll lose our ability. In fact,
I remember the professor that I studied under, it seemed like as he got older his work faded
in competency in some respects. He was still a very competent sculptor. But his work fell
into a stylization, and I wanted to make sure, well, does this happen to every sculptor.
I didn’t know at that point, and I wanted to evaluate that. Then I became acquainted
with artists who were really accomplished artists who even in their 80s, 90s were improving
all the time. So the way they do that is they keep their mind fresh. They’re always learning
and striving to get better and better. So that’s a good way to think of this. If every
time you do a piece of sculpture don’t just repeat what you’ve learned in the past,
do something that’s new, something that teaches you and gives you a new experience.
It’ll keep you fresh and vital and ever improving until the day you die.
See, I need to fill in under the chin here with a little bit of connective tissue. I
discovered long ago that there are muscles that come out from under the skull that connect
their deep muscles instead of just below the surface, the superficial muscles. But they
cause an expression to the face, and one of the lines that I discovered—would you rotate
again to your left? You can see a line coming off there and coming down here. You can see
stretches in the muscle. This is called the platysma muscle, and also you see a blood
vessel going up that direction. If you forget that, if you don’t put that in then somehow
your work won’t quite look right. So I put that in most portraits I do. I’m looking
for little landmarks like that that really help make the portrait come alive.
Okay, we’re getting a start now. It’s starting to look like a portrait a little
bit more. I think what we’ll do is take a little break and come back, and we’ll
start describing proportions a little bit better as we get caught up here. Right now
I think we’re filling in the muscles enough that you can see a head in there where before
it was all just bones and muscles and ghoulish looking, but now it’s beginning to look
a little more, I guess, artistic in a way, more like a head.
So we took a little bit of a break but I’ve been trying to catch up on some of the parts
I wasn’t able to do, so we’re not spending a lot of time, but we can start talking now
about proportions of the face. And the brow ridge I may not have the nose quite long enough
here. So let me just double check. I do this by, you always see the pictures of the artist
with this thumb out. What you’re doing is making measurements. I do that with my tool.
I just hold it at arm’s length so I don’t move the distance. I just measure dimension.
So in measuring Ariel pretty well follows what we teach as a standard measurement for
dividing the face. That is you usually go by the hairline being a third, and I’ll
explain that. But if you divide the face into thirds, one, two, three; you’ll get up to
the hairline. So one-third, the bottom third comes to the bottom of the nose. The next
third comes to the brow ridge, so I’m going to put just a little something in there so
we can mark that brow ridge. A third to the hairline right there.
Now, her hair comes down a little more because I think there is a little more peak to the
shape of the skull behind it, which gives a nice shape to the crown of her head right
there. So a third, a third, a third. Then halfway between the bottom of the nose, and
I’ll measure that, and the bottom of the chin. So if we were to come halfway is where
the bottom of the lower lip. This little edge that sticks out right there is halfway between
the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the chin. That’s pretty close. I can see I need
to fill this in a little bit, the lower lip. Her lower lip actually protrudes a little.
So if you can turn to the left and just show them your profile you can see that lower lip
protrudes a little bit right where that peak sticks out right in there. So we’re going
to look for that. Okay, look back this way.
There is a little protruding part right in the center but the lip itself is somewhat
hollow, so where that protrudes right there, sticks out a little bit, it’s kind of a
landmark. It’s usually a little bit hollow right there and quite often almost folds backwards,
so where the lip is full I talked about the fullness where there is a hollow on the upper
lip there is a fullness right under it. So we get this nice cupid bow line like this.
I’m going to exaggerate that just so you can see it. Up and then down again with the
fullness there. So you see that cupid bow shape and the fullness where it’s hollow
up here it’s full on the bottom, and it tucks out from the inside as if this lip is
just rolling out its endoderm, remember, inside skin rolling out to meet the outside skin.
Then being sutured together with a little line of almost scar tissue where the two blend.
Then there are some subtle little, there’s a little hollow right in there. Usually hollows
are caused not by lines; you don’t want to draw lines. But you want to see the shape
around it, and the shapes that surround that create that line so you don’t want to just
draw it in. Her lips are sloping down a little bit. So her lip slopes down a little bit.
We’re not sure if we’re exactly where we need to be. Again, this is not a line.
It’s a fullness of her lip meeting the fullness of the adipose tissue under the zygomatic
structure, which creates a space. And painters in particular or people that do nice drawings,
if they understand how these two surfaces come together—there’s a little concave
shape right there behind the wing of the nose.
When you do a drawing or a painting, concave shapes, contrary to what we naturally believe,
we think the highest highlight, for example, around a nose would be the highlight on the
peak of the nose where the light shines off, reflects. I’m not getting down to the real
subtleties quite yet. But if an artist understands this concave surface right behind the nose
and the concave surface right where the tear duct of the eye is, it reflects a lot of light,
and so the really fine paintings when you look at them you’ll see a nice reflection
right inside where the tear duct comes out and at the side of the nose. Those are concave
surfaces that reflect light. Think of a concave mirror. A concave mirror actually gathers
light. If you’re looking at your own reflection in a concave mirror the image is not behind
the mirror as you see in most mirrors. You look at a mirror and your image is out there
behind the mirror, same distance that you’re standing from the mirror, but not in a concave
mirror. You look at a concave mirror and your image if you can focus your eyes properly,
you’ll see the image is actually floating in front of the mirror. That’s what happens
here. This concave surface gathers light and reflects it back.
So understanding that shape is very helpful in drawing and painting as well as in sculpture.
Now, I think it would be helpful if you wouldn’t mind turning toward me instead of straight
ahead. Turn about a three-quarter view. Right there is very, very good. Okay, now I can
begin seeing the shape of the lips and also these little lines that radiate around the
lip. They’re little folds and oftentimes you can create those folds in ways that complement
those fullnesses. There is a lot of texture inside that lip right there. Now, her lips
are not really wide. When she smiles they are, but when she’s sitting as she is now
the lips are probably pretty—they’re not too wide. They’re not too narrow. Look for
the corners of the lips, and you’ll see how this corner, there’s a shape that comes
up out of the lips. This makes this corner of the lip here look likes it’s rolling
out from the inside. If you can create that expression, I remember how many years it took
me to figure out how to do the corner of lips. Lips seem to be very complex, but once you
understand them they actually come quite easily. Don’t worry about those little things that
change your expression because they really help me understand you better and what you
really look like. So even a smile, a cough, a glance, anything helps me build more personality
into the piece, so I can create a better likeness that way than just sitting and posing.
Art has a way of looking alive or dead, and if we’re trying to pretend we’re dead
sitting there in one position and not moving then the art tends to show that. But on the
other hand, if we’re a little bit animated and thinking and doing things that cause a
little bit of expression, that really helps me and my work. Now something we haven’t
talked about that maybe I should mention is masks. We can make masks. In fact, I did Ronald
Reagan’s inaugural medal in 1980, and when he asked me what do you need, I said, well,
one thing that would be very helpful since I can’t take you back home with me is if
you would allow me to make a mask. He says, oh, I don’t mind if you do that. He says
I’ve had somebody do that before. At first he told me where I could find a mask already
done. I found it and it was a terrible mask. It was just a poorly made one, and I knew
I could do a lot better. So he consented to that, and I thought what a nice thing that
he did to accommodate me to help me, but in a mask you capture the character of the individual
verbatim. It’s an exact replica. You get the pores. You get the textures of the skin.
They can’t leave their eyes open while you’re putting this material, but I took a dental
silicone material, a rubber, and you had to mix a catalyst with it. Unfortunately, part
of it didn’t set up so there was a part of the mold that didn’t turn out very well.
But when I pulled it off I had an impression of his complete face. Of course, this is something
I don’t recommend you try at home because you need to be sophisticated in the way you
do this. You know, somebody could become injured or if you didn’t give them a way of breathing,
you know, you could kill somebody doing this. But to do a mask you have to leave breathing
holes open. I left the auditory canals. But I was able to get the outside edge of the
ear right up to his hairline. By making a mask like that you get a verbatim,
exact replica of a person’s face.
doing a display in a wax museum that may work, but for sculpture, for art it really doesn’t
work that well. One of the problems with a mask is that it looks dead. It has a sense
about it that doesn’t have, you know, it doesn’t feel like a real living person.
So you use a mask as a tool, but you don’t literally make a copy of the mask. Although
I know people that do that and call it art, but that’s not what fine art is generally
all about. Fine art is taking that mask then and studying it and arriving at artistic conclusions
based on a person’s face but not reproducing it as a casting of somebody’s face. So I
talk about that only so you know that is one way to study a face, but you still have to
understand the underlying anatomical frame and what causes all these things to happen,
especially expression. When somebody raises and eyebrow or they close their eyes or they
do just behavioral things that really add character to a piece of art. It’s nice if
you can kind of analyze that and figure it out on your own so you’re not relying on
just a simple casting that was made of someone’s face.
From this view I can see her cheekbone is really sticking out right there. In fact,
would you rotate about to that position looking left? And I’ll show how the cheekbone sticks
out right in this position here. So you see the profile? I’m looking for this profile.
The cheekbone, the zygomatic bone sticks out there, comes down here. Then I’ll pick up
the outside of the cheek down here. Turn back again. Yes, toward me. I don’t have quite
enough here, but you see that distinctive line that I talked about from the quadratus
labii group coming off the zygomatic bone. There is a definite plane. Rotate left and
then right again so they can see that. It’ll be right in this area here on the other side.
Now slowly rotate back—a little more slowly. You can see that line coming in right here.
That really helps. Thank you. Just stay right there. Turn a little left. There, that left. Yeah.
Ariel: You don’t want to sculpt the back of the neck?
Eventually, yeah, if I don’t run out of clay first. I had a friend once who said—well,
he was politician and of course he thought a lot of himself. He said, well Ed, when are
you going to do my portrait. I said, well, when I can save up
enough clay I’ll consider doing it.
Ariel: Enough for the ego.
And I never called him back because I never saved up enough clay. Okay, so very subtle
things are happening as Ariel is rotating her head now. Just right there is see these
tiny little lines in the expression. Just smile a little bit. Yeah, there you see. See
that group of lines right there. Then that where the cheek comes in and tucks in. Walks
what happens so that when she relaxes, but it goes away. I want to save that. My expression
to something like that and save it, cast it in bronze. It’s profound and it’s amazing
how sometimes the tiny things we see that give us such pleasure to just notice something.
I remember I used to look at rocks in the road and I look at a specific rock on the
side of the road, and I say I wonder how many people have ever really looked at that rock.
So when you look at a face and you’re trying to create a piece of sculpture, a portrait
of someone you’re looking for those distinctive landmarks that make it distinctively them.
What I do because I know what I do about proportion when I do a drawing quite often I’ll do
just an oval shape, put two indications of eyes halfway down the skull, maybe a little
shadow under the brow ridge. Tiny shadows, angular shadows under the nose on kind of
a 45-degree angle, and just a tiny little shadow under the lip. It’s amazing how such
a simple thing can be finished and look so good, and there is nothing there,
just a hint of those forms.
So that’s what our eye recognizes when we see somebody walk down the street and we recognize
them immediately. We’re not looking at the detail of their face. We’re seeing their
stance, the way they hold their body, the way they walk. A lot of clues, visual clues
that come to us that have nothing to do with really fine detail. Okay, I’m getting a
shadow under that upper lip so I’ve got to create enough. There’s one subtle thing
I want to point out right here that I don’t know if the camera will see, but right there
is a little shadow, so right here is an expression, and it’s probably one of those muscles underneath
that’s causing a little change of plane that creates an elegant expression. See this
line coming down here in the cheek to the corner of the mouth. It comes right out to
the corner of the mouth. And yet we don’t want to leave that line in there. We want
to make it a change of plane. I need more tissue under your cheek there.
There is a fullness where the lip comes up there is a fullness here that comes back off
the lips. You’ll see that really extremely in some of the old Indian photos that Curtis
took. You’ll see that full, it’s almost a grimace. It’s very subtle on most people,
but it’s a beautiful shape. If you can master that this shape is part of what makes the
lip look like it rolls out from the inside. So you want to capture that in an elegant
way. Then there is a little shadow below this edge where the endoderm and the ectoderm meet
with this little line. And this line often totally disappears. That little plane there
I see a little hollow spot right there.
One of the things that I like to do—when I studied gross anatomy I found that muscles
aren’t just laying over bone. They connect to bone, and they often have a twist to them.
A good example is the pectoralis major muscle. The muscle comes up, the fibers that are along
the sternum and along the rib come up. Then when they tuck in the fibers that are here
tuck into the upper part of the humerus here. The upper fibers come down and attach to the
humerus lower down. So when you extend your arm like this those fibers are all lengthened
out. But when you put your arm down like this they twist as they connect. So we want to
get the twist in these muscles. The subtle twist that is in the masseter muscle on the
side gives a tremendous amount of expression to the face. I see an angle right here in
Ariel’s jaw, which is caused by another muscle called the triangularis that attaches
to the corner of the mouth. It attaches to this orbicularis orus muscle and comes down
and connects then to the jawbone. It sort of twists as it connects. It leaves just a
little fullness right there that if you didn’t know about that muscle you may not even see
the fullness. If you do see the fullness you’ll have no idea what causes it. So knowing that
it has to connect to the corner of the mouth right there is an important piece of information.
If you don’t build that into the work then the work will show it.
My theory about sculpture or art is what comes out of a piece of art is only going to be
according to whatever the artist put into it. In other words, you can’t expect to
get more out of a piece of art than the artist is willing to put into it. That’s one of
the reasons I go the extra mile to understand all this structural information, because if
I don’t understand it it’s going to show in the final result. Normally I’m blocking
this in and will have it reasonable looking by the end of today. Altogether we may put
four to six hours into this particular piece. So what you see today may have a certain level
of likeness. But typically I’ll work on a portrait like this for a month to two months
before I finish. It goes through a lot of changes, and it morphs from one thing to another.
There is a metamorphic process in evolving this into something that really looks fine.
You know, we can do it faster than that. I can do it in a matter of a day or a few days
and make it presentable. It might look very artistic, but it’s typically not what I
like to do when I finish a work. Imagine sitting here watching this stuff on a television week
after week. You’d get awfully bored. Hopefully the amount of work we’ve done just in this
session and moving through the different stages of developing a thought or an idea will be
not only helpful but somewhat profound to you as you develop your skill.
Let’s talk a little bit about the ear. I want you to rotate again to the left so I
can see your ear. I’m going to—even though I hate to do it—I’m going to step out
in front just for a second just to show you this line. If you take a line from the brow
ridge and the bottom of the nose, and you draw parallel lines back from there, and the
line falls down just very slightly. It’s not straight across the face. Your face is
elevated. Point your head down just a little bit. Not that much. Straight. Right there.
See now, her face is pretty well straight on the front, but this line is just a tiny
bit below the brow ridge and a tiny bit below the ear. Okay, that’s good.
Now, as time goes on gravity takes over and you’ll notice especially in older men, not
so much do you see it in women because usually hair is covering their ears, but you’ll
notice men have this big earlobe that hangs down. The ear kind of grows. We’re going
to talk about the ear a little bit. The ear is, if we draw a line from the top of the
brow ridge and slightly down on an angle, and I can’t tell you what the percentage
of angle is, draw from the bottom of the nose that same angle so this is a parallel line.
That tells us where the ear is going to go. Now because of this, because we’ve altered
this in the meantime this auditory canal has changed its position, so it really should
be down about here. It looks like the skull is very flat up there, but the auditory canal
is supposed to be down here. That’ll help add to the height of the portrait.
We’re going to create a simple question mark. If you look at the ear it looks like
a question mark, doesn’t it? I don’t remember the names, but the tragus and all of these
beautiful shapes that come and radiate out from the inside of the ear, we’re going
to create all of that but for now we’re just simply going to set the ear on here and
make a question mark. Then we’ll look later for these very subtle shapes. I’ll put a
few of them in here. This is like a ridge of skin that has just rolled around from the
inside and has a little ridge right along here. There’s a nice hollow place there.
This part of the ear tucks in and goes behind over the auditory canal. The auditory canal
is just below it. It tucks in and it comes into the back part of the ear, this round
full shape here. This round full shape here. So it’s kind of like a seashell in its complexity
and its ability to gather sound. We’ve all held a seashell up to our ear and used it
as an amplifier for sound. Of course, the old timers used to have this big horn they
put in their ear to hear people when they lost their sound. But the ear is a very complex
instrument, and it’s made so that it picks up sound and it amplifies it. So somehow these
soundwaves rotate around here and are amplified before they go through the auditory canal
to be sensed by the semicircular canals and the parts of the ear on the inside.
There is a fullness right here. If you notice right there this is a fullness of the front
of the ear. I want to get that shape right. Okay, can you rotate just slightly to the
right? There we go. Now, that fullness there, the shape of this little fullness compliments
this fold below the zygomatic arch where this cheek then meets the plane of the masseter
muscle below. So that’s a beautiful line that starts right up there and then gradually
comes down around the cheek. We’ll blend that together there.
The zygomatic structure in the front that I mentioned has a ridge right along here.
edge of the bone drops off. So when I create this part of the head that meets that shape
of that zygomatic bone that structural member, the bone is going to stick out. It always
demands respect and attention it’s from that point that everything else built. I’m
not really doing a great job of replicating of what I see in Ariel’s profile, but I’m
getting most of the parts in and in the proper place. So as we refine it we’ll make it
look a little bit more like her, but we’re getting parts and pieces of her here. It just
isn’t all going to look exactly like her for a few minutes. Okay, there we go.
So you see the position of the ear. You see this beautiful shape here, the roundness of
the ear. There is always a little load that sticks out right there. I shouldn’t say
always because on some people it’s almost invisible, wherein on others it’s really
prominent. But if you know to look for it it’s a fullness in this direction. Then
the ear comes in so the ear is not flat on here. It rotates out like that a little bit.
Sometimes I have to go back in and remind myself and get behind the ear and actually
pull it out. So I’ll get behind this with a tool and bend it out like that and fill
in behind it so it can’t go back flat. Some people’s ears are really flat. You see the
different expression it has when you poke it out like that, give it a little more height.
This nice gesture where this part of the ear comes, and it rolls out from the inside, creates
a nice expression as it comes down, meets the bottom, the base, this little space right
here. Again, I’m not remembering the names of all of these little intricate details so
I hope you can follow me despite that. If I were a doctor or a medical person I’d
want to make sure I get those all right, but we’re talking about art and sculpture so
I’m trying to get you just to look for these various characteristics without having to
necessarily put a name on it.
Now, I’ve got her cheek coming, her jaw bone, excuse me. Her jaw bone coming back
a little too far. So I’m going to cut this out. This tool is very handy for that. You
notice I do a lot of work with my hands and not a tremendous amount with the tool. I think
the hands are much more sensitive instruments to work with in a tool, so if you get in here
and do as much as you can with the hands, the fingers, I think the end result turns
out a little bit better. Okay, so that looks better for the jawline.
Now, still, we want that prominent part sticking out which is the angle of the lower mandible.
Now there is some really subtle stuff in here that I’d like to be able to model, but in
the interest of time we can’t do that right now. So that’s why it takes so much time
to do the finished piece of sculpture. If we spend time on all of those intricacies
than it looks real. It looks like it was, you know, it’s the real thing. A little
less on the chin. There is a plane. You see this plane coming across the bottom of the
chin like that. Sometimes you can even take the hammer to adjust that and just go like
that. See what that plane does if you can look at that in profile.
The same with the bottom of the nose. There is a little plane on the bottom of her nose
right there. You can see that. So then we’ll make the chin comport with that shape. I hope
you don’t mind if I’m quiet for a while. Sometimes I just feel like I need to just
talk all the time. It might be better if you just watch and see these subtle things take
place instead of listening to me try to explain it. At other times I’ve seen people teach
sculpture who say nothing. They just demonstrate and you don’t really learn much. Beautiful
little shape to this under the chin part.
Now we have a little bit too much 2 x 4 behind us here, but I need to try to see the shape
of the neck. Again we can go in and slice that out later if we feel we need to do that.
We talked about the nice shape here of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, but what we didn’t
say and what we didn’t see is the roundness to the neck there, so we have to fill in some
of these hollows. I mentioned a few minutes ago this line coming around the neck. I think
that it is a nice landmark. It has a nice expression, so I’ll just scribe that in
there for now. That’s the musical line that I mentioned. Nice angle on the top right there.
There is a very sharp, it’s almost a ledge the zygomatic arch. From the front this probably
won’t look like much because I’m just sticking pieces in there not knowing how they
relate to other things. I’m looking at this silhouette, this line from an oblique angle.
Again, this is sculpture so you have to do that.
I like the ability I have to see these distinguishing characteristics because when
we talk about the nose, for example, and the way the cartilage is formed. I haven’t gotten
into enough detail. Again, you can see that from anatomy books. But to see them actually
being visible as I am today, I suggest when you find a model that you try to find someone
who has really refined characteristics and not so much just round shapes so it’ll help
you understand. This plane across the nose is very important. This little fullness right
under the nasal passage is here. If you look closely at the nasal passage you’ll see
the skin how it folds underneath. We’re not looking so much for that right now, but
when you do the final refinement those are really important little characteristics that
are important to the character of the person you’re doing.
Would you mind rotating just a few degrees to the right? About like that.
That's great. Now, I see right there I see a little shadow edge coming off the nasal bone here
that I want to put in there that really dictates the shape of where the nasal bone sticks up
and then the cartilage attaches to it and comes down. Add a little bit of a fullness
right there. Now I’m working from one angle here, and this may look perfect from this
angle. Then you turn it and it looks terrible from another angle. So in the refinements
that’s what takes so much time is getting it right from every possible angle.
Now, she’s going to look a little bit more masculine because I’ve emphasizing these
points and there is no hair on top of her head right now so once we start working on
hair this will become very feminine. We’ll try to make it look feminine with the way we treat
the shapes, the way we work things. I’m seeing just a little bit of a shadow across
here under this line. So if we come there, create a little indentation there where these
two shapes meet, that should better suggest Ariel’s profile.
So all those things continue to add up.
We want this to be distinctly her unless were using her as a model to do something that’s
more profound. For example, Augustus Saint-Gaudens designed the $20 gold piece, and we know how
popular that is still today. It’s a classic portrait. He used someone for a model, but
he made that portrait into a classic piece of art. So it wasn’t supposed to look so
much like the model that he was using as it
looked like almost a Greek idealized
portrait that can be used for all time or
even all nations would recognize it and give it value as a classic work of art.
Okay, see this profile now. It’s starting to come together. It’s not there yet. A
little line coming up right there. So from here on it’s really your eye. What does
your eye see? How have you trained your eye? What is it capable of seeing? What’s your
level of understanding of what you’re actually looking at? All art really is learning to
see. If you can see it then generally you can portray it. You have the hand and the
eye coordination once you can see it. But if you don’t know what you’re looking
for then you won’t see it. That’s why I tell all these students when they start
out. Okay, these are all the mistakes you’re going to make. And they do because they still
can’t see it. Once you point it out in their work and then you’re able to demonstrate
what they need to see then the understanding begins to come a little bit better.
