Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Animal Painting & Anatomy" - A Forgotten Gem

     A good friend of mine, and a fantastic sculptor, Jason Scull gifted me with a wonderful little book titled Animal Painting and Anatomy by W. Frank Calderon.  Mr. Calderon credits himself as being the Founder and Principal of the School of Animal Painting (1894-1918), as well being a sometime lecturer on Animal Painting at The British Royal Academy.
     No single anatomy book carefully covers foundational drawing, painting and animal anatomy as does Calderon’s book.
     Mr. Calderon, like any master teacher lines us all at the same starting point:  charcoal in hand, with measuring tools and seeing how they relate to drawing.  The quality of drawings in this book are simply amazing.  My personal favorite is a working sketch for a painting of the Irish Wolfhound “Gelert” killing a mature wolf.
     Mr. Calderon’s succinct and accurate drawing style offers all artists, from beginners to pro, an insight into the importance of the working sketch and how it relates to finished painted works.
     So many young artists find themselves dazed and confused when confronted with composition and its subjective nature.  Mr. Calderon gives us large amounts of insight on this matter.
     Part 2 of the book is strictly anatomy of the ox, horse, dog and sheep.  However, Calderon throws in some interesting asides, including anatomy of the African Lion.
     You may be thinking that this book doesn’t pertain to your subject matter, but I beg to differ.  I have on many occasions found the anatomy references priceless.  If you’re a landscape painter, the occasional bovine is always present, but never idle.  This book has great drawing references. 
     If you enjoy painting dogs, I know of no other books except for William Secord’s books of historical paintings of the breeds that will serve you so well.  For you painters of the horse, Calderon picks up where Rien Poortvliets book of Horses touches, but doesn’t fully delve into.
     Amazon is a good place to start nailing down this book for your collection.  The bad news is a new copy will set you back $75.  The good news is they have several used copies and they’re in the $10 range.  Don’t tarry!  They will start disappearing quickly.
      This is a fantastic little book that will serve you well.  You will not be disappointed!

All content © Mark Kohler Studio.

1 comment:

  1. It is a wonderful book! Picked up a copy after i went to Jim Norton's workshop a couple of years ago.