Dead Life Drawing

The Tate Modern’s Georgia O’Keefe was naturally full of crowdpleasers (her famous flowers and lively New York cityscapes) but the seemingly anomaly series on bones set in New Mexico’s desert was my favourite part of the exhibition. The harsh monochrome forms contrasted the colourful backgrounds in such a way the inanimate skeletons seemed to jump off the page.

Every month London’s Museum of Zoology put on (and usually sell out) an art class called Dead Life Drawing and this month I finally got a ticket. I’ve wanted to try this out for a while, especially after reading this O’Keefe quote at the Tate:

“The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive…and knows no kindness with all its beauty” – Georgia O’Keefe


Our small group (of all drawing abilities) were guided by an artist who encouraged us to try new techniques, such as brash and unforgiving felt tips. Our patient subjects were the intricate fossils, skeletons and taxidermy of the museum’s creepy collection, which we had all to ourselves. As someone who is used to drawing naked humans with an easily erasable pencil, this certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Definitely signing up to the next one.


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