The ear is just a very fascinating part of the body. It’s an incredible.
It's got some great shapes.
A little concavity right here where this little loop grows out.
If you stick your finger in your ear right up here you’ll feel that sharp little part
right there. And then under it it’s hollow. This is very delicate where this piece comes
in to the inside of the ear. A nice plane right there. So the ear needs to lean back
slightly, and I need to maybe emphasize that a little more. Bring this part forward. Her
head is looking down very slightly. So the ear now is not, if you were to draw those
parallel lines from the nose to the brow ridge and then extend this forward just a little
more then I think we create the character of the ear. Notice this little hollow shape
behind the ear and the stretch—you can actually see a little stretch of skin that comes right
off the bottom of the ear down into the jaw. Because it stretches like that you’ll see
a little hollow right in this area. Well, that defines the angle of the lower mandible
so you can always see where that is. So you can see knowing where it is and knowing how
to look for it, the possibility is pretty strong that you will see it.
you can create, so it’s all learning to see. How do we learn to observe what it is
we’re trying to portray. That’s the challenge isn’t it? I need a little more fullness
in the neck here to make it more round. These muscles that come out from under the sternocleidomastoid
and then point in a different direction actually come at an angle to it. It sort of emphasizes
the strength of the neck. But again, it’s very subtle. I’m going to add just a little
here. We’re running into the wood a little. But if I add just a little piece here and
give it some direction than you can see the neck and the trapezius muscle just a little
bit better. I wouldn’t be too distracted by the fact that we’re running into the
2 x 4 right there. We’ve just used materials that are handy and figured out how to work
around them. Remember how far forward we went here. So we had these two a little bit long,
but we’ll probably cover those with hair rather than have to cut them off. But in here,
depending on how we treat the back of the neck we may have to go in with a saw and just
saw a little groove out there so we can finish the neck properly.
We don’t want to be limited in the beginning. We can’t think of everything, so that’s
why I stress using a flexible armature system so you can go back in and make changes later.
Remember that we’ve cut this upright post in the middle so now we can bend the head
one way or the other. So we do have some flexibility there as well. And we may need to chisel a
few corners of the armature off there at a later time. I’m just sort of checking things
right now. I’m going to put a quick ear on the other side just so you see it and it
doesn’t look unbalanced.
Ariel, if you could turn this way and I’ll just try to line the two up and line the face
up. Yeah, just look straight at me like you were. That’s good right there.
Then we’ll talk about the eyes.
Okay, that’s really, really nice.
Subtle little things, but again, I want to
avoid too much detail until we get the big things done. So what we’re going to do now
is we’re going to talk about eyes.
The first thing I need to do with eyes is
get the structural elements around the eyes this parallelogram in the eye socket looking good.
And we talked about and put the obicularis oculi in there. Now we’re going to start
looking for the shape of the eyelids and the structure of the eyeball underneath. We put
a ball in there, but now we’re going to be more specific about where it is, what the
shape of the eye looks like and the distance in between. So let’s start this out by talking
about the proportions of the eyes.
As we look at the brow ridge the shape of the skull over the eye. Now, the eyebrow can
be deceptive because we tend to see the brow but not the shape that’s under it. But there
is a nice fullness in this area of the eyebrow. I just put a little indication of the brow
there, but the ridge has a fullness here across the frontal part of the skull.
This is a convex shape complemented by underneath
a concave shape. And then as you look at the outer portion of the eye, right there you
see that beautiful convex shape in the outer area that folds out and around the eyelid.
Look at the deep—open and close your eyes a little bit for the eyelid so you can see.
The eyelid is interesting because it has three planes. You get a line that comes up from
the tear duct to the plane on top and another plane that drops off the backside of the eye.
Once again, tilt your head back so they can see. Now look how far back from where the
tear duct is. So you see that definite backward angle. We can’t really tilt this back. But
I’ve got to work to get that because that’s a common error in most portraits especially
from beginners. They just don’t understand how far back the outer corner of the eye comes.
Now, what we didn’t do is talk about dividing the eye up. Look at the space between the
tear ducts. She has a fairly wide space there and a narrow nose. So the nasal bone gets
quite narrow. Notice how narrow her nose is right where the nasal bone is and this corrugator
muscle we talked about. It’s very smooth, very delicate so it’s not really doing anything.
It’s just creating a shape. But if you don’t mind, could you just corrugate your corrugator?
Just kind of wince or look like that? Yeah. See how that wrinkles up right there? Makes
a line, makes some wrinkles. Of course that’s what most women especially want to avoid.
They don’t want those lines in their eyes like that. But you have to be able to see
where they would go and how the skin responds to expression because we want to understand
how to create expression in the portrait we’re doing. Not only a likeness of someone, but
the personality of the individual. More comes out of it than just a likeness.
Now, as we measure the eye this is working a little reverse from what we usually do,
but the fact that we have the head here to go by along with some semi-finished parts
along with it, now we can place the eyes a little bit better. Look at the space between
the eyes and figure out where to place the tear ducts. This area behind the nose flattens
out a bit right in here. There’s a nice concave shape. But if we establish where the
tear ducts are going to go typically an eye is if we were to divide this space for the
eyes into five eye lengths, you have one length between tear ducts. You have one length to
the corner of the eye, and another eye length from here on out. Remember, the widest part
of the skull is way back here. It’s not up here where the cheekbones are. Widest spot
is on the, actually it’s the parietal section of the skull, the bones that are back here.
We’re going to even that up a little bit more as we go along.
So one way to think of the head is someone once described the shape of the head is like
the prow of a ship. So you see the prow of the ship coming forward. Now look at how her
cheeks drop back here. There’s a hollow here. It really looks like the front of a
ship. It gives you that kind of impression. Make sure you follow the contour of the teeth
underneath with the shape of the lips. We’ll cut these corners of the mouth in here like
that so the mouth follows that contour and doesn’t become blending. It doesn’t blend
it with the rest of the cheek. Otherwise, it’ll have totally the wrong shape. The
ancients did that, and we call that the archaic smile because if you look at archaic pieces
of sculpture, ancient Greek and Babylonian and other cultures, even some Egyptians. But
it amazes me how the Egyptians learned to do a round mouth. If you look at the Nefertiti
portrait that was done during the great period of Egyptian art you’ll see the mouth is
very much like Ariel’s mouth. It has a nice roundness to it. Then again these shapes are very subtle.
They become harsh when we first put them in. We have to learn how we make that harshness
into something very soft and gentle so the changes in plane really work well.
Again, see we don’t have a deep groove here where the cheek is on her left side. It almost
looks like this blends together right there. Yet, there is a change in plane there so it
creates the illusion of line. If her head is in a little different position, you know
the lighting right now is filling that in so it just looks like there is
nothing there by way of a line.
nose a little bit if I can. It’s oftentimes great to just put your fingers in here and
flatten that part of the nose out. Take off the excess on the bottom. Then there is a
definite plane to those nose on the bottom. Her nose looks very delicate. There is kind
of a sharp edge right on this outside edge. But you definitely see this 45-degree angle
plane, and the wing of the nose comes and rolls under like that so
the nostril tucks up under that.
Okay, so now the cartilage you see almost a split. Right between her nose you’ll see
a little bit of a hollow shape right there. It’s so subtle you almost can’t see it.
But if you know it’s there you know how to see it, and then you know how to put into
your work. You’ve got to be able to see it first. Then the shape of the cartilage
under the skin here on the sides of the nose, and look how this is even quite delicate here,
not as delicate as the structural part above it.
A story, I was doing a portrait once of a man and he had a crooked nose. My wife, after
he left, said his nose is crooked. It looks like it’s been broken. That’s not the
way it is. I said well it is that way. She says what do you mean? I said I think he broke
his nose. So it’s bent. It has a definite bend in it. Of course, we waited until he
came back for the next sitting. The doorbell rang and my wife greeted him, and she said,
oh Leo, your nose is bent! Of course, he thought what’s that all about? We told him what
we had discussed about his nose. I was sure I had gotten it right, and she didn’t think
it was bent like that. I said, so I have question, Leo, did you ever break your nose? He said,
oh, I didn’t just break it. I broke it three times pretty badly. He said I played football
when I was in high school, and he went on with this story.
So we talked earlier about the asymmetry in the head, but there are all kinds of distinguishing
characteristics. We need to look for those things on a big broad basis as well as a very
highly refined basis. So now I’m going to look for the shape of the eyes, how the lid
comes out right from there. Can you look up a little bit for a minute? Thank you. And
I’m going to create this shape, but I’m also going to create this fullness on the
extra skin that hangs down from the zygomatic. Not the zygomatic arch but the brow ridge,
and it changes direction when it comes to the temporal ridge. Now, her temporal ridge
is almost invisible. You can very definitely see a change of plane right in that area right
there. It comes across and then it changes plane. There is a little hollow right there.
That sort of defines where this temporalis anterior kind of sneaks behind this bone right
here. We’ll just put a little dent there to make a landmark.
See that plane coming across the front of the eye? Now think about the eye. I remember
how gross it was in high school when these boys would turn their upper eyelid out and
they would actually put the cartilage on the outside, and they just looked weird.
I mean boys do boy things.
Ariel: I can’t do that.
I can’t either and I don’t even want to. It looks so grotesque. But what it teaches
us about the eye is how important the cartilage is. The cartilage is there to protect the
eye. Something hits the cartilage then it defends the eye against being punctured. Right
in the front of the eyelid is a little cartilage, a little round ball almost like a contact
lens only smaller, and it protects the eye. It tells you why the eye has three different
definite plains. The skin stretches up from the tear duct to that point in the cartilage,
then the other plane that goes down. So if you can see those planes then now you begin
to understand the shape of the eye. So that’s what we’re looking for are those three planes.
Again, they’re very subtle. If you didn’t know they were planes you wouldn’t make
them that way. You’d just make a round eye and somehow it would lack a little to the
character. That’s what defines usually the—right in here there’s kind of a deep, sunken part
in the eye. That’s why it’s there, because it’s trying to get around the, the folds
in the skin are trying to get around that cartilage. Also, the eyelid comes up from
the tear duct, and now it’s not only got to go over the ball of the eye, it has to
go over the cornea of the eye, which has another form that extends from the eye. So the eye
from the side view now is going to look like this. It’s going to have a definite look
like it’s kind of folding under.
Let’s look at the cornea and where the bottom of the cornea and the iris come. And it’s
as if the iris is resting on the bottom lid. The bottom lid folds up under the eye
so that gives us basically the shape of the eye and the parts of the eye that we need
to understand. Then we’re going to cut this iris and the pupil. The old Greek art, a lot
of it you see just a round ball like I have here now. Let me do the other eye first so
that I get them both looking fairly consistent. The lower lid actually is higher than it is
where the tear duct is. If you look at it carefully we tend to put it lower, but it’s
really higher where it meets the upper lid. It has a shape to it, a thickness to the skin
of the lower lid so we see that like a shelf, a definite shelf coming around the bottom
of the eye with the iris resting right on top of that shelf, then the tear duct. We
want to make sure we put that in the proper place.
Now we’ll look at the tear duct on the other side. If anything is wrong or out of order
we’ll correct that a little later. We may need to move the eye one direction or another
or up and down. Once it’s in place we can see the error a lot better than if it isn’t
there at all. So let’s define that. Here’s this nice full shape here. I mentioned on
the brow ridge how it’s a convex shape and there is a concave shape under it, and that
kind of defines the bottom of where the bony structure is. The roll of skin comes out from
that and sort of makes that bony corner disappear to some extent although we can still see it.
You can feel it on yourself. If you feel up there you can feel that edge right here. There
is a definite edge right under your eyebrow, and so we need to find that. So complementary
concave convex shapes; convex, concave, and on the outer part of the eye we’re going
to define this cartilage a little better on the end of the nose. It needs to be narrower.
Use both hands if you need to. You can feel it better that way. Okay, we’re getting
some of the feel here to that. Get the back of the eye going back.
So now we have a convex shape here, this roll of skin that hands down below the eyebrow.
A nice, beautiful fold, convex shape. And above it, now not so much on here, but there
is a slightly concave shape above it right here. So the design of the human anatomy is
quite beautiful and elegant because you see complementary shapes. So concave here here,
convex here. Concave there. Convex here. So those simple design principles seem to show
up quite a bit. Now, Ariel has a definite piece of, the skin that comes around from the tear duct
is very delicate, and it stretches so you’ll see that little stretchy line right there
if you’re looking for it, and then the fold above that defines the different plane of
the eyelid from this anterior shape of the socket of the eye. So now we’ve got something
happening here. Below the lower lid, now notice how this lower lid I described as a shelf,
you can just take a little roll of clay like that and put it along the bottom edge of the
eye. You’ve got your shelf. Define it a little better this way. Make it a little thinner.
But it has to fit around the ball of the eye. Nice little planes in there where that
corner of the eye tucks in.
Okay, a lot of refinements are needed, but I think we’ve got the basic things in
place. Now look at below the lid, excuse me, the lower lid, and you’ll see another little
fullness of skin below that. So the lower lid really doesn’t come very low. I mean
it’s not a—as we get older sometimes that part especially in me I’ve noticed the last
little while it tends to become as we gain in years the gravity takes over and pulls
the ears down, also pulls the lower lid down a bit. From this position I’m looking at
a little bit of an oblique ankle and I really see the corner of that eye going back. I’m
going to build it back even further because I’m not quite there yet.
Yeah, that’s better.
Remember the tear duct is here, and the outer part of the lower lid connects to the upper
lid higher than the tear duct slightly.
We can even create the illusion of eyelashes.
I like to put just a little piece of clay on that upper eyelid just so it creates the
illusion of that cartilage and a little hardness right there. Now, I think I need to widen
your eyes just a wee bit. I’m getting a little bit close and missing the delicate
touch so that’s what we have to do. That’s what we have to do, work to get that that
we see the impression. One of the ways we do eyelashes, maybe I ought to get this iris
and pupil in there. Actually, we’re not putting the pupil in yet but we will.
You’re being very patient and very helpful. Okay. It’s interesting that when you wear
a little bit of makeup in the dark parts, you know, you don’t wear too much that it’s
a distraction. Some people would do that. But we could actually create a little bit
of an illusion of that and even the color of the eye depending on how deep we cut the
iris. The iris we actually make an impression of color. We cut it out. Subtle refining needed.
It’s interesting when you just change the position slightly what I see.
There is a very sharp edge right there.
and making a complete analysis of what they’re seeing, and I hope that is not a distraction.
It’s from an instructional standpoint it’s very helpful. Of course, I feel I need to
express it so that others can learn from the way I’m seeing things and expressing it.
I can soften this edge a little. Oftentimes when we cut lines even in the mouth to separate
the upper from the lower lip we tend to make the line just too harsh. Makes too hard a
line, and what happens is we’ve got the upper lip meeting the lower lip, and they’re
rolling together and becoming, you know, comfortably one resting against the other. There is not
going to be a very deep hard line there. So just softening that sometimes
will really help the expression.
What I pointed out earlier about the center of the upper lip having a nice roundness to
it, when I see you in this position yours really doesn’t, it’s not that profound.
It makes a nice shape. Again, the subtlety of individualism. There’s a little wrinkle
that makes that little round part in the middle look narrower, and it almost gives an arch
to the upper lip instead of a distinct separation in the middle.
There is a little bit of a hollow there.
Now this is the part that begins to become very time consuming because it’s a matter
of really resolving very small things, not making huge changes generally.
I have to look at the model from different angles under different lighting conditions and that all takes time
to resolve. There is a nice delicate roundness right here that I would love to be able to
portray accurately because it’s part of your character. It defines your mouth and
your cheek. In fact, right here now I’m seeing that hollow right in here. Very, very
subtle thing where the muscle comes down off the zygomatic arch. Then there arch, there
is a nice sharp edge right there. Boy, if I could get that right
then it will have great character.
Yeah, can you look a little tiny bit to your left so I can see a straight profile? One
of the neat tricks I have is I can see a—I can control the parallax of my eyes so I can
usually line this up right with your profile. If I do that I’m feeling that I don’t
have the lower part of the face far enough forward. I’ve decided I’m going to cut
that. It’s kind of a drastic move. Move that part of your face out. Let me try this
tool. I’m going to pull your face forward a bit so that the camera can see that cut.
Then I’ll get in here and pry the face forward. This may or may not be enough. That does help
a bit. We’ll still do some more adjusting. But now all I have to do is stick clay behind this.
So sometimes you need to make those very drastic changes, and you can do it without destroying
the entire piece to do it. You learn little tricks and shortcuts to help resolve problems.
Now I see the jaw extending a little more forward, and remember this little angle on
the bottom of the chin. We’ll put that back in and work from there. So we don’t let
these things interrupt our progress. Hopefully, we’re always looking for the big picture
so we can refine it and finish it. One of the things to think about while you’re modeling
is I’ve got this big shape now we’ve created. We’re not going to draw lines in it or cut
shadows in it. We’re looking for these shapes to fit together. We’ll see this deep groove
we’ve got right there. I’ll actually remove it a little more so I can get the clay all
the way in before I push it back. Clay is warm so it’ll give a little bit. Then we’ll
push that back in so it attaches.
So if you need to make drastic choices, and sometimes it helps to take some photographs
as well because you’ll see silhouettes and photographs that maybe you missed something
while you’re working in the round. Oftentimes you’ll want to see the line and line it
up and test your eye and see how well you’re looking at things. So I’m going to demonstrate—now
before finishing this I’ll just blend it together. And I may have to move that ear
down a bit. I think it’s too far back. In fact, let me cut that this way. I’ll just
cut a section of this out. So I can move it in there. Again, don’t be fearful of change.
When you know it needs something done just be bold. It isn’t cast in stone yet, as
they say. So until that point, in fact, I’ve altered things before that I thought it was
better before I altered it. But the fact that I created it the first time surely I ought
to be able to go back and at least replicate that and make it as good as I once did.
Now, one of the things, I told this story a few minutes ago about the man that had the
crooked nose that had been broken. But there is a 2nd part to that story. It may relate
to other things as well. But oftentimes a critic will come up or the person you’re
working on could criticize what you’re doing and find a problem there. For example, I think
it may have happened on that piece at one point. The mouth wasn’t coming, and again
my wife or somebody walked by and said there’s something wrong about the mouth. In fact,
I often tell sort of a joke, a story, that what is a portrait. The definite of a portrait
is a reasonable likeness of someone with a little something wrong about the mouth. So
I was working on a portrait one time and somebody says, well, the mouth doesn’t look right.
So I worked on the nose. I worked on the chin. I worked on the cheek. I didn’t touch the
mouth, and yet later they came back and said that looks so much better than it did before.
So sometimes the problem is not what you think it is. It’s something entirely different.
So in sculpture I try to keep that in mind as I’m working that if something looks a
little wrong about the mouth I may need to look at the nose. I may need to look at the
cheek. I may need to look at a lot of other things. See from the profile now that looks
a little better to me. I’m not sure if we’re there yet. But that improved it. So we’ve
got the basics. We’ve talked about the eyes. We’ve talked about the nose, the mouth,
the ears. Maybe before we go to the hair we’ll talk a little more about the eyes.
One of the things about eyes—people often look at my work and say how do you make the
eye look so real? Well, you analyze what the eye is. It’s a ball with a cornea on top
of a ball, which is another ball of a smaller diameter, but it projects forward. The circle
of the eye, the iris, comes down and it looks like part of that iris is hidden under the
upper lid. Sometimes it comes almost down to halfway. It really gets droopy, or in older
people oftentimes their lower lid will droop way down, and it will leave a lot of white
space underneath the iris. That particular look makes people look ill for some reason.
It just has an uncomfortable look about it, to see the white of somebody’s eye below
that point. So what I do is define this edge, this line of the outside of the iris. I need
a smaller tool. This one might work better. We can actually try to create the color, but
we cut the iris in here as a concave shape like this. I generally make radiating lines
from it. Then we leave a highlight on the top of the pupil cause you always see a little
highlight there. Then cut the pupil for a dark shadow right in the center. So that makes
an eye that looks like it’s a real eye looking out.
The Greeks didn’t do that, but if you look at Michelangelo’s David. He’d do it a
little differently than I do because in some pieces I actually create a nice edge there.
A couple of pieces I did of pioneers for Omaha, Nebraska. You can look at this guy, he’s
got a hat on, but you can look under it and you can see his eyes. They look like blue
eyes because the colored area of the iris reflects light back out of it, and sometimes
I put radiating lines just like the muscles. If you look closely at the iris you see these
little muscles which really controls the diagram. That’s what lets light into the eye. If
you’re in the dark and look at the iris the pupil is big. But if you’re out in the
light it’s small. So it varies. This is a muscle that controls light going into the
eye. So when you look at those two eyes hopefully you can see how that creates an impression
of a real eye looking out.
So we’ll do the other one in the same way. Now just putting the iris in alone doesn’t
work because we have to leave the highlight on the top of the cornea, and we have to cut
the deep hole for the pupil. So those are the parts of the eye in sculpture. We’re
not creating a real eye. We’re creating an illusion of the eye, an optical illusion
of the eye and the color of the iris. I moved this one out just a little because I think
I had the surrounding eyelid probably a little too close. It needs to maybe be a little bit
wider so I came just out a little bit wider to cut this one.
Then the final thing I’ll show is just another optical illusion of the eyelashes. You can
simply make some indentations occasionally. The best way to do it is to put a little piece
of clay and roll a tiny piece of clay like that. Put it across the top of the eye, fold
it over there, and then just give it a little twist like that. Maybe a little accent. It’ll
look like eyelashes. They’re not there but somehow you feel like they are because somehow
it just looks like there is a lash in there.
over the cornea is one place where we really have a tendency to have a nice lash in there.
So it’s nice to put that little accent if we can. Now, suddenly it’s becoming a little
bit more feminine. Now we’re going to go to hair. As I said, hair is not just a bunch
of lines drawn on the surface of the clay to make it look like hair. By adding a little
flat piece of something to this and putting lines as if a comb has passed through it.
Most hair, you know, the combing doesn’t last very long, or at least those lines we
see from combing. Hair has shape and mass to it.
We’re going to take some clay and make some shapes.
Ariel has a nice natural wave that—let’s look first at the center. Can you face me
a little more? A little more out. Yeah, right about there. Notice that there is sort of
a V-shape coming right down in the crown right here where the hair is very soft. Oftentimes,
especially in a woman. Young children I often, if you do a portrait of a young child you’ll
see a lot of little short hairs that stick out, and they’re fuzzy there. I put some
of those in sometimes. But I’m going to create shapes here. She doesn’t have those
little fussy things sticking down, but I want to create this form that grows. The hair is
growing out of the scalp like that. Combing back here. Beautiful rolling shape right there.
Back, a wave coming forward like that. A nice wave right in there. So it’s a series of
forms and shapes so we’re modeling. It’s almost freely modeling this stuff as the hair
comes and does things. Some hairs come in front of others. This little thing comes up
and comes down like this and rolls out here. It gets farther away from the skull as it
comes in here and another shape behind it, another wave comes here.
So we’re analyzing this as we’re doing it. We’re trying to create form. As we do
this oftentimes it’s like tying muscular elements or the bony elements together. I
use this raking tool because as we pull the clay around and put textures in it we actually
pull it together. It looks like we’re pulling a skin over the shape. While we do the same
thing with hair and we can actually pull the texture lines at a right angle to the lines
of the hair, and it tends to unify the hair, the forms of the hair. So we can put a little
accent of a line once in a while if we want.
But I’m looking for these beautiful shapes where the hair is flowing.
Now, from underneath this is a nice big wave coming back. It’s going to be fairly high.
Another wave behind that. So we’re looking at these big shapes and forms.
It just looks like her hair is disorganized, but it looks natural. It has a flow to it. If she tied
it down tight it just wouldn’t have much character to it. There are times you want
to do it, but to really understand what hair is like I think it’s a lot better if we
just leave it loose. Nice big chunk of a wave sticking out here.
This side is coming around, and some of it is tucked behind her ear so we’ll tuck it back there, create
this shape. Now, the hair looks relatively short here, so it still has almost a masculine feel. But
once we get to the back—can you turn a little more to the left? A little more?
That's about right. Okay. So now we can see this nice big wave right here.
Now I’ve got to be careful because if I go in there and create that wave I’m going
to be cutting into the skull.
So what I’ve got to do is add the hair,
the wave and not cut into the skull.
I often see really refined and finished pieces of art that are apparently
made to be viewed from the front because when you go around the side if you could see the
top of the head they’ve just cut off this cranial index. They’ve made all this great
beautiful hair in front, but there is not cranial index back here. They’ve chopped
right through the head to put hair. I find that very discomforting actually.
We need to work on this profile a little bit better, but hair, okay, she’s got a bun on the back.
The hair comes down here. Nice big piece of hair
coming all the way from the front with some nice waves in it.
Tucking behind the ear
Being pulled up in the beck from the neck under the ear.
Now, see the ear is here. Her hair starts about here. Can you turn a little bit more
to the left, please? I don’t want to get in front of that camera. Maybe rotate just
a tiny bit back. There you go. Thank you.
I just wanted the camera to see the flow of
the hair coming upward from the back of the neck to the bun.
There is a little trailing tail on the other side that actually gives it a lot of character. I’m running a little
low on clay to do that at this point, but the hair coming out then the form of the hair
there coming from behind the ear about there.
Hair is just interesting in sculpture. I suggest
that for research go out and study hair.
One of the most elegant pieces of sculpture I’ve ever seen is the sculpture of Apollo
and Daphne that was done by Bernini. Daphne is turning into a tree so her fingers become
branches of the tee. Leaves are growing out of her fingers. It’s just an elegant, beautiful
thing to behold. It’s hard to believe anybody could do that in marble. But when you look
at it, look at the hair. There are generally photos of close-ups of the hair so you can
see how that hair was handled in very thin lines that sort of gracefully flow one line
next to the other. It is such a symphony of line and form and beauty. The lines start
here and then they disappear into a form. Then they reappear somewhere else. And when
you study that then you being to appreciate what sculpture is all about and what sculpture
can accomplish especially in marble. It doesn’t look the same in bronze as it does in marble.
But in marble it is so elegant and beautiful and delicate and gorgeous to look at.
Okay, now here I’ve got some hairs coming out of this part of the head. I’m going
to emphasize one or two of those just so we can get a sense of the flow of the hair. What
I’d like you to see about this shape is that this hair goes through there. So if we
put it on this side coming out…
see how that works?
Okay, now see what the one little stroke of hair did just coming under that
piece of hair and then some of these waves coming down. If you think of them as masses
that are shapes and not lines, then that will really help tremendously. Now, watch what
happens when we just piece of hair out in space right here to resolve it coming down.
Now, that has a much more interesting look. So we can accent it occasionally with a little
line, but we can’t. We don’t want to overdo that. That line is enough of a line to tell
you what the direction of the hair and the mass of hair is doing. So a little cross-hatching
across the hair to actually unify it and pull it together.
Maybe another little strand sticking out here.
Again, we don’t want to parallel this one, or we’ll detract from it. Then this one
we could maybe have it bending around toward the front or something. So it’s like a symphony.
You’re putting notes together. So that’s what hair is. We’ll do some more further
refining of it, see how we can further describe what it is we’re trying to do here.
Some of this is all about design. You try things and if it doesn’t quite send the right message
you tear it off and try something else and see if it works better. The clay needs to
speak to you, so after a while you say, you know, I’m still trying to do it my way but
I need to get in touch with the clay, and it takes on a personality of its own. I’ve
eventually got to do it. I’ve got to follow my heart and just do what it’s telling me
it needs to have done. The message is never clear. It’s one of intuition and creativity.
You try things until finally something rather profound starts taking place.
So now we’re getting into the tedium of sculpture. We’ve blocked the thing in. We’ve
used the model. The model has gone away. Now we’re working from, we took a few photographs
so I have some reference points, but the process of refining really takes time. And to pull
all this stuff together so there may not be quite as much talking as I start refining.
But hopefully what you’re seeing and what you’re watching will be instructive and
will help you understand the sculpture process. I’ll just continue filling in today and
tying the muscles, tying the bony structures together so that they make sense.
Give you a sense of what’s going on.
I anticipate actually finishing this may take weeks, not just hours.
At some point we’ll also make a composition out of it as we refine
the neck a little bit. We’ll make it look like a nice comfortable piece of sculpture.
Right now it’s pretty roughed in.
You’ve got to refine all these muscle groups.
We need a nice line coming down and back here. It helps to warm the clay, and we’ve just
started for the day, and so it’s fairly cold. I’m just going to work on small things
until the clay warms up a little bit.
What I’m working on now is the zygomatic structure. This bone, it’s interesting if
you look at a skull the bone comes down and it has a nice flat surface cuts in toward
the maxillary group where the teeth belong. You notice I’m not drawing lines, this line
in the cheek. Everybody goes in and really incises a long line. They want to see that
shadow. We’re not drawing lines or making shapes so I’m creating this shape and pulling
it around against this other shape to create the illusion of a line. It’s just your eye
sees the line but that’s not what I’m looking for in the form.
working with photographs so it’s hard to see those subtle things. But there was a beautiful,
just a hollow here that almost was invisible. It was from one of these muscle from the zygomatic
bone on the arch on the outside coming down to hook into this obicularis oris. It was
so subtle that you couldn’t see it at all. It was invisible until you turned it in certain
light. Just momentarily you’d see it. I say this because if you don’t know that
you’ll never see it. But if you do know it and you’re always in tune to it and looking
for it then you’ll see it. That’s part of her character. Without it it’s missing
something. So all of these characteristics that say this is her add up, and the characteristics
that you don’t put in it will also add up or in a way detract from the quality of the finished piece.
It’s interesting how her mouth just kind of made this arch.
This ear, I told you the proportion of the ear, now we did it on this side is from the
eyebrow at the bottom of the nose. But when I block this in I was in a hurry just to get
something in there and notice that it is really quite out of proportion. It’s large so it
needs to be cut down. It’s too big, too long.
Too big a lobe.
Some of what we’re doing is pulling things together.
So as I resolve things they may look great but when
you look at that compared to the other side, the ear for example, one or the other may
be better so you’re always adjusting. It’s almost like slowly bringing it in to focus.
You notice here right now I’m using the back side of this tool instead of the
front. If I were using the front I would be pulling textures across it. But right now
I’m just shaving very thin shavings of clay off to control the depth of the cut, so there
are times when you need textures and other times you don’t. So right now I’m looking
for this subtle, very thin scraping that we’ll just take a thin layer so you can see those
little pieces I’m ending up with here. They’re paper thin.
When I finish a piece, when I’m doing the final modeling
I always add skin textures, and they may be a smaller tool like
this in some places. To create the feeling of the skin stretching out over the zygomatic
bone, for example, and getting loose in here. I occasionally put a little line just for
accent where it’s needed.
This side I notice I’m drawing that eye in thee. I’ve let it sag a little bit too
much so I’ve got to put a piece of clay in there to build that up just a tiny bit.
One of the things I suggest you learn to do when you’re blocking in, especially
if you have water clay or a very soft clay is learning to use both hands. The hands have
a great sense of feeling. You can measure a ten-thousandth of an inch with your hands.
They can detect that much precision. So I suggest instead of using tools all the time
I’m going to cut a little piece in here for the wing of the nose. But it’s much
better if you get in and create the form with your finger. Your fingers are far more sensitive
than a tool is. A tool once removes your sense of touch of the real thing. So get used to
using both hands. You can actually draw a line if you want to check on your symmetry.
And I often do that. Just come right down the front of the face and draw a line. Some
people you’ll see that their face bends one way and some another. An interesting observation
from people, and you’ll, you know, you know people. Perhaps you’ve done that yourself.
But somebody takes a picture of you, and you look at it, and you think that doesn’t look
anything like me. Well, the reason is we’re used to looking at ourselves in the mirror
every morning so what we see is exactly the opposite, asymmetry. Meaning unsymmetrical.
We see it in just the opposite direction than what it really is.
So if I’m working on a portrait, for example, what I often do is I’ll use a mirror, and
I’ll turn it and look in the mirror if it’s wrong and look at the model in the mirror
as well. It doubles the asymmetry. So if it’s going this way in the mirror it’s going
the other way. If one eye is a little lower than the other or the mouth sags on one side
a little more than the other, it really becomes apparent when you look at a mirror image.
So people have been looking at themselves in the mirror their whole lives as a mirror
image, but once they see a photograph of themselves the asymmetry is going in totally a different
direction. So to them it doesn’t look like themselves, so they make that comment. I know
when they say that what they’re really saying is that they’re used to looking at the mirror
image of themselves and not the real image.
(12:39) When you’re using a model, you might want to see where the corners of the mouth
line up relative to the eyes. It might be right in the center of the pupil of the eye.
That’s a good reference. These refined features take a long time. As you’re in your studio
working—one of the things I like to do, I really like to listen to classical music
or guitar music. I have a lot of likes in music. It gets you in the right frame of mind.
I think it really helps. It’s hard for me to imagine myself listening to real loud noisy
rock music or something with a heavy beat. I just love a melody line, and that’s what
I’m trying to portray in my work. Sometimes the music begins to come through in your work
as well. So all of these little stimulants—many years ago I did a portrait of a quarter horse,
and it was quite an experience because I went out, and instead of standing in the outside
of the corral I decided, well, I’ll take my work right inside. The horse would come
over and sniff around and look at what I’m doing and go over and feed for a while. Then
all of a sudden he’d take off running and run right directly at me. As he ran at me,
he had reached the front of the stand and then make a quick turn. It was just spooky,
but it helped get that feeling in my sculpture to have him do that.
So what I’m trying to do is freeze time into something that will become permanent
and timeless, but I like to portray action. Even in a portrait when a person is posing
I don’t have them sit in just one position generally. I mean I’ve done that before.
I’ll ask to keep them from going to sleep since it’s such a slow process I may say,
so, where are you from originally? Tell me about your childhood. One man I did was from
Canada and growing up as a child in Canada he started talking, and he just talked. So
as long as I used him for a model I learned a lot about him and his life. He’s animated
when he does that. And that comes through in the sculpture.
In my studio with innovation being what it is today you can go out and take photographs
and I often, first of all, it’s nice to work in the field to get your research accurate.
If you’re doing a horse or doing an animal. Go to a zoo. Go to a farm. Hang out with people
that know something about horses because you’ve got to learn everything you can about the
animals that you’re doing. Then at some point you take it back to the studio. Either
you do a quick study and be satisfied with that, but if you refine things like I like
to do then you’ll want to make a real study. You look up on the internet, you find out
all you can about maybe a particular breed that you’re portraying and the characteristics
and the people that have experience with that. And also with portraits you need to do that.
The more you know about an individual and the way they act and react
tells you a lot about their personality.
So when you have somebody sitting in front of you instead of just standing and looking
at this individual and trying to copy what you see, have them talk. Ask them about their
childhood, their favorite movies, their children, their interests, their talents. All of those
things now begin to come into your work. So when the viewer later looks at that they may
say boy this person looks like they’re very musical. They look like they’ve had an interesting
history. Another thing I think about when I’m doing a full figure study, my idea is
that a face tells the viewer who somebody is. You know, if it looks like them. But their
hands explain what they do what their life, the work that they do. Hands are interesting
in art because hands not matter where they are relate to the head and create an automatic
triangle. Hands have a way of creating compositions of art. Your eye goes from one hand to another,
back and forth through the face and so forth. You could even have a composition with an
arm behind and the hand behind the figure that makes you want to
move around the figure and see the rear.
So hands are extremely important, and you should learn the anatomy of hands as well
as the anatomy of the head. So all of this knowledge adds up.
and decided that’s what I wanted to do as a livelihood I met my wife-to-be later when
I got into the study of sculpture. I told her before we were married, you need to understand,
I’ve decided what I want to do with my life, and if you’re willing to put up with that
and stick with me then maybe it’s fine to get married. But if you can’t, but if you’re
going to try to prevent me from doing what I’m passionate about then we probably shouldn’t
be married. She was great about it. She’s been very supportive,
but I must admit that it has not been easy.
One of the things I realized, and I told her that, that look, I’ve done some research
on the profession of sculpture. I realized that even for the best of the very best it’s
tough to make a living. Jobs come and go. It’s a little like the acting profession
in some respects. You do one film and then you wait two years before you’re asked to
do another one, or even never so it’s a tough career. But in sculpture the same thing
is true, and in those days there weren’t many galleries around. Commissions were few
and far between. It wasn’t that long after the Korean war and just not a lot of commission
projects, the large monumental projects, but that’s what my training was in doing classic
sculpture and doing large monuments.
So I told my wife to be, I said I figure just to make a living and just to survive as an
artist I’ve got to be perhaps among one of the ten top sculptors in the nation.
And so I set my goal very high, and of course I worked toward that goal. Who can say how
I measure up, but I’ve been very fortunate. But I tell you that story because some of
you who are watching this process don’t have that large a goal. You just love sculpture
and you want to learn how to do it almost as a hobby rather than a profession. Even so doing you
may be motivated to do really fine work. If I give you an idea of what it takes to be
able to do that hopefully that’s motivating and not discouraging.
Let’s see, we’re seeing the bald head on her left side here still. We’ll get around
to some hair in a few minutes and just a tiny, tiny line I put in there for accent.
There is a tiny little fold in the skin where the two planes come together right there.
Sometimes it’s the most subtle thing that you put in that really makes it into that particular individual.
I want to make sure it looks good as well from the back. So as you come around
the side of the sculpture you recognize the person immediately. I did a big statue of
John Wayne, and I almost like the back better than I do the front because if you see it
from a distance, you see it from 50 yards away you’ll know that’s John Wayne just
seeing the backside of him just because of his stance, the way he’s standing.
What we’ve decided to do on where we are with this piece now I need a bit of time to
sort of catch up. I don’t need the model to be here in front of me. As I said we have
a few photographs for reference. I have a big monitor. In my studio I have a big monitor
that I use quite often now with technology being what it is. We can use visual aids.
But it’s still not like looking at the model from life. It’s not three-dimensional. But
when I photograph the subject I try to do it from different angles and even under different
lighting conditions. When I do a commission typically I go visit the person if it’s
a living person. I can go photograph them. I can work from life. I generally like to
put in about 15 hours of working from life. I take a lot of photographs. Then I go back
to my studio and the nice thing is as you rotate the model in the light if you can rotate
the model or get in a lighting situation where you can control the light then you can create
different variety of lighting conditions on the model so you can see things. One picture
is not like the next picture. The highlights are in a different place. That helps you see
the three-dimensional aspects of the model, what they’re like in the round instead of
just on a flat surface.
If you’re doing a painting that isn’t quite so necessary to do that, but in sculpture
it really helps to change the light so you see the form under all kinds of lighting conditions.
I’m hoping that as I’m refining this you see it come more and more into focus, just
very slowly. These very subtle changes I’m making, my hope is that you’re now seeing
it just slowly, slowly come into focus and have these little individual characteristics
that make it look more like Ariel. Now, I also oftentimes I don’t want to do a specific
portrait. I want to use someone as a model to tell a story that has a bigger purpose
than just an individual portrait. In other words, I want it to be perhaps more classic,
more profound. So I’ll send the model away and finish it myself.
In this case rather than having the model here all the time while I’m working on these
small refinements, we sent her away. We’ll spend a little time working on her and refining
her a little bit more, and then we’ll have her come back, and we’ll double check what
we’ve been doing and hopefully do a better job because of that. It’s easy to see that
the right side here, I’ve been turning it in the light in this direction partly because
she was seated right in front of me and looking at the front without doing a lot on the left
side, so this is undeveloped over here. So I’ve got to catch up. This side really looks
still quite masculine because we don’t have any hair on this side of the head. But I want
to develop this first before I put hair because there is a temptation to just cover up what
you don’t know with hair. So I want to develop this a little further before we do that.
I think it’s easy to see that a lot of this is what I call tedium. It’s
like a musician practicing hours and hours and hours in a quiet corner somewhere where
nobody else is there to be disturbed. Some of the most professional musicians, and I
know a number of them, they sneak away into a quiet place where they can be alone to practice.
That’s a little bit like what we’re doing right now. Not every part of this is exciting.
People marvel. In fact, they often will be so intrigued by what I do they say can I come
over and watch you work? I said, yeah, you can come over and watch me work but…
So I guess what I’m suggesting is learn to be patient with yourself. The way to set
something up when you’re working maybe we should talk about a little bit too because
often a student will work on a table, maybe if you’re on a low chair and you have a
little turn table or something that’s very helpful. If you can reach up and keep the
work about at eye level. Several things happen. If you have your work too low then you tend
to get tired yourself. So the higher the work is at eye level the more energy you put into
the work the better it will look. So in college when I was instructing young students doing
torsos and other things, I’d find students would keep their stand a little bit too low.
Their work would start looking very tired. If they raise the standup a little bit there
is a lot more energy in the work. So even the way you look at your work or the level
you work at it will affect the end result, so be aware of that.
You have to keep your energy level up. Don’t be afraid to take a break occasionally. I
tend to take very few. But what I do for variety is a move around a piece. I don’t get stuck
for any length of time on one small aspect. There are times you need to solve a problem.
Especially in the eyes. It takes time to do eyes. You need to spend the time that it takes.
Even there, the more you can move around the piece and see the eye you’re working on
with respect to the other eye and the rest of the face, the better result you’ll generally get.
Also, what I’m talking about is my way of working. Yours may be very different. Each
person is an individual and feels more comfortable doing it their own way, but these are just
simply suggestions, things to think about.
Doing sculpture is a real test in patience
if you take it to this extreme because you may end up doing the same thing over and over
a dozen times before you get it to the point where you really feel good about it. But imagine
the pleasure that comes when you finally make something that really sings when you look
at it, and you think wow, was I able to do that?
So the joy that comes, there is a pleasure in just doing it, but the real pleasure sort
of comes later after you’ve patiently worked
away for a long time. So patience is a virtue.
Now, there is a distinctive corner if you go under your lower lid just like I
quite often go to the upper lid, over the top, and you can find that bone. You can feel
it underneath. It has kind of a sharp edge to it. So right here in the cheek especially
you’ll always find that edge. You want to indicate it just with a little bit of a fullness
there where the skin folds or pulls around that edge. Skin is really a form of drapery.
It drapes from around the skeletal frame, but it’s a flexible rubbery type of drapery.
It has a thickness. It has fatty tissue. It has the circulatory system to a great extent,
especially the corpuscles that circulate the blood through the skin.
It's like I’d like to say something that’s pertinent, you know, helpful,
instructive and maybe motivational.
It’s amazing to me how a study of anatomy, when I took my first anatomy class I was a
little afraid because I didn’t know what to expect. I think just the thought of it
to most artists seems a little bit intimidating. You don’t know if you want to see a human
cadaver cut apart. Once I finally got into the class and passed the smell of the formaldehyde
and everything, and we started dissecting, I found the study so fascinating
because the curiosity takes over, and the desire to learn more about the human form
come into play. What was so wonderful to see, for example, how the bones articulate one
with another, and at the ends of the lines I continue to stress the importance of, you
know, knowing the ends of the lines, the bony structures of the joints.
But just seeing the engineering, how those bones are tied together, the angles of the
articulate surfaces and where the muscles connect and how they twist so that they make
a bodily function work properly. It just is amazing. When you put it all together and
realize there is an electrical system when we dissected, for example, the spinal column
and took out a bundle of nerves, it was a little like an electrician taking out a bundle
of wires. There was a sheath that covered this bundle, and when you took it apart all
these little wire looking things are coming out of it, but they’re hollow on the inside.
In the inside is a fluid that conducts electricity. So that’s how the nervous system works.
It’s hard to understand that. Until you see it in action it’s amazing how those nerves
conduct the electricity to the different muscles and then make them flex and pull and relax.
The study of anatomy is really a beautiful study about you, about man and how the design
of man and how this mechanical vessel functions.
There’s a lot we don’t know, but just to get involved in the study and realize this is a science here.
But the more we understand about ourselves and how we work and operate
the more meaningful life becomes in a way.
This ear is starting to shape up a little bit,
a little hollow right there.
There's a little lobe that hangs down right there that helps define the shape of that ear.
With some people it’s almost invisible or is invisible.
Needs some more here.
Even in drawing and painting, oftentimes your fingers are your best tool. Put some charcoal down, and
you put your finger in there and blend it. Painting the same way sometimes you want to
blend paint with your finger rather than use a brush or a sponge or some other tool.
Finger is just a great tool. This tool is for cutting. Notice how I cut those little notches in there.
But then I want to get in with my finger to give the right gesture and the right emotional
quality to the shape. It’s the top of the sternum bone right there.
You’ll notice I’m pulling the clay across the area of the larynx and the windpipe as a contour line.
If you draw trees, if you draw pictures of trees oftentimes a branch that’s sticking
out toward you or even the arm, it helps to do contour lines that define the direction
of the form, the outline of the form. If you don’t put them in then the arm looks weird.
It looks foreshortened. Do the same in sculpture, and again the tool that I use to do that when
I start refining is I’ll pull these texture lines across it to pull the skin across it.
The skin is stretching and stretching around the neck here, pulling.
Just the little bit of work we’ve done there. See it makes an impression. It makes a difference.
One of the things to think about even doing a portrait, you need to think about what’s beyond what
you’re doing because if you don’t get the sternal notch back far enough then it
disrupts the entire body. So in a way the way you end this, this shape here should give
some indication of what’s beyond that. It looks like the bust continues beyond that
point and that there is a chest and shoulders.
See how long it takes to just sort of play catch-up here. But in a few minutes
we’ll start putting hair on this side as well.
