15 December 2015

Drawing Tuesday - Grant Museum of Zoology

The delightful Grant Museum of Zoology is open only in the afternoons. We made the effort, and all felt it was worth it - and worth returning to.
The museum was rehoused in what used to be the medical library
Where to start? Anywhere! My choice of specialisation for the day was puffer fish, and it was the interplay of spikes and shadows that caught my eye -
 The porcupine fish is related to actual puffer fish; it has spikes even when not inflated, whereas for puffer fish (Tetraodontids) the spikes only appear when they inflate.
They have several lines of defense, the spikes being one of them; another is a neurotoxin that results from some of the bacteria in their guts, with is reportedly a thousand times more lethal than cyanide.
Puffer and his little friend porcupine
I lost patience with the spikes; whereas this (on the museum's tumblr account) is a very different drawing of the creature, quite charming, but without the spikes in evidence.

Lured by the long rows of dolphin teeth -
and the skull of a howler monkey nearby, I got to know them through tracing a photo on the ipad, looking closely at the photo, then doing a reality check to revise and to fill in missing (or conjectured) details -
Not - definitely not - as congenial as drawing with a pencil, but after you've engaged with what the photo shows and tuned in to what you might be seeing, it's easier to look (through the glass, past the reflections, into the shadows...) and re-evaluate what you see.

Also the ipad was very useful for taking closeups of some of the glass sponges on display -
An organism made of 90% silica

as well as this wonderful Victorian tableau, borrowed from the vaults of the Natural History Museum for the "Glass Delusions" exhibition -

Now the day's drawings. 
Janet B's pangolin

... and her goat's head

Sue's aardwolf and lion

Marina's careful skeleton and abstracted creatures

Joyce couldn't find a label explaining what this is

Janet identified a rhamphorynchus (prehistoric flying reptile)

... and also found the museum's collection of plastic toy dinosaurs!


We'll be back...

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