Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Silence Experiment

I spent the last two days of this week at the museum. I was looking, and I was drawing with a fine tipped mechanical pencil on light brown craft paper. My ipod was blasting calm fluttering tunes. Its been so long since I have drawn. Its been so long since I have really looked at something without the rushed and stressed semester steadily breathing down on me. Because of the stress and because of the slow drudgery of school related requirements, I had almost forgotten what it is that I like to do. 

But on Thursday, I remembered. 

I was looking at the skeletons of various mammals in preparation for my trip. On my trip, I will be going to Africa to look for fossils at a Miocene site that is approximately 17 million years old. The mammals that I was looking at in the museum this week were not 17 million years old, but they were sort of general representatives of the types of things I might be finding in the dirt.  

I am very lucky to have the opportunity and the time to look at this material. 

It was occasionally raining. Clear rainy day light was spilling in the large old window in front of me. I was at a table, alone. Pencil on paper gently explaining the outline of the shape. look. look. look. The quiet sound of drawing. The silence of looking. The intimacy of shading of gradual gradual gradual gradual shading. I make the drawing twirl because the bones do. I think the bones are beautiful. I said that to a classmate once, he left me feeling silly, naturally. But there was no one there to make me feel silly this time. Just me, my three pencils, a kneaded eraser, the poor deceased Potamochoerus larvatus and exactly how only I see it. 


  1. i loved this post.

  2. The mysteries of the past are most elegantly viewed through the eyes of the artist.

    The "silly" ones are the artlessly clinical.