Day four of the Summer School saw a bit of a change of plan. We had been planning on going to Highgate cemetery but given the rain we had on days two and three, we sought shelter and so headed to the Grant Museum of Zoology. In the end it turned out to be a lovely day, but Grant’s is one of my favourite places in London so I was very happy we ended up there.
The Grant museum is part of UCL and hosts a fantastic collection of zoological specimens. The most celebrated is the jar of moles (yep, a jar of moles), but they also have bones endangered and extinct animals such as Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, the Quagga, and the Dodo alongside a hundreds of other interesting skeletons and jars. I particularly like the skeletons of the bats and flying foxes as they look like little humans but with wings, almost like angels (or demons!)
We were very lucky as the curator of the museum was prepared to take some specimens out of the glass cases for us so we could work on more detailed drawings. We got to select and as a group chose a deer skull with fantastic twisted horns, one of those bat skeletons and a tiger skull.
I spent ages drawing the deer skull. After my confidence boost drawing the real human skulls at Bart’s Pathology Museum, I felt that I wanted to continue with a longer observational drawing, rather than doing lots of quick sketches around the museum. I also realised that I find it so much easier to draw when I am not looking at something behind glass – you really get to see all the little details and changes in texture. I did also attempt to draw the bat, but it was way to complicated and I hadn’t left myself enough time.
As well as completing our own drawings we also played the surrealist game Exquisite Corpses (where you draw part of a drawing, cover it and pass it on to be added to by someone else, at the end the full drawing is revealed). We used the animals in the Grant collection to inspire our own weird and wonderful mythical beasts! They came out looking brilliant and it was really fun to do something collaborative where you weren’t worried about the outcome.
Today was the day I felt the most confident in my drawing. I think this was from a combinations of things such as having fantastic objects to look at up close and having time to spend on my drawings, but also that I have been practicing and developing my skills for nearly a week now. I really feel like my drawing is improving over the Summer School as I am investing time in practicing the skill. Can’t believe it is nearly over!