Sunday, July 29, 2012

Planes of the Head

In the Portrait in Clay class at the Woodstock School of Art we are exploring the most basic of all concepts when studying the structure of the skull and tha tis ..... The Planes of the Head!
Here are a few examples of skull to planes and conversely life head to planes.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Isonomia and the Gravitational Vector

.... In terms of artistic anatomy, understanding where the muscles originate and insert on the bone and how these muscles exert their influence on surface anatomy, is important for communicating how the veiwer "reads" the drawing. The nervous system is constantly firing off electrical impulses to the muscles to initiate flexion, as a way to counteract gravitational forces exerted down through the physical body.These forces are expressed as vectors which are channeled down through the skeleton to the earth's core or more specifically through whatever surface the body is resting on. In every movement there is a coordinated series of muscle flexion, all utilizing to various degrees the three types of levers, mechanisms of physics which describe how soft tissue can exert force across bone to achieve movement.To initiate movement through an invisible gravitational field means that the physical body,( or brain more accurately) has to coordinate how multiple muscles and groups of muscles must inititate flexion at precisely the right moment to achieve the desired movement. Very much like how retro rockets on a space craft  initiate movement along a path with the precise directional pulses of rockets.

"From the time a child leaves its mother's arms and begins to stand and walk alone, there is a force with which it, in common with the rest of mankind, is always contending; this force is gravity. We are battling with this force from morning till night, yielding to it partially as opportunity offers to assume a sitting position, and finally yielding to it completely, as we do each night when we sink to rest in a horizontal position. But this force not only acts upon the body as a whole throughout the day, but upon each individual part of the body. Thus the head tends to drop forward, the shoulders to round over and droop forward, the back to curve, the chest to become flattened and compressed, the knees to bend, the arch of the foot to break down, etc. This is nature's attempt to seek an equilibrium . . . and the only way that this downward tendency can be overcome is by the constant exertion of muscular force." l Sargent, 122, 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jean-Antoine Houdon's Ecorche .

The revered icon of artistic anatomy, Jean-Antoine Houdon's Ecorche .

Asaro Planes of the Head

Brilliant and troubled master of the figure, John Asaro created this planes of the head more than 30 years ago, and as such it's become an icon of artistic anatomy alongside it predesessor, Jean-Antoine Houdon's Ecorche .

Monday, July 23, 2012

Planes of the Head

After not a small bit of research it has become apparent that there is not a lot of good planes of the head reference, and surprisingly, some references that you would think would have great material are frankly dreadful- The Hogarth Dynamic Anatomy series are terribly inaccurate and overly stylized, the Famous Artists Course planes of the head offerings are meager and poorly drawn, Joseph Sheppard's classic anatomy books are totally lacking in the planes of the head, and nothing at all from Richer. What little I could locate appears solidly in  Bridgeman and Loomis. Here's a complilation of the two:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Plein Aire class at Dockside Cold Spring on the Hudson

Hey All- getting a little carried away with videos tonight.. Here's a vid of today's class at Dockside at Cold Spring on the Hudson.

Artistic Anatomy and the Portrait in Clay at the Woodstock School of Art

No really this time is for real. I perfected the last little teaser vid and used the entire War track Low Rider.
Spliced in footage from last week's Portrait in Clay class along with some cool vid of frank, Carol, and Pat drawing with the long stick.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Artistic Anatomy_Ray

Here's a 10minute demo of Ray posing with staff. The aim is to get the feeling of Ray leaning on the staff, not just the contour silhouette or "poster" of the image that the beaux art technique relies on. In order to achieve this feeling of leaning in three-dimensional space the artist needs to acquire the experience of Isonomia- a feeling of how the gravitational vectors are channeled through Ray's body.This can be enabled by an exaggeration of the Rhythm or Gesture- in this case the arabesque or "S" curve.Another excellent strategy for cultivating Isonomia is plotting the feet and staff points, i.e., connecting those points that channel the vector forces on or through the model stand.In this case they form a triangle whose acuteness is a result of where eye level is- in this case about chest or nipple height.
For more artistic anatomy drawings click here:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Comparative Anatomy-Brachium

Here we have a demo drawing of the dog brachium used as a background for actual human, dog, and horse  skeletal front limbs.This illustrates the shoulder mechanism - the scapula, humerus, ulna, and radius , and more accurately, the evolution of the radius.In the full  pronating radius in the human, where the upper limb has lost it's prime function of  translocation we compare this with the dog  where the radius exhibits  a semi fixed position, more suitable to the survival imperative of running.Finally we observe the horses's radius-ulnar anatomy, where the translocation function has finally perfected itself in the actual fusion of the ulna with the now massive and immobile radius.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Woodstock Artistic Anatomy Class

This is where we build or Ecorches, model the portrait in clay, and draw the model in the artistic anatomy class at the Woodstock School of Art.

Canine Brachium

Dogs have disconnected shoulder bones (lacking the collar bone of the human skeleton) that allow a greater stride length for running and leaping.Consequently this specialization shrinks the biceps, as the scapula lacks the bony coracoid process onto which it can anchor. The supraspinatus muscle enlarges, filling out over half of the scapula surface. The deltoid muscles shrink as they lack the bony ridge of the clavicle from which to emerge, and the triceps take on a more important role in translocation. Most interesting is how the radius has pronated and then locked itself in, although it hasn't fused like a horses radius and ulna .

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Plein-Aire Class New Hamburg July 2012

This morning's class was held at the New Hamburg Marina- a small 19th century hamlet of buildings on the Hudson which is nestled at the mouth of Wappingers Creek.

Shoulder Girdle

The Shoulder girdle is in essence a pelvis that has evolved to allow for the brachia apparatus, i,e,. mechanical specialization of the humerus and shoulder that facilitates the the needs of  the pronated hand and opposable thumb. Freed from it's primary purpose of translocation and isonomic channeling (dispersion of gravitational force) which defines the structure of the pelvis , the Sacrum ,Ilium and Ischia have now separated and the scapula takes shape- becoming the Ischia and Ilium of the shoulder. These free floating "pelvic halves"allow for a greater range of movement than a fixed pelvis could ever allow..Clearly it is evident that he pubic bone of the pelvis is analogous to the clavicle of the shoulder girdle. With a bit of imagination it can also be observed that the Coracoid Process of the Scapula is analogous to the Pubic Bone of the Pelvis.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Harry Carmean

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few gems done by the acclaimed west coast painter, teacher, and  master of the figure- Harry Carmean.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Biceps Brachii

This week in the Ecorche class we covered the Biceps Brachii and the adjacent musculature of the scapula...the Brachialis, the Coracobrachialis, the Pectoralis Minor , and the superior aspect of the Serratus Anterior- all assisting in the movement of the scapula and the upper arm.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Plein-Aire Hyde Park Marina July 2012

We had a plein-aire class today...Sunday mornings everyone!... at the Hyde Park Marina, just north of Marist College. For most sunny day morning scenes the emphasis is on the great Morning Sky Progression...i.e., the two overlapping progressions of the horizon to zenith of the vault and the strengthening morning sun vortex that emanates from the East.