Drawing A Giraffe In Quebec City

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.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6), DeAtramentis Document brn/blk, Platinum 3776

2 Responses to “Drawing A Giraffe In Quebec City”

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  1. Tina Koyama says:

    Yes, I have noticed that disturbing trend myself, and it’s super-annoying. I was told it’s to protect the art, but if it can’t be seen, it might as well be in storage, where it will be perfectly protected.

    • Thanks for responding to my query, Tina. I realized after the fact that I should have said something about what I meant by ‘dark’ since it’s such a relative term. I’ve always understood the need to avoid harsh photoflood lights around artworks. But two things are different in the situation I was trying to describe. First, the exhibit is about fossils, bones, and some stuffed animals. I’ve spent lots of time in the Ottawa museums and in a local hunt & fish museum, drawing up a storm and NONE of these places have, or need to have less than normal, as in living room, light and typically they are better lit than that.

      No, what I was referring to as “dark” are conditions that are more like haunted houses than museums. Today I was trying to draw a cassowary in the exhibit and it was so dark that I couldn’t see the eye, couldn’t see where the blue of the head (because I know cassowary heads are blue) started and stopped. When I look at a dinosaur head in this exhibit I can see the outline but all of the bumps and dents of the skull are completely lost in the dark. It’s really crazy. And, of the two exhibits going on right now, this one is the more brightly lit. The other one is so dark you have to be careful not to bump into things as you walk through it (grin).

      Thanks again for the response.

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