Monday, March 14, 2011

Motion (physics), any movement or change in position or place

Before we move onto more complex and time consuming armatures I though we should look at what we can do with the basic armature.  Most of us will never need to use another more difficult armature than the basic armature we covered in past blogs.
Lets take a look then at how we can use that  armature and still get some interesting results.
All of these design concepts come back to adding movement to our work in order to bring the piece to life for our viewers.

IDEA ONE:  Contrapposto is an Italian term used to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs. This gives the figure a more dynamic pose and makes the viewer want to follow the spiral of the body to look around the piece. In this way you engage the viewer and encourage them to study the flow of the piece more closely. "Madonna of the Fields"
In this case the weight of the figure is shifted to one foot, the torso has a slight twist to it which is exaggerated by the flow of the clothing. The hips and shoulders are slightly twisted out of alignment with each other and the head is turned as if she is looking away. The general flow of the piece is a spiral which (I hope) makes the viewer want to follow the curve around the figure.The result is a relaxed, natural pose. In this way, we can add movement to a figure even if it is standing perfectly still.

IDEA TWO: Tension (physics), a force related to the stretching of an object (the opposite of compression)
This concept is exaggerated in the following example:
"Reaching for a Dream" uses the same principle of contrapposto but creates more drama and movement by adding tension to the form. Notice how the body twists in the fore-mentioned spiral by the slight shift of the shoulders and hips out of alignment with each other but adds the arch to the back and the off-centered stretching of the body. Again, this is a simple standing figure but adding contrapposto and tension to the form give us movement.

IDEA THREE: Push the figure off balance. Even a static figure like this one of "Sweeney" can be made more interesting by pushing him off balance. In this case the figure leans forward while his razor holding hand is pulled back as if he is getting ready to swing his arm in a forward arc.You will notice the contrapposto of the body and the outstretched arm adds tension.

These same ideas can be applied to kneeling figures.

And ultimately applied to the most complex figure groupings.
I hope you find this information helpful or at least thought provoking.
Have a great day!


  1. I just love your work, the bottom one with Dorothy is one of my favorite pieces of work along with the Flying to Never Land... oh, and i LOVe the Alice in Wonderland holding down the book... your recent ones on your face book page also... Your work is just incredible.

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge in this blog.


  2. You are such a giving artist and person Mark. Thanks for sharing your talents with the world. Consider this a love letter :-) Love your work and all that you stand for as an artist and person.

  3. Thank you again from me. Your book is the first book I bought when I started sculpting in polymer clay a year ago. I use it often and I am an avid follower of this blog.

    I have a question though. How does the balance work on a figure like the Wizard of Oz? Wouldn't Dorothy and the Flying Monkey Cause stress on the scarecrow and make it want to topple over?

  4. Mark - thx once again for some excellent thought-provoking insight! Absolutely LOVE the Wizard of Oz sculpt!


  5. I wonder about the same thing as lootahooty as far as the balance. I would think it would topple over, too. It's amazing how the piece stands like this. Mark, you're definitely the master of balance as well!

  6. I have learned so much from you and I still can't find the words to thank you enough. I want to go back and study all of the sculptures I have seen in my ample lifetime and look at them with new eyes...YOUR eyes! Thank you again!

  7. Fantastic and useful as always!