Monday, November 8, 2010

Sketching Reptiles at the Museum of Science

The Museum of Science just opened one of their very rare live animal exhibitions this weekend: "Reptiles, the Beautiful and the Deadly". The exhibit will run, thankfully, for a considerably long time: from now until January fourth. I still want to get to it as early as possible.

A couple of years ago, M.O.S. had a similar temporary exhibit during a school vacation week run by the same people (the delightfully named "Reptiland"). I'm very excited about this return because I almost filled half a
Sketchbook at the last Reptiland exhibit.

Which means, dear readers, that you get a picture heavy post today! For all of these, click to see the larger images:

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Rhinoceros Iguana

By far, this Rhinoceros Iguana was the most downright endearing creature in the whole show. Very sedate and easygoing, I was able to do several long studies of him. (I'm assuming it's a him. With most Squamates, unless the male and female look very different, it's hard to tell.)

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Rhino Iguana

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Rhino Iguana

Look at that cute pudgy-cheeked face. Look how cute he is.

Sadly, he was right by the entrance. Therefore, he was the first animal any guests saw and flocked to. That didn't bother me, especially given my experiences drawing animals in zoos and farms and such.

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Rhino Iguana

What did bother me a lot was the running commentary I heard. And here's the thing. I heard most stupid things almost exclusively from adults, not kids. Everyone under the age of fifteen knew what they were looking at, actually paid attention to the signage, and were eager to learn more. I'll let some sociologist decide if this is proof positive that, sadly, once they grow up, most people become more and more disassociated with the natural world.

OK, rant over. On to more drawings of cool animals.

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Basilisk, Frilled Dragon, Emerald Tree Boa

Clockwise from the upper-left. The Emerald Tree Boa was a surprisingly small one. He stayed curled up tight like this all day and, as such, could have rested comfortably in my cupped hands. Beautiful colors.

It surprised me to learn that the frill on the Frilled Dragon doesn't get in the way much when he turns his head. They had a pair of them, though neither displayed at the other. (There was, however, an epic wallbanger of a sign that assured us that they can't spit poison.)

In the case of these two Basilisks, I think it's fair to assume which is female and which is male. The crowned male spent the day hiding behind a bromeliad. The female hung out on a tree branch. Neither of them went for a swim, much less a run.

Now I especially like it when I go to sketch live animals and go home with a new favorite animal or two:

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Green Tree Monitor

Like this Green Tree Monitor. One of the most elegant and beautiful creatures I've ever had the opportunity to observe and draw. Very flexible and graceful. I had no idea how the tail would move as a lizard clambers along on the ceiling - now I do and my life is the better for it.

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Collared Lizard

I might have been reduced to a "squee"-ing mess in front of these Collared Lizards.

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Blue-Tongued Skink and Gila Monster

And the Blue-Tongued Skink (it's like a sausage with little legs OMG!) AND the Gila Monster. Got some weird looks for that.

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Veiled Chameleon displaying

One of the best things I got to watch was this Veiled Chameleon display (I promise you, he was a dull puce a minute ago). It was amazing to watch. It's like he knew he had an audience.

Lizards and Snakes ALIVE! - Water Dragons

So (leaving you with two Water Dragons) I will hopefully get to this new exhibit soon. Anyway, I haven't given enough love to the Museum of Science on this blog and it's time to start.


Ain't It Cool News (of all websites) ran a fantastic interview with Berkeley Breathed over this past weekend and it gives terrific insight into the changing landscape of newspaper comics and the kinds of things an illustrator might have to put up with. (And it reminds me how much I want the complete "Bloom County" books too.)


ANNOUNCEMENT: The Pink Dinosaur Sketchbook and the two custom Fairy Tails are up for auction on Ebay!


Albertonykus said...

I hope this new exhibition will be as fruitful for you as the last!

First time I've heard of venom-spitting frilled dragons. It's enough that people actually believe Dilophosaurus was a venom spitter, now its modern inspiration takes blame, too!

Trish said...

^ Yes, Al, that's exactly why they had that sign. If they have it again this year, I'll have to take a photo of the wallbangery.