| 10 March, 2016 21:59
Dan Thompson, The Planar Head, Modeling The Nose in Clay
by Michela Mansuino
Level Three student
One of the most beautiful drawings of the nose, and something many artists aspire to, is that of Stephen Rogers Peck, from his "Atlas of Human Anatomy." After modeling this in clay and drawing it from life, I think about the nose in a very different way. I see it structurally in my mind's eye and see it organically in front of me. And, it's all thanks to our instructor, Dan Thompson.
To help us, Dan started with a giant nose. This has a straight mast in the center, representing the columella.
To this structure, then, two strips of clay are added, representing the wings of the nostrils - the alar. Dan uses toothpicks to hold it all in place.
Two more strips are added, representing the alar cartilage.
Four small cones are added, filling the negative spaces in between these strips.
Dan demonstrates the attachments one more time on his planar head. He starts by adding clay around the base of the nose like this:
He works the clay into place, making a platform on which the nose will be built.
On top of this shaped platform, Dan adds a slab of clay, a triangular wedge, which represents the "mast" of the nose, or the columella.
To the mast, then, Dan adds the two strips of clay that represent the wings of the nostrils.
Emanating from the tear duct, traveling down the length of the nose and tucking under the wings, are the two strips representing the alar cartilage. Notice how these strips start by twisting and then meet at the tip of the nose before they dive under the wings.
The negative spaces are then filled with four small cones.
This what my own planar head looked like when I attached the slab representing the mast of the nose.
When I added the strips representing the wings and the alar or wing, I had attached them too low. See here how Dan corrected my attachment on the right, making the wing much higher in relation to the tip of the nose, where the alar meets in front and creates the "ball" of the nose.
I also started to attach the "sling of the muzzle. This is a thin strip of clay going on either side of the face, starting at the tear duct and wrapping around and under the jaw, making "the canopy of the jaw."
Thanks to Dan Thompson, I know I see the nose much better now.
| 10 March, 2016 21:54
by Michela Mansuino
Level Three student
The most underrated form on the head and one that gets far too little attention in most portraits is the human ear. It could be thought of as a door - with a beach ball holding it open. The concha (inner ear) being an immense, concave ball. In surer terms, the ear could be thought of as a rotated, extended panel on the lateral plane of the head.
We started our adventure into the modeling the human ear by rolling out two slabs of clay into rectangles approximately the size of what the nose should be. The slab should be a little thick, something you can remove clay from.
We lined the panels on our sculptures and attached them, lining them up with the cheekbone staple we had modeled the week before. We compared it to our skull.
Once the panels were in place, we scooped out a bit in the center, like a giant sink, and gave it depth, then we added clay to the back. Here Dan demonstrates the depth of the "sink" in a giant ear.
In the back we added clay.
For the helix, we rolled out a big coil and kept it thick, but the coil also had a flat part. The coil then went around and dove into the concha, just as the Lincoln Tunnel dives into Manhattan.
Here I have the "doors" on my planar head in place and with the "sink" pushed in.
Here I have the coil of the helix in place and diving into the concha.
A diagram of how the shapes should be thought of conceptually.
The concept abstract.
The giant ear Dan built to demonstrate the concept.
Sculpting the forms from observation and focusing on depth. Here is Dan's planar head with the ear in place.
Notice how the tragus and antitragus are twin forms. The tragus is a form that could be thought of as two twisting cones according to Dan.
Here you can see the twisting cones of the tragus in an anatomy book.
From now on I will expect to see more refined ear and cheekbone shapes in the portraits I paint.
Nelson Shanks painted beautiful ears in his many portraits, like this one, which is extremely revealing for the subject. (Detail of the portrait of Pope Paul the II, by Nelson Shanks)
Look out for my next blog on the Planar Head on "The Nose"
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Calendar Of Posts
- The Planar Nose, With Dan Thompson
- The Planar Ear, With Dan Thompson
- The Planar Head With Dan Thompson
- Level One Still Life Lessons at Studio Incamminati
- Composing "Arches" and repainting for another layer of color and details.
- How I teach...
- What's in my studio today.
- In my Studio Today - " The San Gimignano Sweep"
- Threading "The San Gimignano Sweep"
- The San Gimignano Sweep after I painted the bands of value changes in the sky