Friday, December 11, 2015

Museum of Natural History

Last Sunday the NYC Urban Sketchers visited the American Museum of Natural History. I haven't been there since I was teaching and we would take the kids on trips. It was very crowded and we started in a room the Hall of African Mammals. It had huge, life-sized elephants and dioramas with other animals. Unfortunately the room was very dim and it was difficult to see the elephants well.

I sketched one of the elephants and two of the sketchers working.

One diorama had several African animals and a background like a savannah.

After lunch the group plan was to go up and sketch in the Mammals and their Extinct Relatives Hall...think wooly mammoths. I opted to sketch in the dinosaur room instead which is usually super crowded. Even with people standing in front of me a lot of the time I was able to see a great deal of the dinosaur over their heads since it is so tall. I found a spot in a corner and started painting the tyrannosaurus directly in watercolors. My sketchbook was 9 x 12 and when I got to the spiral spine I opened it the rest of the way and continued. It was hard balancing 24 inches of sketchbook in my lap. lol He looks small here but take my word for it...he was BIG.

Here is a photo of my sketch and pretty much my view.

I had a little time left before we were scheduled to meet downstairs, so I pulled out my iPad and sketched the skull of the tyrannosaurus. I'm slowly figuring out how to shade what I sketch on the iPad.


  1. Love that tyrannosaurus painting!!

  2. Wow, Joan I particularly love your tyrannosaurus painting - the purple shadows are gorgeous! I'm in awe of how you actually paint in such crowded conditions while having to balance everything on your lap! Your ipad paintings are coming along very well too.

  3. And I especially love the elephant! Great job as always Joan. You are an inspiration for artists everywhere to take the sketchbook with you.

  4. Thank you, Rhonda!

    Wendy, thanks. I was a elementary school teacher...I can tune out anything. lol

    Julie, many thanks.

    Lin, thanks. We have to do a city sketching trip some time when you are up in NY.