18 November 2014

Tuesday is drawing day - Horniman Museum

The Horniman currently (till Sept 2015) has a display of Romanian textiles - and this poster from its 1985 exhibition is one of my earliest London "souvenirs" -
so in front of the textiles is where I settled down, choosing first of all the vivid patterning on a coat that also showed signs of moth ravages (a subject close to my heart) -
As you can see, the black background to the border gave me some problems, using water-soluble pastels. How I longed to have had some black tissue in my bag ... but you can't carry everything, it's a matter of making do with what you have - and there's always the possibility of doing more once you get home.

On the other side of the display case were "my three guys" and other icons, flanked by colourful cloths, as they would have been displayed in traditional homes -
 This is St Elijah, driving his chariot across the sky to bring rain for the farmers -
Copying "primitive art" allows for a variety of sins ... accuracy isn't part of the spirit of the thing. First I put down some areas of colour -
The line-work made it come to life -
The blue and "beige" backgrounds await a decision on how to add them - watercolour? acrylic paint? pencil crayon?

The icons on display were painted on glass, so the lines would have been put on first, then the colours, with the background last.

One of the glories of the museum is an enormous walrus, first exhibited in 1886, though the museum has had it only a century. The "souvenir" biscuits are a nice touch -
After lunch we decided to continue drawing. Jo went to work on several versions of the walrus, and I settled down in front of one of the bird displays -
My drawings are linked to an ongoing photo project -

Candidates for "Close encounters of the bird kind"
After drawing the birds (from a distance) I went up close to add their names, and to get a closer look. For several, it wasn't all that easy to find the right bird ... which rather mirrors a story told by the scientist Richard Feynman. His father had pointed out to him that it wasn't useful to know what the name of a bird was - that told you nothing about the bird, it just told you about humans: "Let's look at the bird, and what it's doing."

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