Now the neck. Let’s see, a trapezius in the back coming up to the occipital
protuberance in the back of the head. So I consciously
think of those things. It’s like building a house. You know, you start with a floor
and then you might do some walls, but you do them down flat on the ground before you
stand them up. So I’m just thinking of basic things here. It’s all related to anatomy
and not just looking at the model and trying to see the angles and the planes. It all has
to come together as a unit. We want a nice effeminate looking neck. I don’t want to
lose the jaw here, the angle of the lower mandible on this side. There is a little bit of a
between the sternocleidomastoid muscle where
it attaches to the mastoid process behind the ear.
You see not knowing that puts you at a little bit of a disadvantage, but knowing it gives
you confidence. It moves the art away from just pure raw talent and intuitive sense of
what you’re doing to something that has meaning and purpose. Then the talent really
comes in as you finish it. That’s where talent really comes into play. Then you’re
looking for putting a life into it. That’s the magic of art. If you can make it to this
point, and I’m sure you can, then the magic begins to happen. It comes in stages. It comes
with practice like anything else. Again, practice alone doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes
permanent so we have to keep practicing new things, learn new things as you go along.
Every time you practice you’ve learned a new nuance of either how to put your fingers
in a new position on the piano or how to add a different combination of notes for a new chord.
So we’re practicing to make perfect. We’re practicing new things. Every time
we practice we’re looking for something new. I’m beginning to see a nice beautiful
long line come here. It hasn’t been here until now, and it’s just barely starting
to happen. I know it’s there. I’ve been looking for it. It just hasn’t been time
for it to show up. Now it’s making its curtain call, and it’s time to come in there. See
that nice, beautiful, round, long shape? It may not be perfect, but now it’s beginning.
Yeah, that works better. Now we need to repeat it on this other side.
I need to narrow the trachea down a little bit.
And there are some muscles that come down from
the throat that go in this direction backward. The platysma muscle, which if you really,
when you grimace you can see all these lines come down. That’s the platysma muscle. It
laces into the skin all along here. But there is one point, and you’ll see the major blood
vessel that goes up and tucks in underneath the chin. But just putting that in does something
for the sculpture. If you leave it out then you just have a shape of a neck. So that breathes
life into it somehow. I can’t pinpoint a lot of the stuff I’ve discovered over the
years, but there are certain things you do that just really add so much to your work.
I think we can start putting a little bit of hair
on this side and just take another glance here. I put a little accent here, and over
time it’s eroded away so I’ve got to put it back in again.
And when we look from the front we want to see just a hint of that trapezoid shape.
It’s really a square that falls down just a tiny bit on the outside edge.
Right on this edge we’re going to pick up a corner of it.
If you look at photographs of the skull, the human skull, you’ll also see a little
tiny bone that sticks out right there on that zygomatic bone coming down.
That is the corner of the zygomatic arch.
The point, it’s a very structural element. If you don’t quite
put that in there it’ll always look weak around the eyes. The other thing around the
eyes is to pull the muscles down this way. There is one little muscle, a smiling muscle.
Oftentimes you can make a person smile without doing anything at all to the mouth. We think
of the mouth as being smiling, but our smile really comes in the upper part of the outer
corner of the eyes too. So just to illustrate that I’ll show you what happens when you
add just a little muscle right there that pulls down from the corner of the eye in this
direction. Sometimes it’s just a tiny, tiny little thing. But somehow that adds a smile.
I’m hoping you can see that.
Okay, a little hair now. Her part coming this way, this direction.
Isn’t it amazing, just one little addition like that suddenly makes her look more feminine.
So being patient and then when you finally put something in that changes it, it’s exciting to see it.
See how hollow that looks in there. We need to make sure we get plenty of bulk of hair there
so we don’t look like we’re cutting into her scalp with the hair.
So if you start drawing shapes and cutting away shadows I can tell you for sure you will cut into the skull
unless you use this technique of building up. It always happens. Even some of the greatest
artists of all time I’ve noticed in the works of people like Bernini. He did it occasionally.
The reason he probably did it was he was building a piece that was meant to be viewed from the
front and wasn’t thinking quite so much of the back and how it looked. So he cut into
the hair in marble and somehow it looks weak back there. It just doesn’t do it, and Bernini
was the best of the best so how could he do that. Well, it just happens. We all do it
if we’re not really consciously paying attention. Of course, Bernini had a lot of helpers carve
his work, and it could have been a helper who did that. I won’t tell you which ones,
but when you study some of these historical pieces you might look for that. Just look
at the cranial index. Make sure it is as deep from front to back.
Now, I’m assuming she’s going to have little bit of hair there. From there up to
the hairline is the same from the frontal eminences right there, the brow ridge to the
back of the head. So we still need to add a little bit more don’t we? Or we need to
cut her chin down. Her chin may be a tiny bit too large as well.
I’m running into some garbage in the clay right here, so I’ll just have to take that
out. That’s what happens when we reuse clay. Sometimes we run into sawdust and all sorts
of things. Pieces of wire, pieces of wood. I recommend when you reuse you clay if you
clean it—let’s say, for example, we’re making a mold on the piece and we’ve sprayed
shellac on it. Shellac actually blends in quite well. This piece right here has had
shellac put on it. It’ll mix in pretty well. But sometimes we need to go over and just
scrape that layer of varnish or shellac off to restore the clay. It’s easier to do that
when the piece is like this. Or, on the inside if we’ve used plaster as a core as part
of the armature then it’ll have plaster stuck in it. So the easiest thing is to take
the clay apart and clean all of those parts up before we cut it up and use it. We also
make fence lines for making molds. We may take some clay like this and create a fence
along the side of the piece of sculpture like this, and when we’re making mold we’re
splashing plaster or splashing rubber or whatever against that fence, people don’t tend to
clean this. But I take all my clay that I’ve used for other purposes and I scrape that
debris off before I throw it in a box. Then it usually comes out quite clean. It’s almost
like new. It really doesn’t grow old. We never have a real reason to throw clay away.
In fact, one of the great American sculptors were using Plastilina in the mid 19th and
mid 20th centuries. When a sculptor would die it became a big deal for another sculptor
to purchase their clay because it actually gets better over time. So as clay ages, even
Plastilina, at least the old Plastilines other sculptors would almost prefer old clay over
new clay. Something happens as it ages. It just gets more malleable. It just feels better.
If we make the same relative evaluation to water clay, when I took ceramics classes they
had a pot of clay sitting to the side, and the explanation from the woman who was teaching
pottery, she said as clay ages it gets better because in water clay it has all this bacteria,
and it grows organic material into the clay, so bacteria and fungus and all of these things.
This is really what clay is formed from initially anyway. So it gets slicker and nicer to use
so she said let it age. It becomes, you know, over time. Now, I don’t know how we can
explain that with Plastilina because Plastilina is not quite an organic material. It’s really
made up of inert materials, but maybe it does the same thing. Maybe there are certain bacteria
that get into that make it feel slicker and nicer, and it just works better.
I tell you that story only because some people when their clay gets dirty they will throw
it away. I try to keep my clay from getting dirty so it stays malleable and useful for
a lifetime. I’m slowly coming back to the hair, but notice how I just keep moving around
the piece and working on different things. There are certain plains in the nose. This
plane right there, see that 45-degree angle coming up? There is one in the chin. Those
little angles really help define the nose better. If you just have a rounded shape there
it doesn’t like a nose somehow. But here, this is where the nostril, the air passage
comes down like that, makes a little bit of a fullness on the skin right there. So you
usually have a little hanging down part right there that sort of defines that edge. Then
this angle. So look for that angle when you’re looking at a model.
Then Ariel had a very shape corner right here. You can see that the way the light reflects
off this corner. If the light is spread out a little bit it’ll be a little rounder corner,
but if it’s very sharp, right on the tip of the nose, it tells you what the shape is.
She also has a little bit of a hollow right in here. It makes a little tiny bit of a hollow
right there. Some people, the hook nose oftentimes it’s really extreme in some people. In her
it’s just a tiny bit evident but it’s enough to give some form to the nose that
makes it really interesting to look at. It’s sort of a distinguished characteristic for
her, and yet it’s not out of proportion or anything to the face, or it’s not a distraction
at all. It’s a beautiful line that comes down. It comes out to that, becomes hard on
the edge. Soft here. Then there is structure to that cartilage, so the cartilage is what
kind of lifts it back out. Then look for the separation between the cartilage because the
cartilage is split right down the middle like this.
You can do each half and then leave a tiny hollow in there. The skin usually fills that in.
But as a person talks and moves and smiles and everything oftentimes you’ll see that
very clearly. You’ll see that line where the cartilage is separated with one side to
another. Another interesting thing about the face is one generally is a mirror image of
the other, so down the center line one side is like the other side. There is the asymmetry
that we keep talking about as well, but for the most part this is what the faces look
like; one side is like the other side. But when you look at the face this way, of course,
one side isn’t like the other side. It’s totally different.
Spinal column, everything about the figure, splitting the spinal column down the center
the same thing. The rib cage. One side is like the other. One leg is like the other,
the arms. One side is a mirror image of the other. Side to side but not front to back.
Something interesting just to observe about the figure. There are all kinds of interesting
things we can learn from that. Look at something like a starfish. The interesting way that
they’re formed, side to side, so it’s like a head and two arms, but even the stars,
the points are somewhat symmetrical.
Okay, let’s come back to the hair. Look for a wave right here. Again, I put a line
in there but I’m not going to cut into the skull. I’m just using that for a landmark.
One of the things about hair you need to pay particular attention to is how hair grows.
What direction does it come out of the skull? Does it grow forward this way? If it does
you should sculpt it coming forward as it comes out of the skull. Then swing it back
like this. So it has the feeling that it’s actually growing out of the skull. Once again,
it’s not just a bunch of lines; it’s form so we need to look for that form.
If it grows forward—in other words, the hair follicles themselves are pointed slightly forward and
the hair is combed back or brushed back, that’s what gives it, it makes it wavy and gives
it form. Now here in front the hair may grow back, may wave forward or whatever, but oftentimes
when you look at the head the hair doesn’t just fit against the head like this. The hair
comes out like this and points forward before it’s brushed back.
Little things like that mean a lot in sculpture. So you’re powers of observation are quite
incredibly important. What is it you really see when you’re looking at this? Are you
just seeing a shape, or are you curious enough
to understand the science of what’s really happening here?
You notice all of this work that we’ve been doing and basically we’re
using two tools in the hands. The thumb you’ve noticed how much my thumb works out.
Now, looking at the front hopefully that looks a little more effeminate. In my studio I have
a big mirror that’s 8 feet high by 4 feet wide on a big 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.
this. I can see the top of her head, or I can see under the chin. I also have, which
I don’t have here, just a tiny little vanity mirror with a handle. You can buy those at
the dollar store and often you need those to just look in the mirror. I didn’t bring
anything like that. But try that and see how it works. Oftentimes, doing a piece of sculpture
you’ll create a part of the sculpture you can’t really reach or see very well, especially
if you’re doing something large, of monumental scale and you have something bunched up like
this and you can’t get up under the arms. Well, you do that with a mirror. And you get
so you can do the work in the mirror just like you dress yourself in the morning and
take care of your face. You get so that the hands figure out which way to move to do work.
A lot of sculpture I’ve done looking in a mirror.
It’s amazing how well it can turn out doing that.
So often I’ll have a mirror to look at this side left and right to line things
up. If you have a mirror to look in, and you’re looking at this side you see the left side
in the mirror, which becomes the right side. The reflection then is a replica of this.
So you can see if your ears are in the right place. You can see if the hairline looks right.
You can compare the silhouette from one side to another to find what you’re missing or
not seeing. So a reverse image is really a helpful tool. Photographs are helpful tools.
When I was in college one of the great
exercises we would do is, especially if you’re working in totally abstract design trying
to compose something and make it work, you can take your painting or your drawing or
whatever you’re working on and put it upside down and see what it looks like upside down.
Oftentimes you’ll see those mistakes again in a contrasty way that’ll point out the
imbalances or the imperfections, so it helps you improve your work.
I was witness to a trial once about an artist who had copied another artist’s works, and
the question was did he really copy his work, or was his work derived from the other person’s
work or not. A number of photographs were taken. I applied what I call—I asked to
be an expert witness, so I applied what I thought were interesting observations about
some of the comparisons. And the one questions was did he take this figure and just turn
it around. So I took pictures and put them upside down and presented those to the court
and said, okay, now tell me which one is the original. Well, it mixed up the characters
enough that you couldn’t really tell. When you turn it right side up it’s very evident.
So the eye can be fooled in a number of ways. The way we see a fresh view of this we can
look in the mirror. We can look at it upside down. I used to purposely look at my work.
I’d get on the floor and put my head upside down or sit on a bench or something and put
my head upside and look between my legs so I could get a fresh view of things. Oftentimes,
the points that you’re looking for really stand out and become very obvious, where otherwise
they aren’t because your eye gets accustomed to what you’re working on. It’s almost
like watching a test pattern on television. They used to show test patterns a lot. They
don’t so much anymore, but you’d fall asleep at night in a chair, and then you’d
wake up and here’s this tone and a test pattern on TV. Well, your work becomes like
a test pattern. You can’t see it. You need to take a fresh view of it.
So that lesson came through too in a lettering class. If you’re designing lettering one
of the things you look for when you’re spacing lettering for a poster or a sign or an advertisement
is you look at the negative space between the letters. And you have to alter that space.
For example, if you have an L followed by an A, you’ve got this big open L, big long
line, and then you’ve got an A next to it, that creates a huge space between the L and
the A, whereas if you have an I next to a P you can get it pretty close, so you don’t
tend to want to bring it out to create the same negative space, or that looks funny.
So you learn to cheat a little bit. You take the L and you cut some of the stem off so
you make a shorter L and create a little less space in that space and on the I next to a
P, capital P and put the I a little bit further away.
So as you look at this piece you’re creating negative space between letters that looks
very much the same, and somehow it’s more comfortable to the eye. You can read the lettering
better. So if you turn the lettering upside down, your eye will tell you immediately where
those big negative spaces or the real fine ones—a lot of lettering these days is done
mechanically so it doesn’t quite understand it as well. Maybe in some cases you’re willing
to spend enough money for a program and understand it better. But it’s called incremental spacing.
Now, another great thing I learned in my lettering class was the first day in class the instructor
took a piece of 8.5 x 11 paper, held it up in front of the group, pinned it on the board,
and said, okay, I want somebody to volunteer to come and put a, with this pencil or pen,
I want you to put a dot in the exact center of that paper. Somebody volunteered and went
up. They took the marker and put a dot where they thought was the center of the paper.
The point of the instructor from left to right it was pretty close to exact center, but up
and down it was higher than center. His point we always see—this is how the eye sees things.
For example, in lettering, this is a lettering class. Why do we always put the middle leg
coming out from the upright, why do we put it above center? Because it looks more comfortable
to the eye. If you make an E and you put the center line going to the right,
right in the middle it looks awkward.
Well, this ties into the concept of the Greek architecture and why when they built the Parthenon
they actually leaned the columns in a little bit. They made the top of the Parthenon a
little bit smaller than the bottom, and it looks more comfortable. If they make it the
same dimension in the old—I remember looking at the two trade towers in New York many years
ago, and as you were on one side of the street looking up at the towers, the tower that you
were next to looked like it was towering over you. It was kind of coming over almost like
it going to fall over on you. The other tower even though it was across the street still
looked like it was coming over, and I thought what is this phenomenon that we see? What
isn’t so? Well, a corner of the street up several hundred feet in the air is a very
tiny distance, but the square or the shape of the building, the building is going up
straight, but the tower somehow has this illusion of leaning over and almost falling over on you.
So the Greeks understood that there is a perception thing that goes on inside our mind with the
eye. My thought was, well, this is because of the horizon. Our world, we live on terra
firma so our world around us becomes very large in our minds, but the sky which is immense
diminishes in importance in our minds. So things we see above the horizon tend to have
a different proportional look to us than things below the horizon. Another thing the Greeks
did is they made the bottom of the Parthenon and arch, a very long arch so it really follows
the contour of the earth. Now imagine understanding that and representing it such a way that they
represent that curve. It’s so slight you can’t almost perceive it unless you get
at the end of the steps, or the base of the building on one end and look to the other,
and then you see this gentle curve. It gives it a beautiful line.
But then the columns are all leaning in a little bit toward the center, and there is
a specific dimension they came up with to make that work. It all fits the golden mean.
I tell these stories only to tell you that the eye doesn’t see what we think it sees.
And so the more we understand about how the eye actually perceives space, the more it’ll
help us in our work. My wife’s father was a doctor in Washington D.C., and he invented
a three-dimensional X-ray machine back in the early 60s, and he invited me to come back
and work with him a little bit for a week or so because as we discussed this idea he
discovered that I could control the parallex of my eyes meaning that I could, the old stereo
images that used to be very popular when, of course, photography became known one of
the early things they did was a lot of Lincoln portraits were taken or pictures of Lincoln
with a stereo camera. So they had these stereo viewers. It was a big contraption with a handle
and a lens you look through. It has divided pictures, a left eye image and a right eye
image and a split down the middle. Well, you put it in this viewer, and the viewer split
the pictures apart in your brain, and you were looking through not just lenses, but
you were looking through a prismatic lens that then separated your eyes and made one
look more out to the right and one to the left. So now you’re looking at two images
but you’re seeing them as one image. And what you see, it’s like the old viewmasters
they sold. I’m sure all of you have seen that. So you saw a three-dimensional image
because your right eye is looking at a different picture than the left eye. So the cameras
they made, the made cameras that had two lenses that would actually take a stereo picture.
Of course, now on television screens we have 3-D viewers, and the images are separated
a little different way, but the images can be separated by either polarizing the light
or by opening and closing a shutter using liquid crystal to open and shut the image
that the right eye sees, and then the left eye sees the other one. Of course, the brain
just combines those images and makes one three-dimensional image out of it. So I got into 3-D projection
and 3-D imaging. I was very young. I bought comic books that had three-dimensional comics
in them with the filter. Of course a red and a blue filter. So I learned about three-dimensional
images when I was very, very young. This helps me in sculpture because when I had this legal
case that I was an expert witness for they had pictures they had taken of this person’s
work, before and after pictures. They said he had changed it, so the image that he had
changed they felt didn’t violate the copyright so he could do that. But the test of the court,
well, was his work derived from the original artist’s works. I could prove that they
were just by looking at the left eye image and the right eye image of the before and
after shots, and I could point out from that exactly what had been changed.
I think if you could see from earlier works or you’ll see in other lessons when I first
block something in like I did this the blocking in process goes reasonably fast. I can speed
that along, but it’s hard to continue to do that in the refining stage because it just
takes time to discover what it is you’re doing wrong.
We were discussing also how the
eyes perceive things and optical illusions. This three-dimensional viewing of photographs,
it’s really kind of a trick isn’t it? We’re photographing the left eye image and
photographing a right eye image and then setting up a visual aid so that we actually separate
those images from one another, but the eye perceives it as one image. So understanding
that as an artist, understanding optical effects really helps us do a better job with our work.
See this shadow is a little too deep over here, and it just doesn’t look very feminine.
If we just soften this line a little bit, this edge. Yet, underneath this is the zygomatic
bone so it has to stick out. We can’t just make a smooth surface. Got to make sure that
the whole face is being, the shape of the face is being determined by this.
For most people watching this happen, I’m not sure that they would see much, but since
your interest is in sculpture every little stroke has potential meaning. You see this
old adage that I, you know, when I tell people that my life is a made up of a series of mistakes
carefully corrected. There’s a lot we can see about this that seems to be a mistake.
We have to go back then and analyze what is it we need to do to fix it. That’s why we
use clay because clay is a malleable temporary material. We can put it on. We can take it off.
Most things, even in Michelangelo’s day they thought Michelangelo simply got a
block of marble and looked at the figure within and carved it out. Well, it doesn’t work
that way. Michelangelo was very careful, planned things carefully. Although there is very little left.
He destroyed a lot of his working models. If you go to Casa Buonarroti in Florence,
Italy, his home, you’ll see a bunch—not a bunch, but a few small models he did in
water clay. And they were very quick gesture studies, not highly finished. They don’t
look so different from your work or my work except for the knowledge they had the anatomical
knowledge that he had and proportions and design and all that stuff, of course, comes
through in his models. But they are unfinished so they have kind of a crudeness to them in
a way, but almost a divine beauty about them. So when we’re blocking in we can do that.
We come closer to really credible work in the amount of knowledge we have about design,
proportion, anatomy, and content, all of those elements.
So a little knowledge really helps your work in many ways, but in the final refinement
stage, that’s when it really requires its tedium. It’s getting in and just sticking
with it until you get it to look like something really beautiful, artistic. Elegant. What
we’re trying to show the public when we do work is not just that we’re talented
but we’re trying to show them, help them see something that maybe they’ve never seen before.
So they may see a line, a form. They may see the modeling of a lip or how you deal with
eyes. The Greeks didn’t cut out the eye like we do today or like the Renaissance artists
did because they colored their marbles. They carved these beautiful statues, and then they
painted them. It’s hard to imagine painting Carrara marble because it’s such a beautiful
material. But they found great sculptures with paint on them so they know that’s what
they did, and the eyes, they painted the eyes as if they were real eyes, so they combined
sculpture and painting. Now we sort of look at them as being two distinctly separate and
different disciplines, and we don’t often mix the two. Although from time to time we
do see painted sculpture. And to create an effective painting on sculpture, if it’s
in bronze we typically choose the patina that somehow complements the colors of the patina
or the oxide finish on the bronze will complement the work itself.
One of my friends and former competitors used to paint his bronzes. He justified it by talking
about the Greeks painting their works, their marbles, and others painting bronzes. But
to me it was almost a distraction from the modeling and the form to add paint. Bronze
has such a beautiful, it’s such a beautiful material and has so many potential ways that
you can finish it with color with patinas. In many pieces I like to see the bronze showing
through because it tells the viewer the type of material and it sort of honors the material
and in some way makes it a part of the art, just the beauty of the material itself. Whereas
if you paint it you lose that bronze quality. You can almost cast it in plastic and paint
it. The end result, what you see would be the same. So I like using the material and
somehow integrating the importance of the material into the finished work itself.
This little part of the lip in the center usually hangs down so the hollow that’s
under the lip is a little tighter right there and almost undercut. It somehow gives it a
better look if you create a sharper edge.
I didn’t emphasize making your clay in rolls, but sometimes you can warm your
clay up and prepare a whole lot of rolls, and it’ll really help the blocking-in process
because you can just slap these rolls on and build them up in a hurry. But all of that
takes time and just haven’t felt the luxury of time to do demonstrate to do all of that in advance.
We just take pieces of clay that are available,
put them in the warming oven, and pound them in place.
Look for some nice, long beautiful lines in the hair. Women want to always look
nice so they’re constantly putting the hair behind the ear, but sometimes it’s far more
interesting when it comes out, breaks out and flows freely. Just flies in the air. You
see a little tuft of hair there that I think could be very interesting. We’ll try it.
