Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sketching at the Museum of Life and Science - Durham

I did a quick visit to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC recently, and did several sketches. These will also appeared on our Durham blog "Top of the Triangle." Most of the Tangelo family contributes, including Moomin Light.

This lion skull captured my interest immediately with all the curves and positive/negative spaces overlapped. This exhibit has a crank on it that makes the lion skull (and several others, including a human skull) go through the motions of chewing. The twisting, side-to-side grinding motion is captured well on the horse, for instance. The lion just opens and closes the alrmingly large mouth with the disturbingly large teeth.

These pen sketches are at opposite ends of the timeframe spectrum, with the lion skull holding still so I could take my time (about 20 minutes) while the red ruffed lemurs (below) were twitchy (like most lemurs when they're not asleep) and I was lucky if I got 20 seconds for each pose.

These lemurs are my favorite kind, with their long sensitive looking faces, the red fur, and the long dark tails like feather boas.

Near the museum, along an exercise trail, is a "brontosaurus," the last remaining evidence of the museum's old dinosaur trail. You can date the dinosaur exhibit from the fact that the brontosaurus was later found to be a mistake - a combination of bones from several dinosaurs. I grew up with brontosaurus in my dinosaur books, but my kids grew up knowing about the error. This particular, huge, sculpture was badly damaged by vandals years ago and was going to be removed, but the community rose up and ran find raisers (we have some t-shirts as evidence of our support) to restore and keep the "bronto." It features in the banner I created for our Top of the Triangle blog (link above), and is part of our image of Durham, so we were elated that it was preserved. And they didn't overdo the restoration - it still looks old and weathered. Doing this watercolor sketch made me lose track of the time, and led to my being late for the life drawing session that week.


Kay said...

wonderful sketches..

Unknown said...


susan said...

I especially like the lemur drawings. They look real enough to pat - something I've always wanted to do but can't.

Anonymous said...

My Susan, being both a cat and an osteophile, is going to love your lion's skull when I show it to her!