Wednesday, 29 May 2013

#430 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Birds' feet have very different shapes and sizes, a reflection of the many ways which birds make their living.
Most birds have only four toes, and the toes show many adaptations to the bird's way of life . . .
such as swimming, climbing, grasping, wading, walking, perching, etc.

Below, are drawings depicting eight different types of birds' feet.

Depicted below is the foot of a bird of prey.  It is equipped with long talons
and are so adapted to grasping prey that the birds have trouble walking.

Below, is another view (see previous post) of Artful Angler, showing the distinctive shape of the pelican's foot.
The sculptor who understands that each individual species has unique shapes and characteristics is able to create work that expresses distinct gesture, pose, and personality.
The goal of the artist is to leave the world of specimens and create art.
Although every shape is important, the bird's feet have the potential to
express more individuality than perhaps any other element.

Below is a recent sculpture entitled After the Hunt - Pheasant Still Life.  
Note the placement of the birds foot . . . note the sentiment and effect realized by the simple gesture.

After the Hunt - Pheasant Stiff Life
29"H 19"W 4"D

All sculpture - copyright Sandy Scott

Sunday, 26 May 2013

#429 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Wings, body, bill, beak, feet, and a myriad of other shapes are assembled
after the sculptor researches, observes, and understands how nature,
the master designer, intended the bird to fly, feed, and function.

These shapes also reflect the way the creature lives on earth;
how they feed and how they fit into their surroundings.

Some birds have all-purpose beaks and feed on many foods while others specialize in just one type of food.
The beak or bill is fully adapted and shaped to do this vital task.

The shape of a bird's beak or bill reflects it's way of life and reveals different ways that birds gather food.
Each individual bird must be researched and it's unique characteristics must be understood.

Below are two images of a large fountain entitled Artful Angler.
When installed, water emerges from the mouth of the fish.
Pelicans have a pouch on the lower mandible which becomes a "scoop" for obtaining their supply of fish.
A bird's beak or bill is shaped by the world it inhabits.

Artful Angler
76"H 42"W 45"D

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

#428 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Below is a clarified drawing of a hawk with folded wings.  
Feather groups such as coverts impart definite shape, form, and thickness to the bird.
Feather groups are critical information to understand because they shape the contour of the bird . . .
Feathers modify the skeletal configuration considerably.
Every bird has the same groupings, from the tiny songbird to the largest hawk.

Below are two recent works.
Solitude depicts a quiet pose with closed wings . . .
notice how the stiff primaries separate the dove's tail feathers.
Reflection and Resolve shows various feather groupings around the head.

10"H 10"W 8"D

Reflection and Resolve
7"H 8"W 6"D

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott

Sunday, 19 May 2013

#427 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Understanding the bird's anatomy takes the mystery out of drawing and modeling.  
The skeleton influences the surface appearance even though the bird is covered with feathers.
Identifying the bird's wrist establishes a point of reference . . . a landmark or waypoint . . . 
a unit of measure to determine wing shapes and proportions.  

All birds fall into a semblance of four basic wing shapes - see post 423, May 5, 2013.  
Identifying the wrist helps the artist establish proportion and pose.   
No waypoint is more important than the bird's wrist when modeling the folded or partially folded wing.  
By locating this boney waypoint, the sculptor can easily determine where the secondaries and primaries originate.  

Harbinger of Light
15"H 20"W 16"D

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

#426 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

A bird's feathers grow in sets and groups and the bird artist must know how both body groupings 
and flight feathers are arranged.  Feathers grow in tracks, in orderly rows, and overlap like shingles on a roof.  
Plumage patterns are organized in a similar manner across all species.

If there is a conflict between sculpting what you see - or think you see - as in a photo, video, or in the field . . . 
rely on what you know.  The goal of a sculptor is to UNDERSTAND what they are looking at.  
A sculptor must sculpt what they KNOW, while a painter paints what they see.

Above, are clarified drawings of a bird's most basic and simple forms.  
The sculptor should omit the unimportant and block in the essentials.
Major shapes, planes, and correct proportions, should be established first.

Below, is a recent sculpture of a Peregrine Falcon modeled life-sized.
My goal was to cause the viewer to feel speed and the beauty of flight by eliminating detail.
One does not see detail when animals are in motion.
A Peregrine reaches speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when hunting. 

Falcon Heart Humming
20"H 20"W 16"D

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott

Sunday, 12 May 2013

#425 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

At right is a drawing of 3 of a bird's 10 primary flight feathers . . . the artist must know that each of the 10 individual primaries is shaped differently.  The outermost primaries - numbers 1  2 are narrower at the tips, thus creating "slots" necessary for flight maneuverability.  The primaries closest to the secondaries are shaped more like the secondary feathers.   

