Learning from Nature

anatomy sculpture Nov 20, 2020


  •  The three fundamental points when we're talking about learning about the nature of the subject.

  • How we can really discover the natural behaviors and the natural lifestyle of our subject.

  • Utilizing observation to understand the horse in his true nature 

  • Rendering the horse in art utilizing the three points 

  • How to bring these elements together to tell a story and make the study of anatomy meaningful in everyday life. 



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So today we're talking about the nature of your subject, and there's really three fundamental points when we're talking about learning about the nature of the subject. First of all, that's discovering the subject, understanding where it lives, how it interacts with other creatures of its own, kind of its different kinds, how it has had affected history, how it's affected humans or how humans have affected it. So there's lots and lots of areas where we can really discover the natural behaviors and the natural lifestyle of our subject. Then we would also be able to study the nature of this subject in how it responds to its environment, how it responds to those who are interacting with it, such as, for example, a horse in training. So, you know, you would be observing the animal under certain circumstances and facial expressions, muscle changes, reactions, responses. These are all clues to understanding the nature of the subject in question. The animal you wish to sculpt. Then we have really three ways that we would study the subject. And I mentioned one of them already, which would be observation and observation is extremely important because it's where we come to understand the nature of the animal. In truth, without our emotions, without our preconceived ideas, then we would study it through the various ways of rendering it in art.


One is drawing it, which is very helpful. You can draw it from life as you observe. Another is creating a maquette, which is a miniature sculpture. So it's an easy, quick way to put the the subject into clay, into a 3D model and play around with it and really begin to render what you're observing from life into the clay. And then of course, ultimately the final piece. So you would, once you've done your drawing, practice your composition or the nature of your piece in the maquette, then we would move to the final piece.


And that would be the third in the final form of studying the nature of the animal. And why do I say that? Because the final piece doesn't mean you are going to stick to one idea that you have in your mind. The sculpting process is a process of making adjustments. It's a process of make a self evaluation and it's a process of learning. So it's not where we go from A to B, where we go from A to B, A to B, back and forth, back and forth, until we have made the adjustments that are needed to render truthfully what our subject is and who it is and how it responds and lives in this world. Then after we have done those studies, we would also want to understand the nature of the subject in a way that is perhaps a little less literal. Right. Maybe a little bit more spiritual in a sense. And the reason I say that is because now we have the understanding of the physical structures and the natural emotional structures. We bring all of that together. Then we can begin to tell a story about the subject in question.


And we by bringing all these elements together and focusing in on on a particular group of things that you have identified that are truthful to your subject, you then can create this beautiful story within your artwork and that can speak volumes to your audience.


And now how does this apply to studying anatomy in clay? Because perhaps you're not interested in. Creating a beautiful piece of artwork, but creating an accurate piece of artwork. Well, all of this comes into play because if you are a horse person, you are interacting with horses on a daily basis and you are dialing in and and really learning about the horse in a different way, not not in the way where you're telling the horse what to do or ask him to do something for you or, you know, doing something to the horse. It's a different way of observing and interacting with the animal that allows the horse to just be just be natural and really internalizing.


That helps the relationship that we can have with our horses, helps with the care that we would provide our horses on a daily basis. And it just brings us to a deeper understanding of this non-verbal animal that is just so profound when we take the time to really understand them in a way that is a little bit more connected than just training or riding or, you know, asking the horse to do something for you or doing something to the horse. So it's a deeper way to connect with the animal because you have a deeper understanding of the structures, how the horse interacts naturally in nature and among its herd members, among people, and heightens your awareness of the animal's needs as well, because we're quieting ourselves, taking that time to really identify how the animal interacts and how the animal behaves. So it's very, very useful in a lot of ways and for a lot of different types of people.


So if you're a veterinarian, an equine massage therapist, a rider and a caretaker, whatever you do with the horses, this type of systematic observation and note taking and application in the artistic manner deepens that connection because not a lot of people will dive.


That deep into the understanding of the animal. It Just brings you to a heightened level of understanding of the animal, which doesn't have the ability to speak to us.


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