Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sketching in Museums

There have already been a couple of posts in this blog about sketching in museums. You can find those posts here and here. The sketches featured in this post were made at the Edge of the Cedars Museum in the Four Corners region of the Colorado Plateau. Edge of the Cedars has a huge collection of ancient Anasazi pottery, artifacts, and other displays. The first sketch I did from their collection is shown above. If I remember right, the pot was around 12" or 14" across. The intricate pattern was a dark gray on very pale gray clay. It may look as though it might have been tedious to draw, but I found the pattern mesmerizing, and wanted to record it in my sketchbook. And - I had to draw it. For me, a photograph would not do. The image at the bottom of the sketchbook page (shown above) is the beginnings of a sketch of a bone-handled stone knife in the museum's collection. It's unfinished because the museum's closing time caught up with me.

The more recent sketch shown below is of a small gray pot in the same museum. I was intrigued by the pot's irregular shape and mysterious quality, in contrast to it's simplicity. Was it made to be hung over a fire outside of a pueblo? Or was it carried on long trips to special cliff faces where mysterious rock art can still be found?

Sketching in museums can be very useful and enjoyable. It sharpens drawing skills, offers glimpses into the thoughts and attitudes of artists from other times and places, and - for a little while - steeps you in the art-world-at-large. If you plan visiting a museum for sketching, be sure to check with them ahead of time. Many museums have policies regarding sketching. There may be restrictions on when you can sketch, sketching mediums, sketch size, and what may or may not be copied. Carry out your own trash and be sure to leave the place clean. Don't block the way for other museum goers. In fact, for me much of the fun of sketching in museums is talking with museum visitors and staff who seem fascinated with what I'm doing. Above all - DON'T TOUCH THE EXHIBITS! I never have, but I've heard a few horror stories about people who have.

On another note, this is the last week for you to VOTE for Peoples Choice Award in Terra Nova's Plein Air Provo exhibit. Polls are open now until Noon this Friday (Oct. 26th). You can vote by going to Terra Nova's blog:

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