Friday, February 25, 2011

My postcard from my walk

Butterflies in the Natural History Museum
7" x 5" pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This was the sketch I couldn't post.  It had been physically posted to California and was due to make its first appearance on the new blog I'm participating in with my Sketchercise pals - A Postcard from my Walk.  

It was published last Sunday - see Postcard from Katherine Tyrrell, London

The postcard is of the butterflies which you can see at the very top of the new Darwin Centre Cocoon in the Natural History Museum  - just outside the lift.  There were lots of different specimens and all I had to do was work out an arrangement which seemed to satisfy my eye.  Let me know if it satisfies yours! :)

A Postcard from my Walk

A Postcard from my Walk records a monthly postal exchange of sketches on postcards between 14 members of the Sketchercise group over the course of 14 months - until every person has sent a postcard to every other person.  The aim is that we produce a postcard while taking exercise - and then, rather than posting it online on out blogs, we post it in the letterbox!

The idea was the brainchild of my friend Ronell van Wyk who lives just outside Tours and right next to the River Loire in France.  She had us all organised and raring to go in no time at all!

Many postcards are travelling many miles before they reach their destination as we live all over the world - as you can see below!
Over the coming months we'll all be posting about how we are all addressing the issue of creating a sketch on a postcard, what that means for us in terms of adjusting to a different scale and how we're managing to wangle our favourite media into a postcard sized support.  Albrecht is an old hand at mail art projects and will doubtless be able to provide expert advice. 

I'm about to embark on experiments with mountboard!  Plus I'm thinking about trying out Daniel Smith's watercolour ground and seeing how that works with the media I use.  I'll be posting about how I get on in future posts.

The new Darwin Centre Cocoon at the Natural History Museum
The landmark Darwin Centre is now open to the public. Museum visitors can explore world-class science in action in a dramatic new public space.

The Darwin Centre is a state-of-the-art science and collections facility. The building is the most significant expansion at the Museum since it moved to South Kensington in 1881.

Natural History Museum - Visiting the Darwin Centre
Irrespective of what it contains, the new Cocoon - where I sketched my butterflies from specimens on display - is worth visiting just for its stunning architecture.  See architectural highlights here.

I spent a long time with my head tilted upward staring at its shape and wondering how they built it - and what on earth it was like inside.

This page on the website explains what's inside the Cocoon.

In reality visitors only see a part of the inside - as the pathway winds down a slope past various exhibitions. It was fascinating to have windows which let you watch real people doing real things to real specimens!  I have to tell you Macs seem to rule at the Natural history Museum!

There's lots of emphasis on technology and the Interactive Experience and being part of the whole process.  I have to confess my first attempt at packing for an expedition in a rain forest was pretty useless but I tried again and got much better at it.  It also taught me a lot about what the naturalists use to preserve specimens these days - which was fascinating given my interest in botanical art.

Original botanical specimens - as seen in the Cocoon, Natural History Museum
(note the butterfly)
My one piece of advice is be very careful as you approach the window on your left as you get out of the lift.  Even if you don't suffer from vertigo. the extent of the sheer drop on the other side of the window will make you go weak at the knees!

and finally......

Today this blog is featured in the Daily Universal Register page of The Times newspaper!

See what the Times has to say about me and my sketches!

I'll do a proper post about this later.



  1. What a great collection of artists to exchange post cards. I am enjoying all of them so much. I agree with you that Ronell is full of creative ideas.

    And your arrangement of butterflies is lovely.

    See you on A POSTCARD.


  2. Love the postcard Katherine.

    Congratulations on the fabulous Times article.


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