Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zoo Basel

Sturgeons, Chubs, and Trumpetfish


                                               They really have the cutest advertisements.



                I decided to spend an afternoon at the zoo my first week in Basel. I was not disappointed. I have since been back four additional times. I've never had such close, cheap and easy access to a zoo, it's great! In this post are some photos and drawings, some of what I saw that day in the aquarium.



                                           Started out with some chubs from observation.

              Then I practiced some of my memory drawing. For those who don't know, memory drawing exercises are when you spend some time just looking at something, and then draw with just the memory of what you saw. Robert Henri and others are advocates of this and here is an excerpt from Robert Henri's book "The Art Spirit" to put further emphasis on what I'm talking about.

        "I have often thought of an art school where the model might hold the pose in one room and the work might be done in another. The pupils would have their places in both rooms, one for observation and the other for work. The pupil could return to the model room for information. In  getting the information he could view the model from his place or could walk about and get an all-around concept; he could also make any sketches he might desire to make--for information--but these drawings are not to be carried into the work room. Into this room he carries only what he knows."  - Robert Henri

       This really struck me when I read it, and I have been doing exercises since to develop what Robert Henri is talking about. Of course the ultimate purpose of all this isn't so I can see a fish and then draw it exactly. But doing this exercises develops the skill to remember visual and emotional phenomena and fix them in the mind. The moments in life that are most profound are the ones so important to hold onto and communicate.So this day in the zoo I started out with the chubs from observation and then did some sturgeon sketches from memory. For the below sketch, I watched the fish for about a minute, and then moved away and drew what I could remember.




             and here is the subject my memory was working from...the drawing is an ok likeness, not great.



             I did this again, with a side profile from memory. The top sturgeon is from memory, and the bottom drawing from observation.



                                                                sturgeon at zoo basel



                                        These three trumpetfish are from memory. I finished one, then I would go back and look again, then draw again until I had these three. Notice the improvement in each step.



                                               and a trumpetfish drawing from observation



trumpetfish from zoo basel


   
  I drew this after I got home from the day, the memory of this water plant was very vivid in my mind.

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