dave's ink

Chicago Field Museum sketchbook


Here in Chicago, we're lucky to have a wealth of world class museums to visit. Several of them, including the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium, are clustered in a group next to Soldier Field known as the "Museum Campus". As a student, I made numerous trips in from the western suburbs to visit each of them years before I could appreciate what local treasures they are. Fortunately, I'm part of the Chicago Urban Sketchers, a group open to artists of all backgrounds and training, who are interested in sketching in a live environment, and our regular sketching meetup this month took us to the wonderous Field Museum of Natural History. Here are some of the sketches from that trip: This one is of a Peregrine Falcon, which has recently been upgraded from "endangered" to "threatened", thanks to the efforts of wildlife conservationists. This is a sketch of a Black Hat Dancer's costume worn by Buddhist monks in the ritual of the Cham dance, which is considered a form of meditation and an offering to the gods. This is the Field Museum's most famous resident, Sue, sketched during an earlier visit. She was acquired in 1997 and is, to date, the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. Here's a sketch of a pair of fighting African elephants who, along with Sue the T-Rex, are featured prominantly in the main hallway of the museum. These elephants are one of the first specimens displayed by the Field Museum in 1909. Here's a fun video about the people & taxidermy involved in bringing the pair to life. And finally, here are a few more miscellaneous sketches of various exhibits throughout the museum.

Abe Lincoln's back!

Lately, Abe Lincoln seems to be getting the kind of front page periodical coverage once reserved for pop stars and celebrities. Besides being featured recently on the covers of Newsweek and Time , he soon-to-be-released biopic "Lincoln" will examine his final year as President. And of course, who can forget his heroic deeds as fearless vampire hunter? Besides the fact that this year marks the 147th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, our own troubled times seem to have sparked a renewed interest in a time of even greater divisiveness and strife, when the future of the U.S. was truly in doubt. At no time since the civil war has there been such a sharp ideological division in the U.S. And we all know what Lincoln said about a house divided. Make your voice heard in tomorrow's election if you haven't already voted. And though it's a tall order, let's hope the outcome is decisive, fair, and undisputed.