At right is a cross-section drawing of a wing:  Both an airplane and a bird can change the angle in which the shape moves through the air.  This adjustment is called the wing's angle of attack. . . see post # 424.  When an airplane comes in for a landing, the nose comes up allowing the shape and resistance of the fuselage to slow the airplane.  When the landing gear is lowered, creating more drag, it slows the airplane as it descends.  The pilot continues pulling the nose up, or increasing the angle of the wing's attack, until the wing stalls or stops flying, placing the machine on terra firma.  A bird is analogous to an airplane . . . it drops the backend of it's body, splays the tail feathers, and drops the legs to create drag,  thus permitting the flaring and stalling of the wings which results in a landing!

Why is this information important to the bird artist?  Understanding wing shapes, attitude, 
and aerodynamics will open the door to breathing life into the artist's work.  the artist must 
realize that it is the superb shape of the bird's wing that causes the wonder of flight.

Below is an original, hand-tinted etching of mallards pitching in for a landing . . .
tail feathers flared, body angled, "gear" down, and wings angled high . . .
the ducks are slowing down to alight on a pond.

7 1/4 x 8 1/4

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

#424 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

How many times have you sat in an airplane and marveled at the mystery of a ponderous machine taking you aloft? What could possibly make this enormous device fly?  The answer is a complex series of events, but if one word had to be used to describe why an airplane flies, that word would be SHAPE.  The SHAPE of the airplane's wing, like the SHAPE of the bird's wing when moved through the air, causes lift.

Drawing number 1 at right; note the leading edge of a wing's SHAPE is blunt and thick, which causes the moving wing to part the air more effectively.  The back or trailing edge of the wing thins dramatically to speed the wing through the air.

The SHAPE of the upper surface of the wing is more rounded and air moving over the top has more surface and distance to cover which creates low pressure.

The SHAPE of the underside of the wing is slightly concave and air has less distance to travel, therefore moving slower and causing high pressure.

Lift is produced as the high pressure on the under surface of the wing attempts to occupy the low pressure on the upper surface.

Drawing number 2 at right; if the wing is held at too high an angle of attack, the air cannot smoothly flow over the wing's surface.  An interruption or "burble" forms at the trailing edge of the wing, which causes loss of lift and the wing  stalls.

Airplanes and birds take off into or facing the wind because it expedites the air that must move over the wing surface to create lift.  They land into the wind as well because at slower landing speed, air must continue to move over the wing's surface.
The scientific term for the above is Bernoulli's Principle.

 Why is all of this important to the bird sculptor.
In two words: pose and gesture.
Principles of flight and the SHAPES involved are the same for airplanes as they are for birds.

Below is a sculpture entitled Hay Bay.
Knowledge of the wing and aerodynamics create the illusion of descending flight.

Hay Bay
19"H 25"W 14"D

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott

Sunday, 5 May 2013

#423 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

Wing shapes vary among birds, reflecting the adaptations they have made to different environments.  There are four basic wing shapes, and all birds fall into a semblance of one of the four configurations.  The size and shape of the wings give clues to how the bird lives:

   1.  Long, wide wings are used by soaring birds such as hawks, eagles, and
        ravens.  A wing is considered long when it exceeds the length of the
        bird's body.
   2.  Narrow and pointed wings are used by fast flying birds such as swallows,
        swifts, and many migratory birds such as ducks and geese.
   3.  Long and narrow wings are used by gliding birds such as albatrosses,
        gulls, terns, fulmars, and shearwaters.
   4.  Wide and rounded wings are used for short, fast, and quick-escape flight
        birds such as grouse, pheasants, pigeons, and owls.

The wings of birds do not all have the same shape and size, but all fall into one of the four basic categories.  The shape and size of the wings determines what style of flying a bird executes.  Wing shape is one of the primary ways to identify different species.

Below are illustrations of four different wings.  Each fall into one of the four wing shape categories.

Below is a drawing of a Canada Goose . . . the large bird is migratory and falls into the
basic wing shape of number 2.  However, the wing is also wide and can be considered
to fall into a slight semblance of wing shape number 1, even though it cannot soar. 

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

#422 In the studio: Bird anatomy, con't . . .

Please start this bird anatomy series with post #403, March 10.

A bird's wing feather sets are basic and every bird has the same groupings. 
Once the basics are understood, the artist can adapt them to any species.

Below is a drawing comparing the underside of the wing with the top of the wing.
  Birds have a set of feathers in the armpit region on the underside of the wing called the axillars. 
This group of fan shaped feathers help close the gap between inboard wing feathers and the body during flight.  

Note the various sets of coverts and structured underwing feather lining.

Why is knowledge regarding the wing and the feather groups important to the bird artist?
There is nothing random in nature, and the bird artist should know the feather groups
so well that the wing can be modeled at will from understanding and memory.

Below . . . Note the axillar group in the armpit region.

Mallard Rising
15"H 26"W 16"D

All sculpture and drawings - copyright Sandy Scott