I rediscovered yet again this week just how much I love being a student! I took a wonderful class in horse anatomy taught by Matt Buckner at the Gage Academy and it was such a luxurious treat—although my poor brain has been quite stretched! With only eight students, there was lots of personal attention—particularly to this 3-D challenged artist when it came to our clay modeling on the beautiful ecrochés that he made for us.
Blackboard drawing by Matt Buckner
These were plaster relief type molds of the complete side of the horse with skeletal structure and some muscle insertion points indicated. So, after learning about the muscles in the morning, we actually constructed them in the afternoon — it forces (in a good way) you to really understand what is happening within the structure, and pay attention to your notes!
Having taken my first and only anatomy class four years ago, it was often like a struggle with higher math for me, but it really was exciting. Exciting enough that I continued doing a little work each night even with another deadline looming at the end of the week (it’s been a hard week!). Interestingly, the class was divided down the middle between horse people and anatomy people — I had one on either side to check questions out with. And Matt’s enthusiasm and excitement with the form and movement of this animal really underlay and animated the entire week. He was a very patient teacher as well—I’d highly recommend him to any of you thinking of taking any kind of anatomy or sculpture course.
Some excellent book recommendations for animal anatomy:
Also, of course, the Ellenberger book remains a top favorite, especially when combined with the Goldfinger book.
An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists by W. Ellenberger
Animal Anatomy by Elliot Goldfinger Oxford Press 2004
The Horse in Action illustrated by Michael Lynn
And meanwhile, this is what I came home to work on each night in addition to struggling to remember bones and muscles in my very crowded brain!