Yesterday I went to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston and spent just about an hour wandering through 3 galleries and sketching. I used one page in my sketchbook and just started sketching birds.
I have often said this, but I think it bears repeating, you don't need a ton of time at a museum to get something out of the visit. You don't even have to see that much of the museum. The key, I think, is to choose something to pay attention to. I didn't go to the museum with the intention of sketching birds. It's just the first thing that caught my attention. Once I sketched one, I started to notice just how many different birds were represented in the artwork around me. So, I kept going. It was a lovely scavenger hunt and I feel like I gathered some good ideas that I'm excited to explore.
I sketched in the galleries with just a permanent black pen -- FYI: Some museums only allow a pencil. Then, I sat in the cafe at the museum and added some color with my Peerless watercolors and a waterbrush. Museums do not like paint in their galleries, but watercolor in a place where there's food is likely okay. As always, check the rules at the museum before you go. Most have them posted to their websites.
I took photos of the birds for coloring reference -- since I knew I would be adding color at a later date. And even so, I didn't try to match the photos exactly. Take a peek:
I don't think the point of sketching is to create an exact replica. Rather, a sketch is a representation of an idea filtered through your own hand. My goal is not to copy other artists, but to learn from them and figure out what I want to take from their art and transform into my own.
I strongly encourage you to start a sketchbook practice -- even an infrequent one. If you don't have a museum nearby, you can draw things in your house, things at your local library, things at your local mall, etc. The fun thing about sketching is that you never run out of things to draw!
Thanks for stopping by!