Monday, September 14, 2009
Natural Science Center & misc. sketches
Here are some more sketches I did over the past year. I was giving a friend's child art lessons in exchange for her teaching my son Japanese for his foreign language requirement. We spent one beautiful spring day at the Natural Science Center in Greensboro. This museum is really a great place to visit. Both of my sons have volunteered there for the past 4 years. My oldest son was even nominated for volunteer of the week and had an article written about him published in the local newspaper along with a picture of him feeding one of the wallabies. The NSC's small zoo is called Animal Discovery and they have smaller versions of the animals that are in the bigger zoos. Instead of Kangaroos, they have Wallabies, and they have Alpacas instead of Llamas. You get the idea. The centerpiece of AD is the tigers. They are young siblings, a male (Axel) and a female (Keisa) who were confiscated from a private citizen that had raised them from cubs and was keeping them as pets in an apartment. To feed the tigers, the owner would put raw meat in a baby stroller and pull it around the apartment, letting the tigers chase after it to catch their prey. The tigers are big now even though they are only about 6 years old. They play like little kittens and unfortunately they move too fast to get any good sketches of them. I need to catch them on a hot day when they are just lounging around. But, we sketched the Meerkats, which are one of my favorite animals. I had to be really quick with these guys, too, because they don't sit still very much. Sketched a little boy who was excited to see the Meerkats and I sketched my student, Kaleigh who was sketching the cute, little buggers. Next, we went into the Discovery House and sketched some of the more protected animals. There are 3 little Screech Owls who live here and all three have been injured in some way and are being cared for at the NSC. Pigwidgeon, the first one had a run-in with a car and the car won. His right wing had to be amputated. One has a detached retina and the other one has lost his left eye. All are given excellent care by the handlers at NSC. Box turtles are not endangered, but they are protected. You're not allowed to find one in the wild and take it home to keep as a pet. We see them all the time in our yard and even help them cross the road. The very light one is a domestic rabbit who is very shy. The statue of the little boy is a very moving story. It was built to honor Robert Marshall, a small boy who loved to visit the NSC. His mother took him often and everyone who worked or volunteered there knew him. One day while driving along rt. 29, they got a flat tire. His mother pulled off the highway onto the shoulder of the road as far as she could. She was standing outside the car getting ready to change the tire when a tractor trailer swerved off the highway and hit their car. Robert's mother was thrown clear and survived, but little Robert, strapped into his car seat in the car, where it was thought he would be safer, did not survive the crash. The monument to Robert began as a plaque, but snowballed into this statue and wishing pond. People can buy a brick and have a loved one's name engraved. There are lots of touching sayings and charming things engraved in the bricks surrounding the pond. And the next sketch is of a grouping of bird feeders that I was using to teach scale and measurement. The last two sketches are a couple of unfinished street scenes that I started while waiting for my youngest son to finish his Spanish lesson.