I am immersed in a Museum project to develop a new exhibit, Age of The Mastodon, opening Feb 26, 2022 and will be on display at the Museum of Natural History for one year. The exhibit will feature a new mounted skeleton of a Mastodon as well as real bones collected from a gypsum sinkhole 30 years ago. The exhibit will also include augmented reality ‘features’ that will allow virtual skeletons and features to be shared with visitors. After display in Halifax, the exhibit will tour the province for a couple years as a smaller exhibit.
While I’m focused on this work, I’ve been doing a lot of work at the museum piecing together the bones and preparing them for exhibit. During this process, I’ve been examining digital models online - which helps me put the pieces together. The University of Michigan has an excellent 3D model of a Mastodon skeleton that is accessible online at:
While drawing I was reflecting how I drew the sketch by examining proportions - observing that the pelvis (hip) was inclined forward overtop of the joint with the femur, and that the height of the pelvis was 1/3 of the total height of the rear of the animal - the femur another 1/3, tibia and foot another 1/3. I used my pencil to 'measure' relative sizes of other skeletal elements, the front limb two "hip units" ahead of the rear limb, the relative size of the scapula - etc.
The act of drawing a 'study' involves observation, measurement, and insights. In creating a drawing study I am asking myself questions (how far forward is the front leg) and observing details to answer the question and place the drawing marks in the appropriate location. The process of completing a drawing study helps me to understand mass/force relationships, to see important morphology and proportions within the subject.