Friday, March 07, 2014

March Sketchout

The Urban Sketchers March Sketch-out was at the Royal Alberta Museum. The day was awfully cold (-29C on March 1st? Really Mother Nature? REALLY?) and I wasn't sure whether I was going to go, but in the end I did and I was glad that I went.  I expected the museum to be empty, but the cheap admission and cold weather lured quite a few families out.  So much so that the cafeteria kitchen was actually closed at one when our group tried to get lunch there!  I had to settle for a slightly stale cinnamon bun.  Some 20 minutes later some of the other girls were able to get salads and sandwiches but the grill was so far behind that it had to stay closed.

Still, it was a fun time.  Next time I will bring Neil, who had been hoping to come along but found himself feeling sick all weekend.

The museum has an extensive collection of animals (mostly stuffed, obviously, except for the bugs which skitter around in all their multilegged glory), which are fun to draw. Mostly I try to draw animals from life, which is challenging because they are almost always moving.  Last year I became interested in bird watching, so I had a great time seeing their bird collection and trying to identify some of the birds I had seen but not confirmed.

For the first half hour I actually found myself trapped in the crafts area with a group of children who were doing a bird-colouring workshop.  I had been lured in by the owl and snow bunting, neither of which I've seen in the wild, and they closed the door on me!  The kids have a much shorter attention span than I do, though, and they were done with their birds long before I was done with mine.

Afterwards I wandered over to the First Nations Exhibit, which has some interesting tools and clothing.  I wish I had had more time to spend there, but by that point the museum was getting quite busy.  We'll be going back soon, though, and I'm hoping to have a chance to look closer at the areas I ended up rushing through.

This jingle dress is from the early 1990s.  It reminds me of my school days, when we would occasionally have native dancers at the school assemblies.

After lunch I took another turn through the nature dioramas, which I had also rushed through at the beginning.  The part that I like the best is that the paintings behind the dioramas all come from real places around Alberta.  It makes me want to fly out to Fort Smith and hike the Slave Rapids Trail.  There's a lot of stuff up north that I would love to see, with a little bit of camping know-how and a lot of bug spray.

Anyway, I had to draw a mountain goat for Neil:

We've only seen mountain goats once in real life, driving somewhere along the Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Banff.  We got really lucky that time because they were right by the side of the road, there was a herd of them, and they had kids with them.  And then... nothing.  You can always see bighorn sheep, but good luck seeing a goat.

Fun fact: mountain goats are not actually closely related to true goats.  They have their own genus within the goat-antelope family.

I also sketched some mule deer.

Bonus sketche: a few days later I was hanging around the house and wanted to draw some still life.  This is a pair of salt and pepper shakers Neil's parents gave us for Christmas.  They are very silly!  Also, rather challenging to sketch.
Hopefully I can get a few more journal sketches done this month.  I am also copying from Bridgman, which takes up a good deal of time (about one seventh of the way through!) and working on a series of children's illustrations.  So far March has been decently productive and I'd like to keep it that way!

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