Wednesday, 25 February 2015

#612 In the studio: Cat reference




The role of reference is to inspire thoughts and give anatomical data and proportions.  I recently completed the sculpture of a Cougar shown at right which I posted on the previous blog.

Each individual animal has different shapes and characteristics that are unique to that species.  My goal is to recognize and capture that individuality and this post compares
the anatomy and proportions of large cats.  



While I've only seen a Cougar in the wild twice and both times in Wyoming from a distance, I recently
spent many hours researching the animal in my library and reference room which is attached to the studio.
Research puts me in the "zone" artistically and when I'm there I accumulate everything I can such as
drawings, photos, notes. books, video, clip file,  taxidermy, skulls . . . anything that that makes me
live, think, see, feel, dream, and understand the animal I'm working on. 

While cats such as Cheetah, Leopard, and Lion have similar anatomy, their proportions, skeleton, and behavior are very different.  For more info and anatomical and skeletal data and comparison . . . see blog #479 posted Nov. 17, 2013 thru #483.  Also refer to blog #496 posted Jan. 15, 2014.  Comparative anatomy is an important research consideration.

www.Blog#479     www.Blog # 496

Shown below, are drawings comparing the anatomy of a
Cheetah, Leopard, and Lion to a Cougar.
Note the long femur of the Cougar which pushes the rear pelvic area upward and the curved, supple spine.
The powerful thighs are capable of springing the animal forward to fantastic distances.



 Cougar skeleton

I am fascinated by the motion, movement, and stealth-like behavior of North America's Cougar.
Cougars are slender, agile, secretive, solitary and considered nocturnal predators . . .
They typically hunt by stalking and ambushing and must feed exclusively on meat to survive.

They are very athletic and can jump, climb, and swim. The Cougar (Felix concolor) holds the Guinness record
for the animal with the highest number of names. It has over 40 names in English alone!  Among them:
Cougar, Mountain Lion, Puma, Panther, Jaguar, Catamount, and the list goes on!

The beautiful Cougar can weigh as much as 300 pounds and can be nine feet long including
the tail which like most cats, is used for balance.  Like all cats, the Cougar's bones are joined together very loosely
which allows extreme flexibility of the spine and scapula.  The scapula is so loosely bound to the ribs that they can push up above the spine when the animal crouches.  Cats, in general, are so supple and flexible that their
front limbs (arms) are capable of almost as many motions as our own.  There are five fingers on either hand though the thumb is smaller and higher up than the others, but on the foot, there is no dewclaw and only four toes.

Below, is the Cougar's skeletal silhouette compared to a house cat.



Much can be learned about large cats by observing your house cat.  Below, is a sculpture entitled "Preening Cat".
 Note the flexible vertebrae of the cat's back . . .  most quadrupeds, including dogs, are more
rigidly constructed and do not have the extreme flexibility of the spine.



Cats have supple and flexible bodies and move with stealth and agility.  Below, are extraordinary examples of cat sculptures by famous artists of the past.  Note the flexible spring-like spine in all works.  The first example is
"Tiger Devouring an Antelope" by Antoine Louis Barye (1796 - 1875).



Below, is "Crouching Tiger"  by Rembrandt Bugatti (1884 -1916).




Below, is an image of  "Reaching Jaguar"  by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876 -1973) which is in our collection.




Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish



Sunday, 22 February 2015

#611 In the studio: "Stealth"



I am fascinated by the motion of all cats including Africa's big cats such as the Cheetah, Leopard, and Lion - see blogs #479 through # 483, posted Nov. 17, 2013 until Dec. 1.  I  have several sculptures of the subjects in progress which will be introduced at an upcoming show in August of this year.

http://Blog 479 - 483

Shown at right is Trish with our cat, Ziggy.  Much can be learned about big cats and cats in the wild such as Cougars by observing the locomotion of a house cat.


Recently, the North American Mountain Lion - also called the Cougar - has captured my imagination and
 I have created a new sculpture entitled "Stealth".   In America, Mountain Lion has become the most common name used,
but the proper name used by scientists is Puma . . . (Felis concolor).  There is actually an all black Puma
sometimes seen in Florida.  Below, are two views of the new work. . . "Stealth".





Below, are images of "Stealth" with the first coat of rubber mold material applied including a picture looking down on the sculpture. The rubber presents a sleek and smooth appearance of the clay model, reducing it to an abstract impression lacking modeling detail.  Viewing the sculpture in this manner is akin to a painter "squinting down" on their work!







Animals and animal groups are special unto themselves and each have their own variation of anatomy in motion. 
 Next Wednesday's blog will explore a more in-depth look at cats and how nature designed the beautiful creature.




Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

#610 In the studio and in the foundry: Flexible molds, con't . . .


The focus of this blog is two-fold:  1. Creating a plaster mother-mold after five coats of rubber
                                                           mold material have been applied to the clay model of the sculpture. 
                                                       2.  Pouring liquid wax into the finished mold at the foundry   
                                                            thus creating a wax replica of the clay model. 

To review the initial steps for making a flexible rubber mold, see the previous post then
 go to blog # 572, posted October 8, 2014 and Blog #574, posted October 15, 2014.

Blog #572                      Blog #574


Shown below, five coats of rubber have been applied to the clay model of "First Season Promise"
 and have cured.  Before hot, liquid wax can be poured into the mold,
the two sides of the rubber mold must be encased in a plaster "mother-mold" to give support to the flexible rubber.



Below, is an image of Trish making the first side of the rigid plaster mother-mold for "First Season Promise" in the studio.  



Shown below, Trish has covered the other side of the mold with plaster.



Shown below, the plaster has cured overnight and the two sides are opened.



Shown below, the flexible rubber mold is peeled away, exposing the artist's clay model of the sculpture.



Below, are images taken at the foundry of a technician pouring hot, liquid wax into the mold.



After the liquid wax is poured into the mold, the wax is sloshed and the excess is poured out.




After the wax has cooled, the two sides of the mold are then separated revealing the wax copy. 
the flexible rubber is peeled away and an exact wax replica of the artist's sculpture is removed.  
The technician carefully pulls the flexible rubber from deep undercuts and refrains from tearing the rubber mold.







The flexible rubber mold is now ready for another wax to be poured in order to produce another bronze casting.
The wax replica of the clay model will be used to initiate and expedite the lost-wax bronze casting process at the foundry.



Below, is view #2 of "First Season Promise" cast in bronze.

First Season Promise
11"H 15"W 9"D

The next steps which involve casting the sculpture in bronze at the foundry will be discussed in a future blog.



Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish


Sunday, 15 February 2015

#609 In the studio: Flexible molds



A flexible mold is the term commonly used for a rubber mold and is the type of mold used by most sculptors today.  

For an in-depth discussion about flexible molds, please go to blog #572,
posted October 8, 2014 and blog #574, posted October 15, 2014.
Blog #572              Blog #574


Flexible molds have a varied longevity or "shelf life" which refers to how long the completed mold will last in years.  
Note: Some sculptors refer to shelf life as "library life" or time in storage.  My molds have been made in the studio by 
Trish for over 25 years and during that time, while using Black-Tuffy, Smooth-on, and other products, we've experienced numerous mold failures or loss of mold usage due to the rubber liquifying and turning to an unusable goo.   
Keep in mind, the possible short shelf life of these products is printed on their labels and after losing
some of our older molds before the edition was cast, we've changed to a newer, more stable product. 




Inexplicably, we have 20 year old molds made from Smooth-on that are still good while some have failed after less than 4 years of use!  Most of the old ones, however have failed.  For the past six years, we've been using a product called Polytek
(see blogs #572 and #574) and so far, have experienced no mold failures.





The sculpture shown below, entitled Takers of the Anasazi Sun was introduced and sold at
 Prix de West in 1994 and another one was cast and consigned to Knox Gallery in Colorado.
The sculpture is listed in the book about my work - Spirit of the Wild Things - The Art of Sandy Scott -
as an edition of 35 but only two were cast before the Smooth-on mold failed after less than 3 years.
The clay model of the work does not exist nor is there a wax replica of the piece in existence.

http://Spirit of the Wild Things




While works such as the sculpture show above will never be cast again, another older work has been given new life.
In 1999, I created a sculpture entitled, Promising Pup.  After only a few castings, the mold failed but a wax replica
of the clay model was retained before the mold had to be discarded.  Last summer, I totally remodeled and
reworked the wax and Trish molded it into a similar but new sculpture entitled, First Season Promise.

Shown below, is First Season Promise in clay and Trish starting the mold.
More about flexible molds in next Wednesday's blog.





Shown below is view #1 of the new bronze, First Season Promise which will be introduced at two upcoming shows:
The Briscoe Museums's Night of the Artists on March 28, 2015 and
The Cheryl Newby Gallery's The Power of Three show which opens April 25, 2015.

More about both shows in upcoming blogs.

http://Night of the Artists

http://Cheryl Newby Gallery.com



First Season Promise
11"H 15"W 9"D



Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

#608 In the foundry: Patina, con't . . .



Please see the previous post and for a more in-depth discussion about patina application and 
patina recipes, go to blog #391, posted Feb.13, 2013 through blog #401, posted March 3, 2013.

Blog #391     . . .    click on this link, then click newer posts.

