Simplified Anatomy

through self examination

When I teach simplified anatomy I encourage my blindfolded students to visualize their own skeletons as they dance to Tchaikovsky’s "Dance of Flowers". They feel their seventh vertebra, their ribcage and their sternum. As I ask them to bend and turn they are imagining their joints interacting together. They visualize their hip joints and by touching their own body, understand what happens to their pelvis while they dance.

Examining the difference between their thumb and their fingers for ten minutes with their eyes covered teaches them more about the anatomy of the human hand than a hundred hours of drawing hands from a model. Feeling the play of their mastoid sternum muscles as they move their heads from side to side will forever prevent them from making human necks in the shape of bottle necks.

People new to sculpture love my method and experienced sculptors are amazed. I find that leading them through a thorough examination of their skulls and faces is most effective for artists since they realize that there are places, for instance behind the ears, which are completely unknown to them. With blindfolds removed and using polyform clay, they mold a small skull and a hand, similar to the ones shown here.