If we don’t like it we can change it.
What I really love about this part of the process
is you can do something like this and do something bold. And when it looks good it’s really
quite exciting. It gives you a sense of not only a pleasant sense of satisfaction but
you feel like it’s actually alive. It’s living and breathing because it’s doing
something. It’s changing from second to second like things do in real life.
There is something nice sometimes about just pieces that are blocked in. Some people have
this great ability to block it in and it just looks good. They cast it and it looks fine.
So I can block things in in a hurry, but it think I can do better in water clay than in
a Plastilina or sometimes Plasticine it’s sometimes called as well. Because Plastiline
is much more rigid, it’s very hard. It’s actually hard on the hands. If you’ve got
a little arthritis it’s a little bit painful to work with. Water clay is more fluid and
you can move it around a lot faster. I can probably block something in quicker in water
clay, but I like to give you the whole picture here, you know, from refining it to blocking
in, to doing all these things. It might be good. Let’s just try this one, maybe sticking
it behind the ear as if she’s tucked it in there just for experimental reasons. Then
after it goes behind the ear we can have it maybe coming out, pieces of hair growing out
and getting sort of frizzy on the back. Again, most people are conscious about their looks
and they want to fix that. I don’t necessarily want it fixed.
I want to respond to it and make a piece of art out of it.
I just noticed something in the photograph that I haven’t been getting quite right,
and that’s a fullness here in the cheek from just the cheeky tissue.
It helps round her face out, help her look a little more feminine...
instead of quite so angular.
I’d rather have the angularity in it to begin with so I can tell where things are
and then go back and soften it.
So typically working I would be changing sides, so I would see this in different light.
I think doing it this way may slow it down a little bit, where I can get a fresher view
more often in a variety of light conditions, but it’s working. I guess I tell you this
just so you can be aware when you set up your studio or a place to work you might do it
in an area where you work, let’s say if you have to just work off a table in your
home you can position yourself on one side of the table and work for a while and then
move to another side. Of course, these little turntables are very inexpensive at Home Depot
or some other store that sells hardware. Just a simple little lazy Susan-type platform on
ball bearings that rotates. It’s an easy way to make a stand. If you don’t have a
sculpture stand that’s an easy way to do it. Even on a countertop. If you stood up
to a counter top—many people have counters in their homes, you know, a bar or a kitchen
counter that has a taller stool, but you can lower the chair and stand next to that countertop.
Put your piece on a rotating stand, and it’ll give it plenty of height
so you can work comfortably that way.
Fingers are interesting tools because you can scrape with them. You can actually cut
with them. Cut pieces off. Scrape pieces off. One of the great motions you can make is when
you put something in you can roll your finger around like that and create a real interesting
effect of, for example, the hair growing out and rolling around. So hands are great tools.
If you ever go to a museum like the Metropolitan Museum in New York or the National
Gallery in Washington D.C, especially the National Portrait Gallery because the portrait
gallery has a variety of subjects and materials. There are a couple of little clay portraits
of women that are absolutely beautiful. And they look spontaneous. It looks almost like
the artist did it in an afternoon, but it just looks so fresh and spontaneous, and yet
they’re very elegantly treated. When you look at those portraits, look up one artist
in particular, a sculptor from France, Houdon, who came to America and did portraits of George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin and Lafayette and probably a couple
of other busts. Then he went back to France. He was strictly a Frenchman. But the Americans
thought in those days it was important to hire the best of the best to portray their
heroes, so they hired Houdon.
of females and of children are just so elegant and so beautiful, and you look at the shape
of the face, and it’s almost like it’s just totally rounded, you know, adipose tissue
or fatty tissue. But it’s so elegantly done. Then in particular look at the corners of
the mouth because the mouth and the nose, the corners of the nose, the way he treated
those simple shapes made the portraits look so beautiful. You see this corner in the mouth.
It’s almost as if he drilled a hole right in the corner right there to create that shape.
There is a little bit of a hollow right over where the lip tucks inside, but those are
so subtle and they look so beautiful. They look like they’re ready to speak to you.
So if you want to see the best of the best, especially on mouths and how to treat the
corner of a mouth. I think one of the hardest things for people to learn to sculpt is the
mouth. So study the works of Houdon. You can see them in books as well or on the internet.
You can download pictures. Just see how he handled mouths, how he handled eyes, how he
handled noses and ears, and the hair, how elegantly he handled the hair. It’s very
much like Bernini’s approach with that famous piece he did of Chloe and Daphne and the hair
on that beautiful woman.
For studying details I suggest studying from the best of the best. And if you don’t quite
get there that’s okay. But at least it gives you something to shoot for. Like in skiing,
when I was a young boy I did a lot of skiing. I worked at a ski lift operation in Park City,
Utah, from the time I was about 8 years old until I graduated from high school. I discovered
whenever we had a world-famous skier come to visit our little resort I discovered the
best way to learn to ski is to ski with the champions. You ski with the champions and
you ski like a champion. Same thing with art. If you want to sculpt or paint or draw with
the champions then find your mentors. Find those that you admire the most and study their
history. Look at their work. See what you can learn from them. That’s what I attempt
to do, and hopefully it helps my work. We can never judge ourselves and our own work
adequately. I mean the world sees our works through different eyes than we do. But we
know what we’re striving for. So set your goal high and perhaps you’ll come near it.
In fact, I heard once that it’s always better to set your goal high and not quite achieve
it than to set no goal at all and to achieve that. Hopefully you’ll be inspired. Some
of what we’re doing will make you want to learn more, and you’ll be inspired to go
seek out the works of other artists, especially the famous ones who have made such a profound
influence in the world with their works.
We have the model back so we can work on refinement. So we’re going to work on hair a bit today
and again look at those nice big folds. Big dramatic waves in the hair that give it so
much, almost a musical flow. It just flows and disappears. Pieces of hair disappear.
Others stand out. So look for the form in the hair, not the lines that you see on the
surface. See this big full area right here. Hair, of course, changes from day to day.
Hair is flexible. It moves around. We do things with it. The wind blows. A lot of things happen
so it’s hard. If you start hair in one position it’s not ever going to stay there permanently.
So again, what you need to do as a student, learn to improve your powers of observation.
As you gain a bit of confidence in composition you start looking for lines that complement
the work of sculpture as a whole so it’s not just randomly doing things.
We’ll emphasize that piece of hair coming down a little bit more. Notice how far that
piece of hair comes out away from the face. That’s a little tough to do, and to support
it and to make a mold over it later so you can tie that a little closer into the head.
Yet, we want some of that feel that the hair is coming in close to the head here.
Imagine a woman out on the prairie tying her hair back, you have, having this very elegant
look compared to a woman who is a very formal setting where her hair is slicked down and
pinned down and in the modern age we spray a spray on the hair that fixes it in position.
So it has a much more formal look about it. In this case we’re having a little bit more
natural look by just giving it a little variety. I’m making some waves in the hair. That’s
a little narrow from this side. I’ll make it a little bit wider so it flows a little bit better.
Hair is really complex. Years to develop a good feel for hair because it
has a tendency, there’s each of us, as we do sculpture have a tendency to become mundane
in our work by repeating things over and over. Repetition usually produces boredom. There
are times when we can plan it. If we plan the repetition so it does something specific
then it’s fine. If we’re creating a texture to illustrate something, for example, the
stripes in a shirt. Something that is very mechanical looking.
But hair has a freedom about it, a looseness that I want in this piece to feel that freedom.
It says something. The message that it sends to the viewer is, you know, this is very loose
hair, and I assume, Ariel that the waves in your hair are natural, aren’t they?
Ariel: They are. However, this is from last night so my hair is a little curled and refined.
Yeah, but still there is a natural feel to where your hair naturally wants to grow and
wave. A lot of that is determined by the shape of the hair follicle and the location of the
hair follicle and the hair. In the forehead I can see today better than I could earlier
that your hair wants to grow forward in the front. Yet, when we look in the mirror we’re
always pulling our hair back. But I’ve got to look at how the hair actually grows. There
is a nice peak right in the top where the hair changes direction and goes backward.
A lot of time is spent by women training their hair. They want it to do what they want it
to do, where nature often wants to do other things, particularly right in the front where
it comes out of the top of the scalp here. That gives us a nice feel to the front. There
is a little bit of a hollow behind this hair in front, but behind that we want to feel
like the top of the head is the, the skull is pushing upward. We want to make sure we
put enough hair there to cover that up. Otherwise, with this line coming down here she might
look like her hair is getting too thin and she is starting to bald. That happens even
in women, but we don’t want to emphasize that so you want to build this up and make
sure there is plenty of bulk to the hair.
The hair is a little more tight on the front end, and as she’s tucked it into her ear
behind her ear. Then it gets looser as it comes back toward this bun in the back. From this
side we can see it a little better maybe.
Alright, now one of the things to keep in mind. We’re doing sculpture. When you’re
drawing and painting you set up a model like we have here, and then you find a position.
The lights are fixed in position and you do a drawing or a painting from one position
only, so the lighting is not going to change. That’s really convenient because when you
have a room full of students everyone can take their little bench or their easel and
set it up where they want relative to the model and what they see they’d like to paint
or draw. In sculpture it’s very different. I want to move around the model. I don’t
want the model fixed in a specific lighting situation in this condition. In order to prepare
these lessons we need to do that and perhaps that’s helpful as far as viewing it and
understanding what’s going on. But I really like to move around the model. I like to be
able to move, rotate the model. We can do that to a certain extent here. We’ve put
her on a chair that we can turn her. When we do you might notice, if you can anticipate
some of those moves, how the lighting changes. As I rotate the head you’ll notices those
changes as well. See how the lighting changes?
Now here I’ll come back to this in a few minutes, but it just disturbs me a little
bit the way the light falls around that jawline. I’m going to look for the angle of the lower
mandible here and just the effect it has on pushing the skin out a little bit there. Now
here it’s sort of hidden in light, where if I could walk around the other side I could
probably see it better. So I tell you all of these things just to make you aware that
sculpture is different in that we need to move around the form. We need to change the
lighting in order to really see what it is we’re trying to see. Otherwise, and I’ve
seen this happen, and I’ve experienced it myself. If we choose a place to work in a
room that has a certain kind of lighting and we stay in a fixed position and later take
the portrait out and show it somewhere else the lighting, because it’s been restricted
or we haven’t seen it in various positions something looks wrong with the sculpture.
It’s because we’ve had the light and the shadows always in the same position, looking
at it from the same point of view. But once we take it out and put it in a whole different
light, it has a different appearance, a different feel to it entirely.
So lighting is important, but we need to vary the lighting. You notice that from time to
time Ariel changes her expression. She’ll think of something. She’ll smile. Her mind
will be on something else. All of those little subtle things come through in the personality,
and when those things happen then the face changes dramatically. We learn to read people’s
expressions. You know, we’re always watching for what happens with the head in action or
reaction to something. That helps our work. It’s a little inconvenient here because
we want to keep the subject on talking about sculpture and the principles of sculpture
and what it is we’re looking for. But oftentimes when you’re doing this yourself, engage
the model in conversation. Ask questions. Get them doing talking a little bit of animation.
It really helps you see things in the figure that you wouldn’t ordinarily see otherwise.
Those things all contribute to the character of the piece.
What comes out of this as a finished piece is not just a likeness of an individual, and
I’ve had many people over the years what is it that’s so different about your work.
When I ask them what they mean, they say, well, so and so does great work. His work
looks like the person but there is something missing. It’s just yours comes alive. There’s
seems like a model just posing, but yours looks like the model is alive and breathing.
So that’s what I attribute that to. So if you want to get realism in your work, if you
want it to look like it’s alive, animate the model a little bit. Let them feel comfortable.
Let them talk. Let them interact with you in a way that will help the work.
Ariel, if I could get you to rotate just slightly this direction, just slightly is fine. Now
I see that beautiful cheekbone sticking out, and I don’t how well that shows up. Rotate
just a little to the left and then back to exactly, yeah, there you see that cheek line
and how it sticks out. Animating, moving the subject really helps to see that. Thank you.
Notice how subtle it is again because being a female model, excuse me, these features
in a mail might be very prominent. A portrait I recently did of Abraham Lincoln, boy these
cheekbones really stick out and are angular and undercut and so forth. But in a female
it’s very, very subtle. So the trick is learning to do this but doing it in a very
subtle way. Often people ask me when are you going to smooth it? Well, I never smooth because
I want a subtle texture to the skin. I mentioned how we pull the skin over the anatomical frame
or over the bony structure so it creates a stretch, a feel in the skin. So we never really
polish or smooth, at least I don’t. Many artists do. But I’m, just the process doing
this I’m smoothing only because I’m trying to create subtleties accurately.
Can you turn a wee bit toward me again? Thanks. I notice this bone really builds up right in here.
That’s part of that skeletal frame that comes around the eye, the part that protects
the eyeball. Then on the side is the temporalis anterior which is this muscle that connects
from the temporal ridge here. You can’t set it very well in this particular model.
Some you can see it better. But it’s there, and it’s a change of plane so you get this
plane against the forehead. Then it changes plane where the ridge, where the temporal
ridge is. This muscle, we see it as a hollow on this side, but then the muscle fills in
that hollow so you want to make sure that this is a convex shape and not a concave shape
here. So even though it changes direction, makes a little indication of a line and comes
down, it’s not hollow as a concavity. It’s a muscle. So you’re building muscles that
lay against other bony structures or other muscles. So it’s the positive form we’re
looking for, not the shadow. Not the line. If you force yourself to do that you’ll
begin looking at the model in that way. You’ll see these full convex shapes.
Hopefully it becomes apparent at some point. It’s hard to know as an instructor exactly
how to illustrate that, but just working on it. If the light is shining over that surface
we can begin to see that structure. Notice right here how this bone, there is a fullness
clear back here. I’ve had experiences in the past where somebody says, you know, there’s
something wrong with the mouth or the nose looks funny or whatever. You can go in and
work on the area around that and improve the piece without ever touching it. So in this
case I know I need to do a little more work on the eyes, but doing this around the eye,
getting this bony structure right in the cheek will actually help improve the eye.
mirror what it looks like from this side. But as I turn this, look at this shadow here.
I don’t see that shadow from working here. So that’s one of the advantages of using
a mirror. It’s quite easy to get a big mirror. In fact, for some years in my studio I had
a mirror on a stand. I simply went to a thrift store and found an old mirror. It didn’t
cost very much. So put a mirror on a stand that you can use while you’re working on
this, and you see it not only the reverse but you’ll see things in the mirror that
you just can’t see otherwise. The lighting is different. It really helps you pull the
portrait together and get it right. As you look in the mirror you can also look at the
model in the mirror. It’s a bit like a shorthand way of getting a fresh view of things. The
toughest thing for an artist is getting a fresh view of your work.
I think I need a little bit more frontal eminence here before it folds back. Somehow it just
looks weak here. When I turn it it may not look the same. The lighting changes. It needs
a little more strength, a little more structure.
Sometimes I realize that the eyes are important,
the nose, the mouth, the ears. But I force myself to ignore them as long as I can so
I get all of this stuff around them correct. Then when I go back and work on them it helps.
Now, notice how I’m working here on her right side, but I’m working with my right
hand. If you learn to work with the left hand as well sometimes it helps to measure things
with your thumbs or your fingers, and you’ll feel subtle differences between the left and
right side working like this, and often blocking in. If the clay is real soft you can do that.
But the clay is hardened now. Not because it dries out. It’s just colder. We’re
starting in the morning, and it’s really quite chilly and the clay is very hard. In
the afternoon it may get a little bit warmer. So we’ve been warming the clay so we can
speed the process along. Make more drastic changes in a short period of time so you don’t
have to wait for things to happen quite as fast. But now that we’re getting it more
and more refined, the whole process is slowing down. It’s slowing because I’m looking
for very tiny, subtle things, but also the clay is harder. This helps me because if I’m
working always with clay in my hands and I make little rolls and take little tiny pieces
off I may take a little tiny piece off like that. But I’m warming the clay in my hand
so now I’m putting warm clay over cool clay, which really helps refine it.
If I were using water clay I would have to keep wetting it. Temperature doesn’t matter
so much to water clay. It’s the amount of wetness it has. I would have to keep wetting
it occasionally to keep it from drying out, which would leave a shiny surface that would
be harder to see for a bit until the water soaked in. But you get some nice long strokes.
Water clay has unique benefits. The trick is taking oil clay and making your work look
as spontaneous as water clay allows you to get. Water clay is much less expensive. When
I first started sculpting, a brick of Roma Plastilina was about $1.00, $1.50. Well, now
it’s $10 to $12 or $14 for a 2 pound brick. Water clay is very inexpensive. There are,
of course, a number of manufacturers out there, but I got used to using a clay that I could
melt for a large project I did in Omaha, Nebraska.
So when I order clay typically I don’t just go down to the art store and buy a couple
of bricks of clay. I order 2000 pounds at a time, and of course with 2000 pounds you
get a better price break. So if you’re doing sculpture yourself you might find other sculptors
who are working in the kind of clay you like to work with. If you can befriend another
artist, an artist who orders 2000 pounds of clay, you might be able to get a little bit
better deal. We artists are always looking for a deal. You know, living the life of an
artist you learn to be very frugal with your money and make it go a long way. Now, if you
know you want to do this then I’d say go ahead an order 2000 pounds of clay.
In fact, there is kind of a funny story about that. My mentor was Avard Fairbanks. He taught
at the University of Utah and did a lot of huge projects. My training was really in monumental
sculpture. My thinking always was you do a small piece as a potential model for a large
monumental work. So that’s where I came from. We had another friend, Arnold Friberg,
who was one of the world’s great illustrators. He illustrated this picture that everyone
has seen of George Washington kneeling in front of his horse called the Prayer at Valley
Forge. And it’s been so popular that you’ll see it in many offices around the country.
So the three of us, of course, were pretty good friends. There was a generation between
each of us, a generation gap you might say.
So, Dr. Fairbanks at 89 became ill and was in the hospital. I called my friend Arnold
Friberg and asked him if he’d like to go visit Dr. Fairbanks. He said, oh yeah, I think
we ought to go visit him. So we walked into the door of the hospital and Dr. Fairbanks
saw us. Of course, here we are Fairbanks, Friberg, and Fraughton. Dr. Fairbanks says,
oh, Arnold and Ed, I’m glad to see you both. I need to ask you to do a favor for me. Arnold
said, well sure, Dr. Fairbanks, what could that be. Fairbanks said, Arnold, do you remember
years ago you said you wanted to paint my portrait? Arnold said, well yeah, I guess
I did say that. Well, could you do it now. It was so shocking to hear him say that because
it was like he was on this deathbed and the last thing he wants is to have this portrait
painted. Arnold didn’t quite know what to say. Then he turned to me and says, so Ed,
I need your help too. I said, well sure, Dr. Fairbanks, what can I do for you? He said,
well, I need some clay. I wondered if you could get some clay for me. I said, well sure,
what would you like? I can bring 20 pounds. Do you need a stand? What do you need? I thought
he wanted to work on clay in the hospital. He said, oh no. I need a lot more than that.
I probably need 2000 pounds. I’ve got to do this big monument when I get out of here.
On one hand he sounded like he was dying, and on the other hand he had this great vision
for a project that he wanted to do, and he needed 2000 pounds of clay. That always impressed
me because it thought no matter how serious our situation is, always having this sense
of positive expectancy. He never left the hospital. He passed away a few days later.
But I thought it’s a great way to think of life. Here’s a man dying, and yet he’s
thinking of his next project. That’s what we as artists do. We never quit working until
our dying breath, hoping that we can continue. We live, I guess, through our work. We can
continue to live and do things that will enhance in some way the world around us through our works.
This part of Ariel’s hair had a way of somehow attaching itself, and I need to give it more
interest. I’ll cut a little groove in there, create a little shadow area. I’m hoping
that will give it a little more. The name is Ariel, but a little more air under the
hair, create a nice shadow. Okay, we’ll work on eyes a little bit. I’m impressed
by how these features are so vivid. There is a distinct, here eyelid comes out. There
will be a little bit of a hollow right in front where the eyelid connects to the tissue
around it. There is always a little fullness right there. Years ago, learning to do eyes
I would just draw eyes over and over again until I get the feeling of an eye. After I
would do the eye I would find that if I drew just the corner of the, if I drew the brow
ridge in, if I drew the cheek underneath, if I looked for the folds in the skin where
this big muscle, the orbicularis oculi comes around the outside of the eye. That’s what
creates these two shapes. Again, they are convex shapes that meet. There’s not a line
so the shadow that’s under the eye is not a harsh line.
It’s a fullness that meets another fullness.
I suggest getting the books, and I don’t recall the author painting by the old masters
and drawing by the old masters, but they talk about how the old masters approach the idea
of drawing and painting and sculpture. The artists saw these positive forms and created
the form, not the hollows. So even in drawing they thought like I do about sculpture.
Remember to get the outside of the eye back far enough.
Could you rotate slightly to the right so
I can see your left eye? The corner of the left eye. Just a wee bit. There you go, thank you.
In this position I can see how this lower lid tucks up, comes around and tucks up in
the corner right here to meet the upper lid. Alright. We’ll start getting down to the
nitty gritty on some of the details. This may seem a little grotesque, but let me get
you to do one thing for me: open your mouth so we can see your teeth, the profile of your
teeth. Yeah. What I want the viewer to see is the contour of the teeth. Okay, close your
mouth now. That’s okay. See how this corner of the mouth goes clear in to where the teeth
go. There is a thickness to the skin, the layer of skin over it, and the orbicularis
oris muscle and all of that. But nevertheless, this contour has to follow the contour of
the teeth and not the cheeks. Not the broadness of the face.
Since I’ve talked about the side, this little tuft of hair hanging down on the side, which
is a nice gesture. Can you brush it back and maybe put it behind your ear again? So I can
see this cheek again. Yeah, now the shape of the edge of the zygomatic arch right there
is really important, and it’s so subtle, but look at the sharp edge right there and
how there is a concave shape that comes down here that kind of indicates the edge of that
structural element underneath. That’s really important to get that right. Without this
structural feeling to the cranium under the eye and the way it affects the shape of the
face. Without getting that right there will always be sort of a weakness in your work.
If it’s all smooth. But this edge right there is one of the hardest things to get,
so look for it. Be aware of it. Make it a little bit sharp so it has a structural feel
about it. That and hair, the subtle things sometimes that are very hard to see are the
hardest things to model.
The hair that I modeled used to be so mundane, so uninteresting. So it really took me years
to figure out how to do that and give it a fresh, free feel. So we’re going to work
a little more on eyes, nose, and mouth, and then we’ll go back to the hair. Notice the
reflection that comes out of where her tear duct is. Now there is a little bit of shadow
under the wing of the nose on this side. But if you look at the other side, see how bright
the light is that reflects right there from that little hollow. Again, it’s this concave
shape, concave things tend to gather light and reflect them back. So that’s why you
see that that way. I see a distinctive shadow right here, a fullness here coming off the
zygomatic bone. That is part of this quadratus labii superioris group of muscles, and this
shelf. The light is just right right now for seeing this shelf to the zygomatic bone right there.