The color of a bronze sculpture is called a patina and the artist's color choice can
 greatly enhance the overall emotional effect and presence of the work.


Below, are two totally different patinas used on a recent head study of an owl which demonstrates the power of color:
The cool cupric nitrate blue-green used on the first image suggests the nocturnal nature of the species while 
the warm ferric nitrate chemical used on the second image implies the bird's natural color. . .
 each one delivers a different sentiment yet the sculpture is the same!





Shown below, is the owl head sculpture being heated with a propane torch in the foundry.
The patina technician then applies ferric nitrate to the hot surface.  The more heat and chemical that is applied, 
the darker and richer the color. . . from a pale yellow to a rich orange-brown to a very dark blackish-brown.
Note:  The darks in the negatives are achieved by first applying liver of sulfur, then scrubbing the surface
with a Scotch-brite pad . . . the highlighted positives are then heated and ferric is applied.




Below, is a photo taken last year at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, and the clay study
 of a Great-horned Owl which was modeled while teaching a bird sculpture workshop in the museum's aviary.
Note:  Brookgreen Gardens boasts the largest and most important collection of American sculpture in existence.
http://www.brookgreen.org






Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish


Sunday, 8 February 2015

#607 In the foundry: Patina


The color of a bronze sculpture is called a patina.  Color has a profound effect on the sculpture's final appearance
and the impression it makes on the viewer.  The patina color choice can enhance or detract from the emotional effect
 and overall presence of the artist's work.  Typically, patinas are applied in the foundry with various chemicals.

Below, are images of three recent fragment works showing two different patinas on each design.
 For a more in-depth discussion about patinas and patina application and recipes, please go to
blog #391, posted Feb. 13, 2013 through blog #401, posted March 3, 2013.

Blog #391     . . .    click on this link, then click newer posts.



The first photo depicts "Setter II" with a greenish "old-world" cupric nitrate patina.
Bronze is over 95% copper and cupric imparts a time-honored look . . . similar to an old copper penny.



The photo below is of "Setter II" with a ferric nitrate patina . . . similar to a new copper penny.



The image below is of "Setter IV" with a cupric nitrate patina.



The image below is of "Setter IV" with a ferric nitrate patina.



The image below is of "Setter II" with a cupric nitrate patina.



The image below is of "Setter II" with a ferric nitrate patina.




Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish



Wednesday, 4 February 2015

#606 In the foundry: "The Taker"



Below, are photos taken in the foundry depicting the application of the patina to The Taker.   


 The first photo shows the patina technician polishing the bronze.




Next, liver of sulfur is applied which darkens the bronze sculpture.




The bronze is then heated with a propane torch and cupric nitrate is sizzled on.






The sculpture now has a cool blueish-green color and is allowed to cool down.
When cool,  the stainless steel ball is ready to be welded in, the weld heat marks are then touched up with liver of sulfur.
Wax is applied, and I sign and number the back of each casting with an engraver.









Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish



Sunday, 1 February 2015

#605 Museum shows: The Autry Masters, con't . . .





The Autry Museum's 2015 Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale is in its eighteenth year and last night's gala saw brisk sales. 
Collectors from across America  attended the prestigious weekend
event in Los Angeles.  Please see the previous
blog for more information about the Masters.

http://theautry.org/masters

The show will run through March 8th.

Below, are images and memories of another wonderful,
weekend with collectors,  patrons, donors, fellow artists,
museum staff,  and gallery, media, and art publication folks.




Below, Saturday's chuckwagon  lunch and awards ceremony . . . the barbecue brisket is always great!



Below, are two of my favorite people . . . good friends John Geraghty and fellow sculptor,
Richard Greeves.  John is the beloved Special Advisor to the Masters and this year,
Richard sculpted his portrait which was presented on Friday night at the artists and patrons dinner.



Below, are friends and fellow artists, Jim Wilcox and Tucker Smith . . . two of America's finest painters.
The marine paintings shown are by Christopher Blossom.



Below, after lunch on Saturday,  curator Amy Scott (far right)  moderated  a discussion with art collectors
and gallery owners.  Panelists: Brad Richardson (The Legacy Gallery), John Geraghty,
Maryvonne Leshe (Trailside Galleries), and collectors Bob McCloy and Ross McKnight.



Below, the Howard Terpning painting, "The Patrol - 1877" sold at the Friday night auction for $1,300,000.



Below, I'm standing by my raven sculpture entitled "The Taker".  Former governor of Oklahoma,
Frank Keating and his wife Kathy are looking at art behind me.  Artist Morgan Weistling at right.



Shown below, is the wildly popular miniature wall . . . last night every intent to purchase box was stuffed.




Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.


Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish