Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Drawn to stone and stuffing

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I was breezing through the RISD museum recently when this sculpture (sadly, I did not write down the label info) raised his stony hand and demanded I STOP.

So I did, and stood mesmerized by the power of that hand.

Today, I went back at lunch to photograph it and then grabbed one of the little folding stools RISD has in the museum and sat down in the peaceful medieval gallery to sketch.

The medieval gallery had been closed for a long time while they expanded the museum and just recently reopened, New and Improved. They even added subtle medieval-style music, which is nice to listen to while drawing. Though the sculptures and paintings only fill two small rooms, I am very glad to have them back on display, since each piece has the potential to suddenly reveal itself, as this one did.

I think I'll spend a more of my lunch breaks drawing in the museum. I don't know why I never thought of it before that sculpture ordered me to STOP.

I also spent an hour earlier in the week in the RISD nature lab drawing a little brown bat. He was pretty cool but a bit (a lot) worse for wear, as are many of the smaller specimens. (I was hoping for some spiders, but most were just little boxes of legs). Of the bats though, my guy was one of the handsomest, a few of the others looked more like roadkill. Who needs taxidermy when you have a speeding Jetta?

But there's lots of cool stuff in the Nature Lab, so that will be a good lunchtime sketching destination too. Maybe if I sit quietly drawing I'll spot the little newt that made a break for it and I can nab it and return it to its nice moist tank.

Hanging out with dead animals is giving me the urge to take some more classes at the Natural History Museum. The specimens there are in better shape since they haven't been checked out like library books by decades of college students.

And if I get sick of dead animals I might just head out to Woonsocket where I hear they have a fine flock of Turkey Vultures.

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