See when she smiles how much more you learn about the face. Oftentimes people think they
want to have a portrait done with a smile on it. I like to point out that if a status
smiles eternally it looks kind of weird.
So it’s nice to put a faint smile. But a heavy
smile, you can do that for a character portrait. But typically smiles and showing their teeth—I
know people have had their portraits down that way and they look okay, but there is
something very strange about an eternal smile on a piece of sculpture.
We’ll give it just a little bit of, a little accent there that makes it look distinctly
like her smile. Notice the corner of the lip right here, how it kind of folds over the
top of the lower lip as it resolves in the corner. There is a slight shadow here, change
of planes. Very tiny, very subtle. But that makes a huge difference in the corner of the
lip. And the sense that the lips are actually rolling. The upper lip rolls out from inside.
The lower lip rolls down. But the upper lip sort of folds just a little bit over the top
of the lower lip. So subtle, subtle, stuff, but if you can figure it out and study it.
These things vary on every individual. These are some of the personality characteristics
that you want to watch for, but you know that it’s there. What I try to teach is general
proportions, general structural things, general things to look for. But those all vary between
individuals in really subtle ways. This little chunk of clay kind of gets in the way of you
seeing this. There is a very faint plane right here that’s sort of a flat plane. Little
fullness below it.
Notice I keep doing it on this side. There the light is quite flat here, so I’m not
seeing it as well. But the more we get that resolved and pulled together, and this tool
with the raking tool is often much better for defining those planes and shapes.
And it softens the face. It makes it look like it’s a layer of skin stretching
rather than just a hard, polished surface.
Right here instead of that line I want the shapes coming
together, and again the feeling of this muscle coming up from the cheek or the zygomatic arch.
There is a tiny bit of fold in this plane that comes down. The tendency of everyone
is to cut that line in there. It’s not a line at all except where this part of the
skin meets that. Then it creates just a tiny, tiny line. But it is shapes fitting together.
I keep repeating this over and over, but I do it so that the idea will finally sink in.
You need to hear it a number of times before it really registers. You need to try that.
I want you to notice how, as you look at the side of the face you get this feeling of a
hollow coming off that high part of the zygomatic structure and then melting into what is the
masseter muscle that comes down the side.
In fact, could you turn to the left a bit? Turn about almost, not quite 90 degrees. Back a little bit.
Turn away just a little more to the left a little bit. Yeah, and put your
hair back so I can see your cheek. Thank you.
If you take your work seriously as a sculptor or as a
painter, maybe it’s a good thing to also talk about your manner with models. It’s
always important to appreciate your model, to be respectful, to not be cavalier about
things. That’s very easy to do. Be appreciative. Be professional. Be courteous. Be those things
that you expect. Otherwise, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about hiring models
and the opportunity to be in the studio with somebody that you can spend time with. This
is all business even when you’re working with a nude model. I’ve noticed in some
art classes some students will become rather cavalier in their manner, and the model doesn’t
respect that. It’s not professional at all. So my thought is be professional. Imagine
a doctor who does that in their office. What we’re doing as artists is we are assuming
the same relationship with our models that a doctor does with his patient. You want to
be respectful. You want to let them know that you really appreciate what they’re doing
to help you do what you do. So I think that’s important.
It’s worthy of a little bit of careful thought.
Ariel: It makes us appreciative of being treated like a human being rather than a prop.
Right, exactly. A model is not just a prop. A model is a living, breathing individual
with a heart and a soul and feelings, and that comes through in your work. I have to
tell you that believe it or not, your attitude about the model and the work you’re doing,
all of these things come through in your work. My hope now is she is beginning to become
almost a classic figure. It’s not a portrait of a specific individual. It goes beyond that
in that it is, when you look at the portrait you want to see something that’s so classic
you want to look at it some more. You want to really appreciate the individualism but
also the universality of the beauty of the human. The face, the head, and be able to
see almost inside the person’s, their emotional state, their level of confidence, just their
general bearing, the way they carry themselves, their head, their body. All of those things
tell you something about the person that you’re portraying.
We’re not in a good situation as far as discussing between the model and just carrying
on normal conversation because this is instructional, but when you are with your model you might
focus on them. I’ve always found that if I’m doing, for example, a portrait of an
individual I want to know about them. It helps me do a better job. Rather than me doing all
the talking it will be, I’ll encourage the model to tell me, you know, something about
their childhood, their family, what they like to do, the sports they’re involved in, whatever.
All of these things contribute to making a better work of art. In fact, a lot of people
are very shy. Arnold Friberg, I mentioned his name, is a great, great illustrator, painter.
One of the great fine artists in America who passed away just a few years ago. The discussions
I had with Arnold—I did his portrait—was interesting because he worked on the Ten
Commandments with Cecil B. DeMille, so he had lunch every day with Marlon Brando and with Charlton Heston
and with all these great actors, and he told me about the personality of certain people
and how they were in real life. He was just a character, but he had that opportunity.
So he was 96 or 97 when I was commissioned to do his portrait. Arnold and I had a great
time together because we were great friends, but when he found out someone wanted to commission
his portrait—it was a university actually—he says, Ed, I don’t want anybody to do my
portrait. If anybody does it, it ought to be you because we’re great pals and I love
your work and all that. He said, look at me; I’ve got a terrible, look at my neck. He
always kept himself in perfect physical condition, but of course as he grew older his neck had
all these stringy lines from the platysma muscle. He says look at my hands; they’re
nothing but skin and bone, and he showed me his hands. He says I just don’t want anybody
to do my portrait. I just chuckled and I said, Arnold, when you get to my studio I have a
book on necks. You can pick any neck you want me to put on it, and I’ll be happy to oblige.
I said we can do any kind of hands. Of course, he chuckled at that and realized that I’m
an artist. I’m in control. So I created him a few years younger, and I had some great
photos of him when he was just in such perfect shape. His weight was always perfect. He just
looked glorious when he was in 60s and 70s and even 80s. So I created a great neck on
him and made his hands look younger and more vital.
So he came to the studio. In fact, it was funny because Arnold wanted to do everything.
He wanted to take over and do it for me. He reached up to touch the eye once. I said,
Arnold, keep your hand off that eye. He said, why, it needs a little—I said, no, it’s
sculpture. I can’t pain that eyelash on there. I have to create the illusion of an
eyelash. If you do that you’re going to destroy something that I worked very hard
to put on there. Just leave it alone. So he slowly pulled his hand away. And I said, beside
that, when you ask me to come and critique your work you’ve never handed me a brush
and allowed me to go ahead and make changes for you. It was a lot of fun to do that.
But when he finally came and looked at the piece when I had it finished—I couldn’t
have him come sit for me because I knew he would take over the project. He just couldn’t
help himself. That was his personality. So I said Arnold, I’m ready for the final sitting
if you’d come over and take a look. We can make a few subtle changes if you want. He
came into the studio and looked at that piece. He said, oh gosh, Ed, that’s terrific. He
said I didn’t expect this. He said, Arnold, what do you think of the neck? He said, oh
that neck looks just like my neck used to look. I love that neck. That’s perfect.
And what about the hands? Oh those hands are super. So sometimes instead of trying to imitate
just what we’re looking at, my thought is moving an ordinary portrait into something
that looks far more classic.
If you think of paintings, for example, that Singer-Sargent did, he made an ordinary person
look like just something very classic. That’s what I love about the classic artists. Even
if it was and individual portrait there was something totally unique and dignified about
it that reached beyond the individual. That’s what I’m striving for in this. Looking for
those little characteristics that will make it really something unique and special.
So what I’m talking about is just me and the way I think and the way I work. Your approach
may be quite different, but I’m a holdover from this era of what I call the renaissance
of American art, the golden age of American sculpture, which went from a period of about
1830 or 1840 to about the 1950s. I think we’re missing that today. So what I’m trying to
teach you today and in this series of lessons we’re working on now is to reconnect with
the great classical period of art that existed in the past. My hope is that maybe I can touch
on that in a way that not a lot of instructors could because I revere that era, and the man
that I studied from having been born in 1897 was really a holdover from that era. He studied
in the Art Student’s League in New York. He studied from the Beaux Arts in Paris, and
he was in fact one of the youngest admitted into the Beaux Arts and the academy in New
York where James Earle Fraser was teaching. James Earle Fraser is the man who did The
End of the Trail, a very famous portrayal of an Indian on a horse with his spear pointed down.
They say in American history it’s the most reproduced piece of sculpture ever created.
So I’m really a 2nd generation from James Earle Fraser as far as my genealogy in training
because Fairbanks studied from Fraser and I studied from Fairbanks. So you see how this
face now is taking on a real classical feel. It kind of explains too why it takes me so
long to finish a piece. I’ll spend probably another, close to a month working on this
so we can’t in a practical way follow it completion. But my hope is today we’ll get
it far enough along that once you make your own journey and get this far you’ll have
the confidence to keep going, and you’ll be well on your way. You won’t need me around
to instruct you. But having instruction at this point is just a tremendously valuable
opportunity. It’s something that luckily I had for a few years when I was training
under Dr. Fairbanks. But after his retirement and after I started my career, there really
was no one I could go to for continued instruction and help.
Yet today, there are a lot of people around doing sculpture so you can continue your associations
and your training and your understanding. In fact, the old illustrators in America did
such great work. Their illustrations I thought were as fine as a lot of the fine art that
was being created in Europe. This would be around the 1920s or so. But they’d get together
and help each other. They’d encourage each other. They’d go look at each other’s
and take a piece of tracing paper, perhaps, and lay it over an illustration. They weren’t
below criticism or suggestion. You know, if it’s free, if the advice is free and somebody
has a feeling about something you want to know what they’re thinking. Illustrators
typically didn’t go to the normal art schools. They taught each other. They collected reference
materials that they shared one with another.
One great painter, John Clymer, I asked once, how did you do this. You guys were interested
in art, but you really didn’t go to college to study. You didn’t your training at an
art school. You studied under some of these great illustrators and mentors. Many of them
did go to the Art Student’s League in New York, and in Chicago they had academies for
training, especially new young illustrators in the art of illustration. The publication
was popular, and so the way you sold products and the way you sold a story was all of the
stories were illustrated. Many of the illustrations were done by really fine, fine painters. So
John said, well, we’re subject to what we’re commissioned to do. I work for a publication
house. They come to me and say, John, we want you to do a book on North American animals
and maybe, you know, I haven’t done that before. I have no experience with wild game
with elk and moose and cougars and rams, mountain goats, things like that. I go over to Carl Runguis’s house.
Carl is probably the finest of the finest of the illustrators of western wildlife, and
a fine canvas painter. He wasn’t just limited to illustration for magazines. So I would
go see Carl Runguis and tell him I’ve got a new job and I know nothing about these game
animals in North America or Canada. What do you suggest I do? He said, first of all, I
went into Carl Runguis’s studio and here are all these skulls hanging on the wall of
these exotic animals and stuffed heads. So he had all the research material. He had Indian
blankets and Indian weapons, Indian clothing and headdresses and weapons, arrows. All of
this stuff in his studio. So as John looked around and saw all these things he realized
how much work this artist went through to make his work authentic and true. He said
Carl would take me over to his little filing cabinet and dig out all of these pictures
that he had been saving and instruct him. So they helped each other.
I came to the conclusion especially after my college education where there is so much
politics involved, I came to the conclusion that if you want to be an artist the universities
really can’t or have decided not to give you what you really need. It’s all about politics.
people in the fine arts. Now think about some of the exotic jobs like being a watch repairman.
Today we have electronic watches. How many watch repairmen do we have in the world? Well,
if you want to find out about mechanical watches you got to Switzerland or someplace where
they’re known and famous for building watches. That’s where you get the best training.
You can’t sign up for a class in watch repairing from a university. So in the same way the
fine arts have been kind of pushed aside. We call them fine arts, but so much about
how we teach art is stylistic. It’s the times we live in. We expect people to do abstract
art. If we don’t want to do abstract art—I asked the head of the department at the university
near me. I said, well so what, what do you do when a young artist comes to you and says
I want to learn how to draw. I love to do landscape paintings. I want to do them in
the traditional style, you know, of some of the great landscape artists of the past. What
do you tell a student who wants that kind of training? He said, well, I guess we’d
have to tell him to go somewhere else. We don’t teach that here. I thought how sad
because that’s what they’re pretending to teach. They’ll teach maybe one or two
classes in painting, landscape painting, or traditional paintings, portrait painting,
figure painting. But that’s not really where they’re headed. The next thing they teach
the student is okay to violate all the rules. This is about you expressing yourself as an
artist and having a unique style. I thought that’s not the way art works. You study
from the best of the best, and style is something that happens automatically based on the choices
you make and what it is you choose to do with your lifetime career as an artist.
So this may seem like it goes beyond just this portrait, but I want you to understand
why I’m reaching toward this classical feel in what I’m doing using a model. I’m looking
for things in this model that make her unique to the world and have an expression, perhaps,
that will be inspiring. In fact, one of the thoughts that I had as I turned this, I was
thinking about what Augustus Saint-Gaudens the model that he used when he designed the
$20 gold piece. He didn’t do a portrait of an individual. Most of the books you read
about this, they stress, they talk a lot about the person who did model for him, but that’s
not what is important. He went beyond the model and created an icon, a heroic icon that
lasts forever. That’s what I would like to do here or at least show you how to reach
toward that in your own work. You may be a rank beginner, but I think if you start looking
at sculpture in a different way and thinking in those terms it will really help you to improve.
Okay, we’re going to build up a little bit of bulk on the hair. Hopefully, we won’t
run out of clay before we do. We need nice, warm clay to work with. Let’s see what we
have. I’m hoping this is helping everybody at every level to understand the process so
that you can take it as far as you wish and enjoy the experience of knowing and integrating
it into your work. I think if you’re starting out as a sculptor, just beginning to know
the entire process should be, and the process of thinking as well
should be tremendously helpful.
I just made this line of this sternocleidomastoid muscle, which is a little difficult to see
with the collar. Let me just fold it back just a second. Pull your collar back. Okay,
just for a second. See that muscle? How that comes down and again makes the sternal notch
right in the center. But the fullness of that muscle—rotate your head back and forth just
slightly left to right. There you go. See it stick out there. Okay. It just sticks out
when she gets her head in a certain position. That really sticks out. But she is sitting
straight now so it’s very subtle. I want you to see the subtlety of it, the way I model
this so that I catch the sense that it’s there and that it’s a very strong, important muscle.
It’s very important to the leverage on the back of the head, rotating the head around
that atlas bone. And the atlas bone is like a ball in the back of the neck. Really, the
way the skull is built it has the smooth articular surface on the inside that’s round so it
allows the head to rotate side to side or up and down. So it’s like a ball if you
can imagine a ball and then a joint that fits in the ball that lets it rock back and forth
or just rotate around that bone. So, all of these muscles that then connect to the spinal
column and to the trunk of the body, the clavicle in front, the scapula in back. In fact, the
only thing that really connects the shoulder and the arm to the body is this little clavicle
bone. Everything else is muscle that connects to the spine or to the scapula, well, the
scapula as well. The scapula fits over the rib cage and the muscles that line the outer
part of the rib cage. They’re called serratus muscles because they kind of interlock like
this and lock into the rib cage. But other than that the shoulder connects to the trunk
of the body through the clavicle. It’s a very tiny bone. The rest of it floats on the
surface of the rib cage and the muscles that surround the rib cage.
Think about a horse, for example. The horse’s front shoulder has no bony connection to the
body. So the scapular, which is the shoulder blade, has all these muscles that connect
to it. Then into the scapula is the ball socket joint for the humerus to fit. Then all the
leg bones fit into that. There is no bone that connects the shoulder of a horse and
many other animals to the trunk of the body. In a human the only difference from that is
the clavicle, which is very tiny. That goes hook back into the sternum and then into the
rib cage and the trunk of the body. But other than that there is no bony connection. I think
that is important to know that the shoulder floats over the rib cage. It gives it a lot
of flexibility and dynamics. I mean the range of motion of the shoulder is just fabulous
to allow us to do what we can do. With the understanding of how these muscles in the
neck and the back connect to the head. The trapezius muscle in back hooks to the occipital
protuberance or the back corner of the skull. And the corner of the skull, if we were to
look at the skull from the side—we created a skull when we first started this. But this
shape here, there’s a little ledge right there in the back. This oval part of the upper
head just goes down to about here. In front the oval, of course, we see that in the front
as we come down this way.
So the projection from that oval on the front of the face or really the teeth, the maxillary
group which is this upper part that holds the upper teeth and the lower mandible. That’s
what creates that oval shape in the face. But now since the jaw moves up and down it’s
not needed in the backside of the skull, so the skull ends right about there. Just draw
a line for now. At the base of that is a little bony protuberance, a little bump that the
trapezius muscle hooks to. Trapezius means trapezoidal shape, so if we were to just cut
this muscle away from the body and lay it out flat it would be a trapezoid. It would
have four corners. It would just be shaped like a big diamond or trapezoid.
So the trapezius. So the trapezius attaches to the back of the head. Of course, when you
look up and look down the trapezius is really in action pulling down their internal muscles
as well that affect the shape. But just being aware of that helps you understand the structure
back here. So when you look at that head as I turn it this way, now you can see how strong
this trapezius muscle has to be in back. I’ve got a little piece of hair. I’ll just get
rid of that for now. The trapezius attaches to the back of the school, and then it twists
as it comes down and attaches to the clavicle in front. It attaches to the outer third of
the clavicle, not right up close, but back about here.
Other muscles that attach to it are the deltoid from the arm fitting across the acromion process
and the joint of the humerus. The acromion process is part of the scapula. So those are
the attachments of the muscles. Really to learn that more thoroughly you need to reference
a good anatomy book. There are a lot of good anatomy books for artists. So as I’m doing
this even I’m working on the outer surface I’m trying to finish or put a feeling of
finish. I’m always thinking of these structural elements underneath, because, for example,
if I’m just looking for that hallow going up this side of that sternocleidomastoid muscle
I may put it in the wrong place. But if I understand the shape of the skull and the
position of the mastoid process behind the ear, that little bony bump that stick out
right there, now I’m going to get it right. It’s going to be accurate. That’s why
I stress a little more thorough understanding of what you’re doing.
Again, if you’re doing this just for the sheer fun of doing it and looking at the model
and trying to replicate what you’re seeing on the surface, that’s a lot of fun to do
that. But if want it to look a little bit better, a little knowledge to with that is
even more helpful. I think with just a small amount of knowledge, you’d be surprised
with how good your work of art can be, especially among people who have always wanted to learn.
Say, well, I can’t do that. I’d sure like to give it a try and see what I can do. If
you just try to do something without any knowledge and then look at the end result then try to
do the same thing with a little bit of knowledge you’ll notice how much improvement there
is in your work. So knowledge and then experience to go with that knowledge really helps you
to do a better piece of art.
The first guitar lesson I had the instructor told me to look at the neck of the guitar.
He said how many strings are on the guitar. Well, there are six strings. How many positions
can you put your finger on the frets to change that tone? Well, first of all, an octave is
12 so each guitar has a number more than 12 so it’ll 15 or 18 or something so you can
go an octave and a quarter, an octave in a half depending on how the guitar is built.
He said how many strings do you have to create a chord? Well, I guess I have to use six,
right? No, no. He said all you have to use are two strings to make a chord. You can use
two strings, any one of those strings. You can use two of them, and you can put your
finger on any place you want on those frets. Now you’re playing a chord. Figure out the
number of chords that are possible on the guitar, and it’s almost infinite. There
are thousands of chords that you can play by the various combinations of where you put
the finger on the fret, which string you choose to play. So that’s the beauty of art. Here’s
clay, which again it’s an inert material. We just dig it out of the earth. We’re going
to take that has no form or no meaning, and now we’re going to do something with it
to make it into something that hopefully will be pleasant, maybe beautiful, maybe even shocking
and gory. It creates a human emotion in how we manipulate that clay.
Now, how can we do that with other creatures, other animals? Man is unique in that we can
create art. We can be creative. We can come up with ideas. We can create things. Then
we have language. We have pictures so we can pass on our experience and our knowledge to
others. Man somehow becomes timeless in his or our ability then to pass on information
to others. Isn’t that an incredible thought that we have that kind of potential? Why would
you want to rob a bank or hurt your neighbor or hurt your child when we have this potential
to be creative, to give the world something the world has never seen before or enjoyed
before? All of us are potential creative beings. And we make choices. We have a certain level
of freedom so we can choose to make contributions that help humanity or hurt.
It always amazes me there are so many people that have not caught that vision about their
potential. They’re born into the world, and what do they choose to do with it. Well,
when their life is over it’ll be over. If I write a great book my life will never be
over. If I create a great piece of sculpture it’ll go on. Even if the work itself is
destroyed perhaps having done it will inspire somebody else to do even greater works that
I’ve been capable of doing. So the potential of man to do good things, to help each other
through the arts is absolutely incredible.
And what are the arts? The arts communicate on a totally different level than language.
Words are symbols that were invented for communicating, really. If you say tree to someone each person
thinks of a tree, but probably a different tree. So words are symbols that mean things
but they are somewhat ambiguous. The first words we probably invented, humans invented
were what we would call nouns. They are subjects. You know, point to a thing and describe what
thing is. The next word is a verb which tells the kind of action associated with that symbol
or word. But art is very different. If you look at a piece of art it communicates instantly.
Something like this. It doesn’t matter what your nationality, your religion, your language,
your anything. Someone looking at this will immediately connect with it in a personal
way. So the arts are incredible for helping us really understand our own potential and
then to share our creative instincts with others. That’s a tremendous power and hopefully
we’ll discover that and learn to respect it. Not only in ourselves, the potential that
we have, but in others. We should revere it because we’re really here to help each other.
If we don’t or can’t that’s sad.
Okay, I’m hoping we’re seeing a little bit of this classic feel now here. Would you
mind turning a little more to your left? Just go to your left a little bit so we can see
your profile. Okay, a tiny bit more to the right. Okay, right about there. I’m not
sure this is coming to an exact replica of you at this point. It’s getting better.
It’s getting closer as I go. The more time that we put into it the more it freshens up.
But I want the viewer to see this, the power in that profile. I’m going to put this connection,
there is a muscle underneath here. Along with the platysma muscle that comes down, but just
look what that line does coming down and across this sternocleidomastoid. There is a blood
vessel that comes across that. I think that really changes the way this portrait looks
when you pull those shapes into it. I’ve got to get a little more hollow for the trapezius
muscle rolling around from the back. Oftentimes in this little hollow right here you’ll
see that line come down through that. The carotid artery comes up through this area
too. That somehow breathes a freshness of feeling of life into it, just amazing what
that little diagonal line does. So now I’ll pull it in a little bit with this texture
tool so it looks like some skin is stretching across it.
