Friday, August 3

A School of Fish

 Today my daughter and I went to one of my favorite places in Philadelphia- the Wagner Free Institute of Science. It's a natural history museum that was founded in the Victorian era, and which has retained its original design and layout of specimens for over 100 years. It's like stepping back into time, and yet also absolutely timeless and relevant.
 Specimens range from minerals, insects, fossils, crustaceans, various sea life, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Some are taxidermied, some are skeletal. All are a visual feast for an artist like me. Today I focused on drawing fish, as I have a glimmer of an idea for a bulletin board I want to  do for my art room to kick off the year. It's the best place to find things to draw!
I miss drawing. I'm pretty good at it, but I feel a little rusty. It's funny seeing these 3 pictures together all about the same size and proportion. In actuality the top fish is a 6.5 foot long Tarpon that's about as big as me, the middle porcupine fish is about 15 inches in diameter, and the little trunkfish at the bottom are only about 5 inches long!

The Wagner has education programs during the school year for classes that want a field trip. I actually like it better than taking kids to the Academy of Natural Sciences because it's just full of specimens and has very little text around. At the Academy the experience is very directed and there's a lot of information to read. There's something wonderful about just having access to their incredible collection with minimal direction- it fosters curiosity and exploration.

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