It seems that ‘back in the day’ there was a local TV show call “La Brou.” As much I can assess, it was a low-budget show about a group of guys who met at a bar and talked. There was swearing involved 🙂 There’s an exhibit about it at our museum but it’s not very sketch-a-genic.
But, in the museum cafe there are some support materials and it seemed like a great idea to add a cup of tea to a comfortable place to sit and sketch. It proved to be a very enjoyable sketching session.
Saturday was the last day of the “Curiosities Exhibition” at our civilisation museum. It could have been one of the best for sketchers but the decision to put everything in the dark, unfortunately, made it one of the worst. I’m both happy and sad to see it go because there were so many things worth sketching, but trying to see what you were sketching was such a frustration.
It seemed appropriate for me to do my last sketch there of the Dodo bird, a bird that was made extinct back in the 1600s. Humans brought rats to their home island and then started turning their jungle-like habitats into pasture land by the logging of ebony. As we’ve allowed 30% of our bird population to be eliminated from the Earth in the last 50 years, we should reflect on the Dodo and so I do here.
For sketchers in Quebec City, the beginning of winter is marked with our migration from outdoors to the museums. We’re now at the museum, a place that doesn’t seem able to pay its electric bill. At least it seems that way as they decided a year or so ago to start “lighting” their exhibits with lots of dark.
Currently there are two exhibits in our Museum of Civilisation that are dark, one being a really nice exhibit on poisonous animals and plants, at least the parts of it you can actually see are nice. There are some things where even putting your nose to the case glass isn’t sufficient to see the details of the object on display. It’s said that museum clients spend mere seconds looking at any object. Maybe this is how the museum is trying to slow them down. I don’t think it’s working.
I decided to draw this porcupine fish. I took the photo from a position that provided some backlighting of the fish so you could actually see it…almost. While drawing it I had to make several forays up close to find out where the fins were. Unlike many porcupine fish, this one didn’t have a lot of spines. There were some short ones on his belly but otherwise his skin was smooth. One thing was certain, however, I had to draw this sketch in a somewhat comical fashion. This guy just deserved that treatment.
Quick biological fact of the day: Porcupine fish (aka blowfish) are popular with suishi eaters with a death wish because blowfish contain a very toxic compound called tetrodotoxin. This stuff is 1000 times more toxic than cyanide. I’ve seen references to how poisonous the spines of a blowfish are but that’s not true. The toxin is in the internal organs, specifically the liver and gut. I think I’ll stick with salads myself.
“And so it begins…” has become a repeated phrase in modern parlance. Some attribute it to Lord of the Rings and King Theodon commenting on the beginning of the war for Middle Earth. The most popular meme seems to be references to Star Wars. For me, though, it was when Kosh, an alien ambassador said it in Babylon 5, a 5 year TV saga that is still, in my view, the best scripted TV series ever. It’s scope was huge for TV and I’ve watched it several times.
And so it begins, Quebec’s winter sketching season. It’s a loooong season too. We’ll come out of it sometime in May, six months from now [sigh]. That means I’ll be spending my “urban sketching” time in museums, sitting in the dark, drawing with the use of a book light. I’ll spend time scribbling my way through coffee shops, trying to capture the people there just to break the monotony.
But today we’re having a heat wave. Our temperature hit 1C today (grin). We went to the museum for the first time in months and drew a new, small display of fire fighting paraphenalia. It was nice because it was in a hallway and not in the two major exhibits, where many of the exhibits are too darn dark to see, let alone draw. At least it’s practice and goodness knows I need that.
We’re finally experiencing outdoor temperatures. Normally this would mean that I’d be wandering the streets every day, drawing my old-man heart out. That behavior has been derailed by my bad knee. Just this morning I started out with the idea of taking the bus downtown to sketch, but I quickly realized that, today, my knee wasn’t going to allow that to happen. So, instead, I’m writing this blog post and thinking that maybe I’ll sketch a pepper plant we bought last weekend.
Last week I got to go to our Musee de la civilisation to see the new Curiosities du monde naturelle. This exhibit is reminiscent of the old natural history museums, before all the fancy displays and such intruded on a simpler time when museum managers thought people were more interested in seeing actual items than they were pictures and videos of them.
Our museum seems to have a new to this. They put everything in the dark. I’m not sure what that’s about but we have to draw with a light on our paper and half the items are too hard to see to draw at all. This is supposed to be good? We have two exhibits that are like that currently and it seems to be a trend. Anyone else seeing this in their museums?
Part of this exhibit is the head of a young giraffe and I decided to draw it. Where I had to sit was too close and I was looking upward at the head such that I couldn’t see things like its left ear so the sketch is a bit odd. Still, I had fun finally being out sketching and I enjoyed drawing this guy, or girl.