In that position that you’re in right now try rotating your head to the left and let’s
just see if we can see that, let me pull you around a little bit. Can you turn this way
just a little more, and then yeah, then do the same. See that line, it starts way up
there. Actually, this is the skin stretching out here to cover that muscle, so it’s pulling
this skin out of this fold between the skull and the sternocleidomastoid. And then below
that you’ll see this, well, there is another distinctive line that comes off the underside
of her jaw before it changes planes. So getting those shapes, okay, you can turn back if you
like. There is actually a little hollow that shows up on here sternocleidomastoid, and
it’s not so much of a hollow as it is the blood vessel and the platysma muscle pulling
back. Isn’t it amazing how that shape really works? So now if we blend it with texture,
again, texture is at a perpendicular line or perpendicular stroke to the long line.
This is the long line coming back so we’re going to go perpendicular to that to pull
the skin over it. It makes the skin stretch over that line. So it’ll blend everything
together, but it’ll still leave that expression there, which is what we’re really looking for.
Imagine the amount of time you can spend just exploring and discovering new things. The
more involved you get in this amount of minutia in detail. The more time it’ll take to get
a finished result, but the finished result should be that much better if you’re willing
to do that than if you just do it too quickly. Imagine how this experience right now will
help you block things in the future. You can do a quick study in maybe an hour or so, and
you can do something very credible, very beautiful, very elegant, and very powerful if you can
retain what you’ve learned and then apply it to your later works. So any time you invest
has the potential coming back to you many fold.
see your hair a little better. Some form of a barrette in back that’s tying that hair
together and actually hair coming out of the top of that, but swirls around. I think we’re
getting a better shape now front to back of the head, a nicer design. This triangular
shape that we’re picking up right here is really quite nice. Okay, turn a little bit
back to the right. Yeah, right about there. I need to pull myself out. There we go. That
works better. Notice this tool if I use this flat surface of the tool I can do some cutting.
So tools are great for cutting and putting in textures. See what that did? Just cutting
that in a leaving a little tuft of hair coming out there. Now, in using this texture, even
in the hair I’m going to pull texture at right angles to the long hair fibers, and
it’s amazing how it unifies the hair, pulls it together. Gives it shape. So we shape these
big clusters of hair. Give them form and meaning. Cross the long line. I don’t want to stand
in front of that. See if we can find these shapes. Then we can go across this occasionally
with just a little highlight, just a little stroke. A line that will describe the direction
of the flow of hair. So we don’t go in there with this little tool, and we don’t draw
these careful lines to make it look like a comb has passed through there and given hair
fiber importance, every little string of hair. We just once in a while add a little stroke
that gives it, that tells you that it’s hair. It’s easy to overdo.
This piece of hair, I think I want that to fold underneath just a little bit. The hair
as it waves it can roll underneath. So if you put lines or accents they are always on
the surface. It may not be quite as interesting. There are times when you may want to twist it.
I find that true of the entire head. Sometimes the muscles underneath, talking about the
masseter muscle coming down and twisting, that twist oftentimes makes a little piece
of the jowl or where this muscle connects to the jawbone just stick out a tiny bit.
Just because it’s making that twist underneath. That little suggestion
really makes character on the surface.
When you’re doing the full figure one of the muscles that you really want to watch,
and I remember watching Carl Malone play basketball in Utah. His arm muscles, his deltoid muscles
really showed the striation of the muscle on the heads. The deltoid has three heads,
one that comes from a scapula, and one that comes from a clavicle. Then one that ties
to the acromion process across the top of the scapula. So if you watch Carl Malone play
basketball, and you watched his great motions as he would dribble in and go up for a layup,
and you’d see the deltoid muscle, those three different
heads have muscle striations that would flex.
Looking at Carl Malone’s deltoid muscle when you’re just observing the way it moves,
and especially if they do a playback, and instant playback, and you watch the muscle.
It’s amazing to watch it because the muscle, each of these separate heads not only connects
to the humerus, but as it does so it twists before it connects, and you can see those
striations in the muscle twisting. So when I do a deltoid muscle I’m always trying
to get the head down and then twist it as it connects to the humerus bone. Same thing
here even in the head. This masseter muscle. You’ll notice fullness in her cheek right
there. Lower part that covers the jaw. There is a little bit of a fullness right in here,
and it’s from the way the muscle folds and twists as it connects. Then right in this
corner is another muscle called a triangularis that borders the masseter muscle. So what
I’m looking for is not just, I’m not looking at her surface, I’m looking at how those
muscles affect those shapes on the surface.
It’s a little bit of a way of explaining why everything looks the way it does on the
surface. That may seem a little too deep to cogitate in the very beginning, but just knowing
about it and hearing about it I think is helpful. So as you do sculpture and you do something,
it looks pretty good, and you want to learn how to do it better, when you find out the
reason why something happens I think it gives you a sense of elation, enjoyment, a thrill
because you’ve discovered something new. So the process of learning is what I enjoy
about this. You’re always learning something new about materials, about the way things
look to the eye. So there is always something there to add to your store of knowledge.
Then, of course, experiencing it is even better because then it becomes really firm in our mind and our in range
of habits. We’re trying to figure out why, I guess as a child you try to figure out how
does this doorknob work? Let’s see, if I twist it something good happens; the door
opens. Later understanding how it works makes it possible for you to invent another type
of doorknob. But when we learn to use it we go through a door. We don’t think about
it anymore. We just go up to a door and reach the doorknob. We give it a twist, and we go
in. We’re not thinking about what we’re doing.
In sculpture that’s what my hope is for myself as well as you if you intend to go
on experiencing this over and over as you’ve done it more and more it becomes an intuitive
response. It becomes automatic. Look at her nostril in this position and see how underneath
there is actually a little corner right there where the skin goes around the nostril. It
sticks out just a tiny, tiny bit there like the fold in drapery. We talked about drapery
when you make that Y shape it sticks out in the corner. That’s what’s happening right
here with the skin stretching around. Look at this angle up like that. The line that
goes up at about a 30-degree angle from this point. And then it changes its direction and
goes down about the same amount. On the bottom of that, hopefully in this position especially
you can see this flat plane right across here. So take your finger and just run it across
there trying not to destroy this little fold. Somehow that improves how the nostril looks.
In this bottom corner the nostril tucks in here, and then this little piece of skin rolls
around it so it’s a little roll of skin that folds around that.
Now we’re doing just her right side. We’ve got to now go do the same to the left so that
we get consistency, but we’re going to stick with side just because it’s developing well
and we want to show as much of the finish as we can during these few sessions.
Pulling the long lines, the texture across the long lines to stretch the skin. Then just touching
that to kind of blend it in. But we’re not polishing the surface. Now, this is important
to me because I’m thinking also not only of what I’m doing in clay, but I’m thinking
of the finished product. What do I want to cast this in? Since I live where I do and
there is not much native stone available I prefer to work in bronze. In fact, I had my
own foundry for many years. So I’m seeing this in bronze. So I have to imagine, okay,
I’m doing this. How is going to look in a more permanent material?
It would look elegant in marble, but I probably won’t carve it in marble. I have it carved
because we often, we send pieces like this, a finished piece to Italy and have it carved.
They have professional carvers who have, many whose families have been in the carving business
for 300, 400, or 500 years, so they’ve developed that skill of carving from the sculptor’s
model. And in any scale, by the way. You could have this done 3 feet high or 10 feet high
or whatever proportion you want because all you have to do is measure it. I could measure
it with just a normal ruler or tape and then multiply that times four to get the linear
dimension four times this. So I’m thinking of in bronze what is it going to look like.
The thing that bronze does, you can polish the surface if you’d like. But I like textures.
One of the things that I think again when people ask you what distinguishes my work,
I often get comments. Where do you come up with those interesting textures? How do you
do this? How do you do this? Oftentimes from other artists.
This is the way sculpture was taught in the mid 1800s in America and in Europe. But textures,
the skin has a texture to it, and the textures grab the patina and the patina holds on to
a texture. If you make it a smooth finish the patina, the chemistry that you put on
the surface does not really like to hold on very well. If it’s totally smooth. So you’ll
end up, you’ll have a very shiny finish, but you may not want the finish to be shiny.
I think it looks lifeless to a certain extent the shinier it is, so a little bit of texture
adds a spark of life to it.
I mentioned James Earle Fraser. I guess I can talk a little bit about texture, and I
really apologize for using the names of the artists when I make critical artists, because
I don’t like to do that, but I feel somewhat compelled to do it just so that you can learn
from that I’m illustrating. James Earle Fraser, when I first saw his work it reminded
me of my work. I didn’t know why but it was because Fairbanks had studied from James
Earle Fraser. But there was something I didn’t like overtime about Fairbanks’ work, and
it was the way he handled textures. His textures were quite heavy, so even on a finished face
his textures would be quite heavy. Especially on fabric, he’d have all these heavy textures.
Well, that’s a specific style and it’s okay to stylize, but this seemed to come up
quite often. He also stylized the bridge of the nose, making it like a Greek nose. He
stylized the position of the legs knowing in his teaching, he said, look at this the
way a figure is balanced. He would teach the principles but in his own work he seemed to
practice it a little differently. So some things about his work I loved a lot, other
things I didn’t like. One of the things that stood out that bothered me were his textures.
I felt they were a little bit too heavy.
Then I saw James Earle Fraser’s work, and I looked at his work and he had heavy textures,
but somehow it was more pleasing. I asked myself, what is it? What’s the difference
between Fraser’s work and Fairbanks’ work knowing that Fairbanks’ had learned about
textures from Fraser? And so I developed my own philosophy of textures, and what I felt.
And you have to realize I love music and I’ve been a musician, played a number of instruments,
but I started out on the drums as a young boy. I thought, okay, what is it about music
today I don’t like? I don’t like this heavy-handed drum beat that supersedes everything.
To me the drums in an orchestra are there to support the rest of the music, the melody
line, whatever it is. The drum is to add texture to the sound, to add a beat, to add something,
but it shouldn’t always dominate. I felt like that’s the difference in Fairbanks’
texture. His texture just dominates the whole piece. I feel like it ought to be there just
to amplify it, to complement the rest of the composition. So in my own work I try to add
textures that don’t stand out, but are quiet like the drum set in the background just supporting
the rest of the music. So to me that’s a great balance in texture.
So the skin textures on the face, the face looks quite smooth. It just has a texture
of a different character, a very light treatment. If I add, for example, a little more texture
right under this cheek that’ll pick up a little bit more patina when I finish the bronze
and put the chemistry on the surface. Sometimes even sand down the surface a little bit. At
least some of the highlights. So there will be a reflective surface right here. I picked
that up from looking at the way Michelangelo polished surfaces, and the best example that
I typically use is looking at the hand, the right hand of Michelangelo’s David and getting
a close view of it. If you can get a close-up view of that hand you’ll see the textures
that he put between the tendons that tie the fingers. It’s the tendons that are pulling
on the finger to make it extend. But the way he handled the texture, and you can see this.
You see these lines because I’m old enough. My skin is now starting to show more lines.
The lines indicate the stretch of the skin across these long lines. Then at the knuckles
you’ll notice it’s polished off. It looks white here.
But Michelangelo, his way of doing it was he would polish these surfaces. In those days
instead of an emery cloth they used pumice. Pumice is a very angular, gritty material.
If you use it to polish marble you can put a real shiny finish. But he didn’t finish
the whole thing smooth and shiny. No, he has textures in here. Then very carefully chooses
these parts that need to have a high polish. This part of the knuckle here, this part of
the tendon going over the knuckle, and the tip of this bone here, maybe this surface
would have a little more polish.
So look at what Michelangelo did to surfaces and you’ll begin to understand what it is
I attempt to do in my treatment. Even though his is marble, mine is going to be bronze.
But the same principles apply. See, just a little bit of texture there helps this have
a soft skin-like feel instead of a polished brassy look to it.
ear and then seeing the skin stretching up over the zygomatic structure. All of these
things, what that does is it makes this hollow coming up here, it resolves it clear up in
here. So I guess it helps to know what it is I’m looking at, although sometimes it’s
very hard to describe.
Once again, we’re looking at hair. But hair comes from somewhere so I’d like
to indicate where it grows out of the skull or the scalp. Not the skull, not the bone;
but the scalp. This piece starts maybe underneath here, passes underneath this nice flowing
piece of hair there. It passes under that and comes out over here. So it gives it a
little bit of a transparent look. So if you find where a line begins and follow it. It
adds a lot of interest to do that instead of these simple flat shape with a lot of lines
drawn in it. It begins to show you the form. It’s a little like water in a way. You know
how the waves come in and they wash against each other and create other waves. So there
is a lot of fluidity to the hair. Hair is nice in art because you can do anything with
it to create interest even in photographs. Oftentimes you’ve seen these photographs
today, at times shot where a woman may dip her hair into water and then flip her head,
and this big long trail of hair comes around with a spiral of water framing her head. It
just makes an interesting shape. It’s a great age we live in because we have inventions
that artists didn’t have years ago. We have the ability to take a movie pictures or videos
so we can capture things in action and really study them carefully. Slow the motion down,
repeat it. Rotate things so we can move around things, change the light. We can do a lot
of things that years ago, there were a lot of restrictions. We actually should be doing
better art than what was done during the Renaissance, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.
So in hair look for the flow, the fluidity of the hair. Look for the large masses, again,
texture lines across those forms with an occasional accent helps. It tempts me to move in front
of the camera occasionally just to get a sense of light because it changes as I rotate the
piece and falls into shadow here. I’ll try to stay clear as much as possible. Now the
hair coming up from in back, the hair grows out of her skin down here in the back of the
neck. There are going to be a lot of interesting things happen. We’ll have little tufts of
hair coming around like this. I keep removing them because I’m trying to keep preserving
this form underneath of the trapezius from the back, sternocleidomastoid from the front.
If I cover that with hair then I miss this flow of the fullness of that muscle. But,
let’s make it grow out here, and as it pulls up if we can make it a little bit tighter
here where it’s pulled up and around then it may affect the part that’s hanging around
the side. It wants to tuck in underneath this long hair. It’ll give it a lot of form and interest.
It almost looks like something is tied there, yet I’m just using the hair itself to create
a sense of tension. I always enjoy studying Michelangelo and the way he treated hair on
some of the figures, the female figures in the Sistine ceiling, the Cybils. He makes
the most elegant hairdos with braided hair and then sort of a crown made out of fabric
or something, and it just gives so much beauty to the hair. So the hair gives us an opportunity
to really create abstract forms and enjoy just the motion.
I haven’t figured out how to tie that in, but we’ll come
over the top here. Tie it in somehow and maybe put a barrette, which is really just like
a clamp on the hair to hold it in place. You notice I go from the hair right to touching
the nose up just because my eye is steadily moving around the piece looking at other parts.
As you put in a line or a form somewhere it affects other things around it, so I’m trying
to keep this relationship going between the front of the face—whatever I do back here
should complement what’s going on up there.
So what I’m doing on hair and on drapery, on anything else, it all ties together somehow.
So it’s as if every little stroke you make in creating something relates to everything else.
So if I’m working up here somehow it connects back here. I see this nice shape
coming here, a big triangular shape. The earlobe, we can do a little more with that. Very delicate,
but it’s squared off on the bottom a little bit. Some people’s earlobe just disappears
right into the lower cheek, the jaw. Others have a very large lobe. Very different shapes.
People from different parts of the world, different races, different cultures, different
ethnic groups. Sometimes there are certain characteristics that you can detect that are
somewhat universal. For example, if I did let’s say a dancer, someone from another
culture there would be certain characteristics that would become noticeable.
You know as time goes on the world is becoming more and more mixed because of transportation.
It’s easy for cultures to blend together, and so some of these characteristics become,
some parts of the characteristics become almost mutated and have a different look about them.
In many cases it’s really quite beautiful. For example, I’ve talked about my attraction
to the history of somebody like Frederick Douglass. I did his portrait a few years ago.
I realized that during his day Frederick Douglass’s father was white. His mother was black. So
he was of mixed race. So the characteristics in doing a portrait of him, you look for the
Caucasian characteristics and black characteristics, and you find a beautiful blend of both origins.
One that I did and I mentioned that in another lesson is what I call blending of the races,
which had characteristics of the Orientals. I really saw it in the Indians that came across
the land bridge, almost an Eskimo characteristic blended with the European because the person
I used as a model her father was Mexican. So there were European features there and
what we think of as the Aztec and Mayan cultures that later when they migrated north. The Navajo
and Hopi, this Native American look. So I did her portrait but I called it blending
of the races because I saw these three great areas of the world, the characteristics that
you typically find in the people there I think made for a profound statement about the mixing
of races and the blending of the races. Again, it was somewhat an idealized figure, but in
my mind it’s one of those things that turned out to be quite successful. A lot of what
we’re doing is experimental. You try something in art. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it just
doesn’t, but I think the more capable or the more professional you become over time
the more you’re able to predict and control the outcome.
Again, like music a lot of people will ask me do you have to, how do you do sculpture?
Do you have to wait until the mood strikes you? Do you work every day? How does this
work? If you compare it to a musician, well, when a musician is on stage they better have
the mood. They better be ready to perform. So that’s what professionalism is. When
you become a maestro or a master of something you can call upon the resources to bring it
forward when it shoulder be there. So you can do that. You can build enough confidence
in your work that you know whenever you’re asked to perform you’re going to be able
to perform with and do your best performance. So it isn’t a moody thing that you wait
until inspiration strikes before you can go about your work. If you did that then I think
you wouldn’t be too professional.
We all hear about writer’s block. I don’t know if there is such a thing as sculptor’s
block, but sculpture involves so many steps in the process to get the finished result
you don’t have a lot of time to wait around for the mood to strike. You just get in and
do the best you can and have as much fun each day as you can. Learn as much as you can as
you do it and hopefully find joy in that. I do have the neck a little bit thick. I’m
probably going to take some time not here right now to thing things down a little bit.
But I think we need a little bit more delicate neck here. We don’t want her to look like
an Amazon. We want her to look elegant and feminine, but iconic. Classic.
Just cutting that little bit out helped. Also, as I proceed I don’t always know what I
need to do or what I’ve got to do. I’m just willing to give it a try. Of course,
with the number of years of experience and with my knowledge I can sort of predict what
the outcome might be. But almost every stroke is a surprise. Art is oftentimes also made up
of a lot of happy accidents. Some things happen quite accidentally. I can throw a piece of
clay on here and something good comes of it. But I have to be able to recognize that when
it happens. So again, that comes with experience, knowledge, education, research, observation.
I’m going to tuck this hair right into this other tighter hair and see what happens here.
I’m going to have more tucked in, but at the same time a hair may have come loose so
I’ll have a hair trailing over the top of that. See what that looks like. It looks kind
of nice. It may not be where we end up with it, but for now it seems to be working. Try
just a little piece out here, hard to make a mold on that. When we get to the molding
part oftentimes if we have something that sticks out like this that we can’t pull
the mold away from that. We just cut it off and cast it separately and then add it later,
so I could actually have a string of hair coming down here somewhere, not worry about
it. However, it does help to understand the molding process. Most beginning artists have
no clue about how things are cast. You take it to the foundry and have them do it. I’ve
seen people who do western art, for example, cowboy art, do a horse and not understand
how the molding is going to take place. So I’ve actually seen artists do the saddle
separately so they can take the saddle and the man off separately to make a mold on that.
If you do that then you have a big parting line right around the saddle. Then if you
leave the saddle on and decide to cut away around the saddle to make it look like it’s
a separate piece. You know, the saddle is not a part of the horse. So the amateur would
think, well, I’ve got to show those separate, so they’ll cut a real deep groove. Well,
if you have a deep groove around the edge or something or a piece of drapery. If you
cut that way in deep, or you take a piece of clay and put it over like the cloth covering
over the figure and then have that deep undercut, well, that molding material has to run in
there. So you learn to simplify.
So here we’ve got a tuft of hair sticking out. It’s a little piece of hair sticking
out. But I’m not going to mold around it. I’m just going to slice that off and make
the mold separately.
fill things in, and the eye doesn’t even know that. It sees it if you model it correctly.
It’ll see it as a distinct separate entity, although it all flows together and is cast
together. So you don’t try to cut a deep groove under the saddle of a horse and under
the bridle of a horse and under the saddle blanket and under the saddle bags and under
the clothing. You just kind of blend it all together. Where you need to just put a little
accent that tells the eye, oh this is something separate. There is a space underneath this.
Knowing that really helps you plan your sculpture much better for the finished result, for the
casting, for making molds and in the process of casting it if you’re going to cast it in bronze.
I saw an interesting piece of sculpture once in a museum, and I was able to get up really
close and look at it. It was a marble carving done by Rodin. It was gorgeous, just a beautiful
figure with the drapery around it and everything. It looked like this figure was carved right
out in the foreground, and that all of the marble behind it was carved away. But in reality
the marble was still behind it. But what the carver had done and perhaps Rodin did that
himself, is he went behind around the figure, and he went just enough behind it that the
way your eye lined up you could not see that huge thick support structure. Your eye just
couldn’t perceive. If you touched it with your finger, the whole back was filled in
solid with marble. But to the eye, since your eye couldn’t see that, it saw it as being
standing in the round, three-dimensional, as if there was not support behind it at all.
So sometimes the eye deceives us, and we need to kind of figure out what’s going on when
we look at something.
There are lot of books that have been written on optical illusions. They’re a lot of fun.
We’ve all seen the staircase going up and down at the same time that’s never ending.
If you go up this one and it circles around and comes down. It changes its position. Those
things are optical illusions. When you’ve got a brain and you look at it you say, oh,
this makes no sense at all. So the eye can do tricky things, and as an artist I really
enjoy looking enjoy looking at optical illusions. In fact, one of the great periods in art,
some things about modern art I enjoy. Some things I don’t so much, but this sense of
discovery of things. Most of the most enjoyable periods was the period they called op-art.
I’ve done a lot of things with my eyes over the ears to trick the eyes to understand what
the eye sees. I can actually draw a three-dimensional picture. I can draw the right eye image and
then the left eye image. Then I have the ability to the parallax of my eyes so I can look at
the right eye image with the right eye and the left eye image with the left eye and see
a three-dimensional picture. Not many people can do that, but I’ve figured out a way
to train people to be able to do it. It was used often during the war when they were taking
aerial photos of areas I guess that they were planning to bomb or something in Europe. Because
the plane moves you take one picture then you take another picture. This is like moving,
the amount of the interocular space so now you put those two pictures—a lot of people
learned how to view three-dimensional images. So they’d look a photographs of terrain
shot from the same position but just a little offset.
You can see a three-dimensional image of the earth.
So understanding how the eye works, how it sees, what looks three dimensional, what doesn’t.
This is all very helpful in your art. A lot of two-dimensional art is just full of optical
illusions. You’re creating an illusion of space. You’re doing that using linear perspective.
You use aerial perspective, which is the diffusion of the atmosphere as you look at something.
The mountains in the far distance, for example, are sort of blurry and out of focus and very
faint, whereas things in the foreground are very distinct, and there is a lot of contrast.
