Sketch Out at the Science Museum of Minnesota with Metro Sketchers and Wet Paint

June 25, 2012

Above: Sketching two whooping cranes in an exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. There were actually 3 specimens in the Plexiglass display case, but I started at the left and worked my way right with my pen—a .3 Staedtler Pigment Liner. And when I finished the body of the immature bird I liked all that negative space. I took a small set of Schmincke Pan Watercolors to this outing because I was working in a roughly 8 inch square journal I'd made with TH Saunders Waterford 90 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper. (You can see the embossed logo at the bottom of the left-hand page.) This is their original white which is a bit creamy and "off-white." I sat on the floor looking up at the birds to get this angle. It was the only angle I found where there wasn't harsh glare to contend with when sketching.

Thursday, June 14  was a day of torrential storms of an off and on nature. (I even got hail where I live.) Happily the storms were lifting as I made my way to the Metro Sketchers special meeting at the Science Museum of Minnesota, sponsored by Wet Paint. Fourteen artists arrived ready to sketch the exhibits.

Left: Second page spread of the evening. I sketched another display in a Plexiglas cube. I had worked patiently on my cranes, letting washes dry so that I could add more detail. At this point I wanted to work fast and loose so I got out my Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Calligraphy pen and sketched a display and a friend sketching that display. (The back of the exhibit was a large photograph of ocean huts on stilts.)

Sketchers were given free admission to the museum and a little goodie bag of paper and pencil samples. From 5:30 to about 8:15 p.m. we were off sketching throughout the museum. Then it was back to the lobby to see what everyone had accomplished. (Work gets posted to the Metro Sketchers Facebook site.) There was some stunningly lovely work completed. It is always fun to go to a sketch out and see what catches the eye of another observer, and then how that observer captures it on the page!

120614CKingfisherLeft: I ended my evening by sketching a kingfisher in a small display case at eye level. I had spent a good deal of time talking with other sketchers between my last two sketches so I needed to stop fiddling and get to the wrap up meeting!

After sketching for 3 hours and not having had dinner before the meeting, I found that I was ravenous, so when my friend Marsha suggested we go back to Minneapolis via Cafe Latte I was powerless to resist. My chili and sourdough roll tasted like perfection. We were joined by a new friend from the sketch out who had the same idea and bumped into us at the restaurant.

I would like to say that after a short restorative meal, or even during the restorative meal, we all sketched some more, filling new journal pages, but we did not. I was beat. I didn't even suggest it. I also didn't even eat my Chocolate, Chocolate, Not a Typo, Cake. (I took it home to freeze for another time.)

Thank you to Metro Sketchers, Wet Paint, and the Science Museum of Minnesota for putting together a fun evening of sketching.

Note: Metro Sketchers is a group started by Liz Carlson (one of the wonderfully talented folks at Wet Paint). You can join the group on Facebook and learn what the outings will be each month. (Typically the group meets the first Sunday of each month from noon to 3 p.m.—but there are often additional sketching opportunities and date shifts due to holidays.) People who aren't on Facebook, or even people who are, can join the Yahoo list at

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