Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snow? Into the Field!

Narwhal facsimile (on watercolor moleskine)
Itching to sketch during this snow pile-up but hoping for something more dynamic and...well, warmer than the snow?

I was on Monday, so I trekked downtown to the Field Museum of Natural History. If you've never sketched at the Field Museum, take my advice and don't wait for the meetup at the end of the month!

female ruby-throated hummingbird (on Stillman & Birn Zeta)

Whether you prefer sketching people, animals, objects, or architecture, the Field has amazing exhibits to suit a sketcher's fancy.

On this visit I explored part of the "Ancient Americas" exhibit -- stunning artifacts and a life-size replica of a pueblo interior. But to be frank, I barely got beyond the "World of Birds" exhibit. Between bird-song playing all around and vibrant birds in replicas of their habitats, I was proud to not spend my entire visit in front of a single display case!

 For those who feel self-conscious about sketching alone in public, the Field is a great "sketch alone" location. The other guests are so involved with the exhibits that unlike subjects on the CTA, hardly anyone realizes someone is sketching!

woman reading by water buffalo exhibit (painted in watercolor molsekine)
The Field is also among the most artist-friendly museums in the city. Pencil, pen, watercolor, and nearly any other media are welcome (excluding acrylics and oils). Many exhibits have strategically placed seats, but if you don't want to risk not finding one near that perfect scene, artists are welcome to bring their own chairs. (I brought my folding chair, but ended up taking advantage of provided seating and an excuse to practice sketching while standing.)

Still need a reason to go sketch at the Field? Basic admission is free to Illinois residents the entire month of February!


  1. Welcome Allana! Nice post, perfect for a day like today. It makes me even more excited for our next sketch meet. For those of you not familiar with our meets check out the Sketch Crawls tab on the blog tool bar.

  2. Great post! I sketched there, alone, last fall. It was just as you said. Nobody noticed me, they just wanted to see the dinosaurs. I got distracted and began doing some of the people. It was a great way to practice sketching people in public. Looking forward to the 21st!

  3. I can't wait! The hardest part is deciding what to sketch! So many choices so little time!

  4. Fantastic post, wonderful illustrations and you have now whetted my appetite to sketch again during hibernation season. And a warm welcome to you as one of our contributors to the blog.

  5. Great job Allana, looking forward to our crawl.

  6. Thank you all for such a warm welcome!
    Debra, I'm glad to hear that you had the same experience sketching at the Field. It's nice to sketch invisibly from time to time. ;)
    Susan, I have the same experience----you should go before the 21st to sketch ever more! :)

    I'm looking forward to seeing you all on the 21st and what you sketch between now and then!