Well, in sculpture we employ some of those same techniques to create the illusion of
space, or we use textures. We use other things to create certain illusion impressions. Just
the way we space things can create a sense of rhythm. So that’s a lot of what I do
with texture. I’m creating the impression that this is skin stretching.
These little folds that come into the eyes that are so personal and so expressive, especially
when we smile, that’s one of these impressions that we need to figure out, well, how do we
do that? How would we make this little tiny stretch? Now I see a tiny, tiny fold of skin
stretching from around the eye right to the eyelid. It changes planes right there. So
just trying to capture that suddenly, the eye looks a little different. Hopefully better.
Look at the structure around the eye right there. See a little bit of a structural element
right there, but it is so, so subtle. I see where the eyeball comes around. There is a
little indentation right there if I can find it and capture it.
Now, because I’m destroying the illusion I created of eyelashes I’ll have to go back
and redo that. So I’m constantly kind of destroying as I’m making things better.
I have to go back and repair. Ariel’s eyes are blue so this is a very shallow shape that
I’m making, kind of a concave shape for the iris. It’ll be shallow. If her eyes
were brown I would cut that much deeper to create a deeper, darker shadow with this highlight
up a little bit more.
Again, it’s an evolutionary process. This is all evolving. I can’t instruct you on
how to do this and how to do that, show you, and then have it be finished. I can only instruct
you on the process that I follow to try to get there. What it is I’m looking for. So
it’s more of a principled response rather than an exact how to do it answer to whatever
question you might have about how do you do this, how do you do that. Hopefully, it’ll
be a guide that’ll stay with you so your thought process will work like mine does when
I’m approaching this. So if your thought process has a reasonable amount of depth and
thought to do it rather than just wanting to know how do you do this, how do you do that.
I think with computers around today we get ourselves into a lot of trouble because we
want to know how do you do this and how do you do that. Well, only the programmers know
how you really do it. You’re working with a machine. So we learn techniques of how to
deal with it, but sometimes we need to take a more philosophical approach and say, well,
how do you—here’s the machine. Here are its limitations. How do we deal with that
in solving a specific problem. I keep coming back to these same things over
and over. So again, to give you an idea of what it takes to finally get down to the final
touches and refinements. Many people say how do you know when you’re finished? You’re
never finished, really. There is always more you can do. You finally reach a point when
you say that’s good. I don’t know what more I can do to really improve beyond that.
Of course, you could. You could spend months and years trying to refine it. Some of these
famous pieces, you know, we’re told that Leonardo da Vinci spent years working on Mona
Lisa. Well, he wasn’t working on her every day. But he set her aside. He watched her
in different kind of lighting conditions. He saw things happen. He tried drawings of
other things. One day he had to get up and say, oh, I see something.
If I change that it would get better.
Of course, he was learning how to divide the face into this golden mean principle the Greeks
had invented or discovered, whatever we want to call it, about what defines what’s beautiful.
The way he divided the Mona Lisa’s into triangles and handled the light and shadows
was quite incredible. So he made such a thorough study. Most people before him just—there
is an academic approach to this is how you do things, and did it that way. But he took
a new look at things to figure out why does it look this way. Why is a good question to ask.
Now, just a little bit ago we were talking about this beautiful line that comes from
under the jaw. The stretch of the muscles and this little piece of skin. And we’ve
lost a lot of that. See, it’s gone away, but still there is a hint of it there. So
it still looks good, but it’s not too pronounced. It’s a little more like it is on her naturally
so it’s still there, but it’s not dominating. The planes are becoming softer. I’m going
to widen—this is getting a little mundane because it has just kind of a parallel shape
to it. I think if I make it a little wider at the top, pull the hair in a little bit
it may be a little more interesting. It may not. It may be just what it needs to keep
it from looking boring, monotonous. That is something I am always struggling to try to
do with my work. I’ve got to get rid of anything that is mundane about it.
We’ll stick with side on further refinement and see what we can make of it. I’m going
to make this line for the trapezius. Also, a sense that the bust continues beyond this.
I’ll create an edge that has a little bit of interest to it. Just a piece of clay that
directs the attention. It looks like a spontaneous act. We’ll take this bone out, clavicle.
As long as I do something interesting with the way this ends and make it look like it
continues on, I’m not so worried about what I do on the other side because the mold will
only come down to this edge.
Can you pull your color on the right back just a tiny bit? Yeah. Flex your head a little
bit one way or the other. Yeah. I want to show the head of the sternocleidomastoid.
It breaks into two heads. One goes to the sternum, the other out to the clavicle. We
can just see a faint line here in the clavicle.
There are actually more pieces of muscle that do connect in there.
But I’ve got to get that feeling right there on the outside of that muscle as well as this
medial head that connects to the sternum. We need to look for that line right there.
Then a little bit of a hollow behind it. There is a muscle below it. There is another muscle
here that folds up underneath so we want to make sure we get that right. Now, see if you’re
just looking on that straight on the portrait you don’t see any of those things. But once
she turns her head a bit side to side those things really stand out.
So if you wouldn’t mind rotating your head again, and we’ll look. Go ahead back the
other way. Okay, see that? Yeah, a line popped out there. Then you see this muscle sticking
out just slightly and this platysma and blood vessel coming forward. Very important shapes.
In fact, let me just turn this the other way. Go ahead and relax. Look forward if you’d
like. We’ll show it from the other side. See, none of that stuff is here and it looks
very mundane compared to this side that is more developed now. It’s nice to see the
contrast so you can tell what you have done or what I have done to just block this in.
But as we talk about these little details, how much more it adds to the finished work.
Going to lift this corner of your mouth just a little bit so it looks like you’re not
grumbling. Corner of the mouth from the side instead of looking at it from the front. We’ll
see if I can get this right. Just a nice little fullness at the corner of the mouth, a little
hollow that comes up right there. It’s so subtle. The line you see that outlines the
lip, there is actually a little bit of a shelf here. When I did my blending of the races
this Indian girl had such a distinctive shelf on top of her upper lip that it was so distinctive.
I kept putting it in and thinking it’s too much, but it really was distinctive. That
taught me to look for it in other people. We all have that, where the lip rolls around
right here. It leave a little bit of a fullness right there, a little shelf.
Then notice how her upper lip, this edge that shows, the edge comes down and it actually
tucks in underneath this little fullness in the corner. Because it tucks in underneath
it makes it look like it’s rolling out from the inside like something has taken the skin
and just rolled it out. Michelangelo did some masks that were pretty severe, you know, we’re
used to seeing in the theater business the masks of drama. What do we call them?
Comedy/tragedy masks, yes. And he made a mask actually on the back of a piece of a portrait
of Bacchus. The wine god, I guess, with grapes and so forth. It was before he had really
studied anatomy extensively so you can see a huge difference between his Bacchus and
his David. So Michelangelo knew how to really exaggerate features. There is a mask on the
Bacchus that is really pretty extreme. But you see those lips that I’ve been describing.
If you want to see an example of those lips rolling out from the inside that’s the perfect example.
Now, from the front I’m seeing this line beautifully but not this one, so I’ve got
to go back in and restate that. So minor corrections, a life of mistakes carefully corrected.
Hopefully as we do this we see it maybe not grow instantly into something quite good, but it grows
gradually small steps at a time. It continues to get better and better. One of the things I haven’t,
if you wouldn’t mind facing this way a little bit more. That’s good.
One of the things I haven’t really concentrated on at all, I just put a gesture in here of
the feeling of the eyebrow itself. Of course, women are famous for changing the line of
the brow and some women don’t seem to realize it. But they oftentimes change the natural
look of the brow so much that it almost becomes a distraction or grotesque. If you look for
the natural line of the brow it’s usually quite elegant and beautiful. Here Ariel keeps
her eyebrows more natural looking by not overly retouching them or overly coloring them, so I can see
a nice line. It starts from the inside of this little fullness in the brow ridge.
We need to push this in a little bit right there. Create the feeling of that bony frame
that protects the eye. So that looks strong. It has an angle to it so that it comes down
toward the nose. It’s very soft on her so it’s not sticking out or projecting. This
hollow right above where this fullness hangs down to cover, it’s the eyelid. It’s part
of the eyelid, this occipital fold that we hear about. It comes down and tucks up underneath.
So if I can create the feeling that this skin has a roll in it right there. Then gradually
comes on an angle down. And the fullness it has, now notice as she opens and closes her
eye right out on the outside corner of the eye you’ll see a little bit of a fullness
to the fold as it folds around the corner of the eye. So that little bit of extra tissue
there helps describe the form better and how the
eyebrow and the little loose full convex shape
here surrounds the eye. And it stretches a little bit. It’s not saggy. It’s not really
fatty tissue. It’s a fold in the skin so it comes down. Right in the corner of the
eye you’ll see a little line that comes down for the eyelid to define the corner of the lid.
Then there is another little fold that comes out from the lid a little bit.
The lid tends to, where the eyelashes come, they tend to look like a sharp line there.
But again, we can soften that with just a couple of strokes in that underneath side
of the lid. It looks like eyelashes if we don’t overdo it. We can even add a tiny
bit of clay. See how small that piece of clay is. It’s just tiny, but your fingers can
feel that. You put that on and somehow it adds something that looks like just a shape.
We don’t have to draw it like hairs like eyelashes coming up like that. It’s just
a simple little shape. I like what we’ve done to lift the mouth just a wee bit. It’s
amazing how that changes the expression a bit.
What I like to do is I like to study those lines that on the lips, you know, your lips
get a little dry and they create these lines, these radiating lines that come out from the
center sometimes add a great deal of character. Try not to get in there and do them too fast
or make them too important because the shape of the mouth is much better. Notice this little
hollow shape that comes down here out of the corner from underneath the upper lip. It’s
a little concave shape where this edge of the lip comes out like this. You’ll almost
see—do you mind if I point closely to your lip. The edge of this comes around and kind
of makes a little bit of a fullness right there.
Very subtle thing but boy that sure helps define the terminal point of the lip.
Once you can conquer that and get it right
then you can do lips. But before that it’s really difficult to know how to end the lips
right in the corner of the mouth. Houdon, when he did it it looks like he took almost
a drill and drilled a hole in there to create that little hollow shape. It’s so elegant
and beautiful. You can’t believe it until you see it, but learning that from Houdon,
he realized that that’s something I’ve got to learn to see. Sometimes as an artist
we just don’t know how to see things, so we borrow ideas from others so that we will
learn how to see for ourselves. Just touching this clay, sometimes just the touch of it,
it wants to do something; we want to do something else. You have to touch it just right to create
the right feeling to what it is you’re trying to do.
So there we have the corner of the mouth. Little bit of a hollow right there. So subtle.
It’s the subtle things that really make great sculpture. It’s not the real big rugged
shapes. Those are fairly easy to do, but the subtle things are tough. Look to the hair
again. Let’s continue developing that a little bit. I put this here underneath this
long piece of hair. This is going to do the same thing, but it’s going to touch underneath
this other long fold of hair so it’ll have some interest. Use my big tool. Notice how
much of this—I’ve used this large tool. I’ve been very sparing with the use of this
smaller tool. I keep these shapes coordinated on a large scale. If I start using my small
tool too much then all of a sudden it gets very tight and picky looking, and it doesn’t
flow and tie together.
Right here, this is an interesting area because I’ve got now this big wave in her hair coming
down, but she is also tucked some hair behind her ear, so we’ll try bringing that out
in this direction and tucking it in behind that wave to see if that helps. I think it
does. In the process of finding, discovering things, destroying other things, oftentimes
you just have to try it. Take a good look and say does that look better or does it not
look as good because of that. Sometimes we have to back up a little and replace things.
But I think this little shape coming out, tucking up behind the ear is kind of a good
shape. So for now we’ll leave it in. And I want it to go back behind her ear so I’ve
got to cut it back a little bit. So that little piece of hair has personality all its own.
The side of the face, the hair actually grows out of the scalp along here. We’re going
to have some fine hair coming out here. Where a man has a sideburn a female also has a little
bit of hair there, but on Ariel it’s very thin and light. So we’ll suggest the thickness
of the hair with just some very slight lines. We want to make it look very fine. Let’s
give it a little shape first. There is a little piece of hair there, but let’s make this
a little finer. We can. It just kind of melts into the scalp there. It just melts away so
it almost becomes invisible instead of having just a harsh line to it. But that added something
just to put that hair right there, where before it was just her skull showing through there.
We’re looking for an impression. I see a piece of hair coming around here that extends
beyond this mass of hair so it comes down below here just a little bit. So let’s see
what happens when we put that in. If we wanted we could actually bring that single, I mean
it looks like a single strand, but there are probably 10 pieces of hair in there but it’s
very thin, very tiny. We can, if we want, bring it across the top of this one. Give
it a little variety. That’s very slight
Sometimes it’s very tough to do those things in a very convincing way. Just that little,
thin, sharp edge right there is very complementary. Adds a touch of elegance and refinement. Now
I may take that same piece of hair, bring it front of this lock right here. But we may
originate it behind somewhere back in here to give it more interest. So here is this
thin little shape and notice how I’m folding my fingers and just kind of squeezing this
little edge. It’s a very sharp edge, which is going to look almost like an individual
hair that has form. See to me that adds a little bit of interest. It starts, comes in
front of this lock here. I need to resolve it at the top cause I’m not thinking very
well about what’s happening up here. If I put too much detail in it then it’ll become
too busy. So what I may do is, again, take my texture tool, run it across perpendicular
to the long lines, put a little accent in there. But that little hair comes out of nothing.
It comes out of a larger mass of hair so we’re not following that line to its ultimate conclusion,
but just comes out of nothing, becomes important, and then disappears.
There is a fullness in the zygomatic structure that I want you to particularly notice right
here. You see this prominent place. You see a little bit of a hollow in between, but you
see that big shape right there. We want to get that shape because, again, that’s defining
the space between the, well, actually the shape of the zygomatic underneath, but the
shape of the muscles that then connect to the zygomatic. We can’t see through her
skin or we’d be able to see that. Some of the tools we have online will help you do
that because we have a head that some of you are able to see that draws the skin over the
top of the skeleton. That helps you understand some off the anatomical things that I’m
discussing. But imagine this if you can, there is a layer of skin over the top of the bone.
Always, I’m looking or the shape of the bone underneath that is influencing
the final shape on top.
See what I’ve done there. It’s very subtle, again, and I can kind of see it in this light.
I want that shape to be right. The shape has to pass under there so it starts here and
comes out here. So everything has to line up properly. I’m not going to tear her hair
off to redo that. I just want you to be aware of it and to learn to look for it. I think
I need to cut some of this way here under the mastoid process. You have muscle and then
you have ligaments and tendons. The way a muscle connects to the bone is just not the
muscle alone. It becomes a tendon, becomes harder at the end where it attaches to the
bone. Usually when you see where a muscle or a major muscle group attaches to bone the
bone actually grows out there. That’s really what causes this part of the angle to the
lower mandible. The masseter muscle is coming out here, and of course the glands and everything.
But the structure of the jaw gives meaning to the muscle and helps keep it in its proper
place. It forms a bony protuberance. So I’m always looking for those. The mastoid process
is a bony protuberance that it connects to. But the tendon then stretches off that like
a very tight rope and then breaks up into the fibers of the muscle.
So if you want to study the physiology and the anatomy, physiology and the biology that
goes with it as well. It really gives you a more thorough understanding of the reason
things are as they are. If you look closely enough at the structure of muscle cells, those
cells are long and they attach to each other. But they also tie together. Usually there
is a sheath that covers those groups. For example, around the heart you have what’s
called, it think it’s the pericardium, a sheath covers the heart. It sort of packages
the muscle of the heart to a nice, little neat package that things don’t easily penetrate
and go through the pericardium.
material that ties that wrist together. All of the tendons and the muscles are not just
popping around from one place to another. That sheath holds them very tightly. It’s
like a finger is wrapped around the wrist to hold that together. So knowing where those
are in the body helps to define some of these shapes too. The muscle is there. It’s on
the outside. There is still, there is almost a rubbery material. If you think of a sheet
of rubber over the surface of the body and even over the face that ties everything. It’s
as if you put a vacuum pump under it so that it sucks into the undercut. You can see the
muscles. You can see the bones that affect the surface. But you’re covering this.
I don’t know if you’ve seen some of these in dances. Dancers tend to do this. They discovered
some years ago that you can take a sheet, I guess it is like a rubber sheet. The dancer
gets behind it you can see the form of the body through this rubber sheet so you put
your face against it. Think of the skin as being kind of like that but then putting a
vacuum pump behind it and sucking that rubbery layer. The rubbery layer is going to be soft
and thick. It may be a quarter of an inch thick, covering all these things and just
sucking in around us. It has a nice, almost a smooth surface. But it follows this architectural
frame of the torso of the body of the limbs of all of these parts.
Remember, we’re getting closer to finished here. You might want to just stop some of
these frames and go back, especially this view, and measure the dimensions, the third,
third, and we’re a little short here, but I think her proportion from her nose up to
eyebrow is a little short. Then a third up to the hairline. Measure it from the front
as well. Remember to count five eye lengths across: one, two, three, four, five. This
side I may need to build the zygomatic structure up just a little bit more. It’s still not
quite where it needs to be. Make this temporal area a concave shape, not a convex shape.
It’s one shape meeting another shape. They are convex shapes. The corner of the eye.
Would you mind looking this direction for me? Thank you.
Now, I actually just saw as she looked this way a little fold right there.
And the fold kind of comes from underneath this other fold, the larger fold of the brow. Remember the
cartilage that covers the cornea of the eye so there needs to be a little bit flatter
plane right there in front. Oftentimes we can make something that looks just almost
a lens shape and just set it on top of the eye. That creates that shape. This fullness
coming down. Then this other little fullness that comes out from under that. Great shape
but it helps define the outer corner of the eyeball and how the skin is stretching to
go around that. When her eyes are more relaxed I see a definite line right here. I think
of the eye as being a number of folds. So if the eye is closed, just close your eyes
for a second. See what a great piece of sculpture you can do with that. But look at the fullness
right there coming across, the connection from this high point and where the temporal
ridge comes, stretches the skin across that bony part. It fills in more there. Open your
eyes. See how that folds up, and it makes a nice fullness right here? Are you doing
Alright, this other side where her part is in her hair we’ll want to treat a little
differently than this. It’s looking a little too similar right now. But I want to analyze
that a little more carefully and give it a certain amount of variety so one side doesn’t
look exactly like the other. We can do some interesting things there. This fullness that
I talked about in the lips you might want to watch for that fullness on the lower lip
right here where it folds up into this hollow spot of the upper lid. And that really gives
character to the lip and the right kind of feeling to it instead of just being this cupid’s
bow shape. It also helps make the lower lip feel like it’s rolling out from under the
upper lip. So look for that little bit of a fullness right there. Where the upper lip
comes down and has a fullness in the center it’s hard to see that from just a few feet
back. But as you look closely you’ll see that the part that comes down the middle is
a very, very thin—there’s a very thin fullness right in the center, leaving a little
tiny right there. It helps define the lip as being distinctly hers.
The more I can do to pull that lower lip out from under the upper lip, the more it has
that appearance. That’s what’s happening. It’s rolling out. See those radiating lines
coming out from the center? Look for those and see how you can use those as contour lines
to define the shape of that lip and the fullness right in there of the lip rolling out. The
endoderm meeting ectoderm. The inside skin of the inside of the mouth meeting the skin
that covers that face.
This is a very delicate part of the process because you just touch it and it’ll change
the expression. This is where a lot of tedium is involved in trying to further refine and
get the right kind of finish to it. We’ll refine the ear a little bit, find some of
these hollows, the auditory canal. Tilt your head a little to the left, please. Okay, there
is a fullness a little further in here where the auditory canal. So sometimes you use the
tool just to push things around. Push it and shape it where your finger won’t go in.
Your finger is really the best modeling tool when you reach something. Give it an expression.
Even there I just used my finger rather than a tool.
Just that little gesture like that makes it look better somehow. I don’t know what it
is about the hands that are so sensitive. I often describe working with the hands as
being comparable in sculpture or in art. What a mechanic does when you’re working on a
car. If you’re under the car and loosening the oil pan, you’ve got to socket wrench
and you’re loosening these bolts and getting them to come out. As soon as you can turn
that bolt with your fingers you tend to get rid of the wrench and reach your fingers in
there and turn it. It’s just sort of an intuitive thing that we do. We used our hands.
Our hands are perfect tools. So whenever we don’t need to use this tool to do what it’s
doing—now I’m using it for texture, but if I can get in and create an expression I
want to do it with the finger rather than the tool wherever I can.
So just because you spend a lot of money buying sculpture tools, don’t feel you have to
use them. In the beginning I use things like popsicle sticks. You don’t need much of
a tool to model sculpture. Oftentimes you need a sharp point, something to make a hole
like a pencil, and we could come in the corner of this mouth and actually model that if we
wanted to with the pencil to refine it and make it look perfect. Or inside the nostril
or in the corner of the eye. But we don’t use that that often, just to punctuate something.
I see a little plane back here where the trapezius comes down, and the trapezius again is quite
a bit thinner. I may have to get into my armature here and take a little bit of it away if it’s
interfering. I’m running into it right here. See that? So I may need to make her neck thinner.
I’ll come in later and adjust that so we don’t take up the modeling time right this
second with that. We’ll come back later and fix it. I can just leave it bare and still
work the sculpture around that, just imagining that it’s not even there. In fact, there
are times when—let’s say that you’re doing a horse and you’ve got a board like
this, and you’ve got a support structure in the center holding the frame or the armature
together. You want to put wire on the top of that. You may make the top of it a T-shape
so you can tie wire to it and make and armature that’s strong and reliable. So here is this
post sticking up in the middle of the sculpture. What do you do with that post? Well, nothing.
You don’t really have to do anything with it because it’s something that’s temporary.
It’s only to hold the clay in place. But when we make a mold we can build the mold
right around that support where it meets the horse and also where it meets the base, so
the mold incorporates that.
When we take the mold apart. If we want to we can actually clean that little round hole
up. We can pour molding material in it and complete the mold without any support system
because the mold doesn’t need that. I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense. We need
to be able to work around the armature in the molding process. The only reason I bring
it up is because sometimes we worry about little things like that don’t really matter.
We can cure it in the molding process. Now, there are times when doing a horse, let’s
say a horse running and in a delicate position, maybe only two legs down, you’ll want the
bronze actually to end up looking that. But, because you don’t want to have a post sticking
up in it—it may be a distraction to you—if you can create a strong enough armature and
determine where that leg is going to be beforehand you can build the armature entirely inside
the sculpture and hide it so somebody looking at the clay would never know how you built
your armature. I’ve done that a number of times. It’s not terrible difficult. It can
be done. Typically, when I’m trying to create a piece of art I’m not worried about that.
I’m used to the casting process so I can work around that when I get to the molding
I have a bit of advantage over many others who just do sculpture without the background
that I have. I studied sculpture for four years, going on five years before I did anything