Mongolia Monday- A Visit To The American Museum Of Natural History

I spent a great morning at the American Museum of Natural History during my recent quick visit to New York to attend the Society of Animal Artists board meeting and show jury.

This time I wanted to sketch and once again see the fossils that Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions brought back from Mongolia. I got to chatting with one of the volunteer docents and found that she knew the location of some Mongolia items that I hadn’t found on my previous visit in 2009.

The jackpot was an American flag that flew from one of the expedition vehicles. It was in a glass case that had been mounted on the wall in one of the stairwells, not exactly a prominent, easy to find location, so I appreciated the docent’s help a lot!

Here’s a “album” of photos from the museum, filled out with a couple from my previous trip, ending with a couple of iPad sketches I did.

American flag carried to the Gobi of Mongolia by one of Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions.
Closeup of the photo. I’ve helped push a vehicle or two on my trips, but without a dog to supervise.
The walls in the cafe closest to the Paleontology section are lined with photos of the Central Asiatic Expeditions to Mongolia. This one is of what Andrews dubbed “The Flaming Cliffs” which are located in an area the Mongols call Bayanzag (Place of the saxaul trees). I’m pretty sure I watched the sun go down along the lengthy of this butt in September of 2006. He used large caravans of camels to transport supplies and get them into position before the rest of the expedition arrived in motor cars.
Another photo from the cafe, this one showing the Expedition’s camp. The tents are “maikhan” or summer tents, which are lighter and even more portable than the better known felt gers.
Short profile of Roy Chapman Andrews. It has been speculated that he was one of the inspirations for Indiana Jones. And if you’ve read his biography, that’s not hard to believe, although there is no proof.
One of the fossils from Mongolia, a Psittacosaurus mongoliensis
Informational sign about the above fossil
Protoceratops fossil skulls of varying sizes; the expedition’s scientists found far more of these than any other species
A pair of protoceratops (image from 2009)
Although the Expeditions failed in their original goal, which was to find evidence that “man” had originated in Asia, not Africa, the find that electrified America was the discovery of the first known fossil dinosaur eggs. Andrews’ decision to sell one created a firestorm of controversy. (image from 2009)
Besides the flag, this was the other item from Mongolia that I’d missed on my previous trip, an amazing fossil of a female dinosaur which contains a egg with a recognizable embryo, something never before seen or found.

Finally, here are a couple of quick sketches I did of protoceratops skulls using ArtRage on my iPad.

Mongolia Monday- New iPad Drawings Of Mongolian Animals

I’ve been having a lot of fun with the Sketchbook Pro app for my iPad. It works well for fast location sketching, but I’ve been wanting to see how I could use it for more finished work.

I keep the iPad with me in the living room and I have a lot of photos from my latest Mongolia trip on my MacBook Pro. So it’s easy to sit and work while a football game is on.

I’ve settled on just a couple of the drawing tools to keep it simple for now as I learn how to use other features like the size of the line and how opaque or transparent it is.

The one thing I have found is that it is difficult to do animal heads that are small because the size of the stylus end makes it hard to do small strokes for features like eyes. But I managed. I’ll definitely be taking the iPad to Mongolia again next year for location work.

Juvenile cinereous vulture, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, August 2011
Cashmere goat, Khan Khentii Mountains, August 2011
Yak, Burget Uul, August 2011
Argali ram, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve, August 2010

IPad Sketches from the High Line in New York City

I just got back from the Big Apple and had a great time. Got to spend the day before my meeting wandering up and down the High Line, an old elevated railway that has been converted into an incredible mile long park. It’s located not far from the river and runs through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. The Chelsea Market was a great place to get lunch (Thai food, in my case), use the restroom and poke around.

As is usually the case, the powers that be, lacking any imagination, much less vision, wanted to tear down an eyesore, but one man saw the potential and now I think it is one of the absolute must-sees for anyone visiting New York. Judging from the number of people there on a chilly November weekday, I’m not the only one. And it seemed to be almost equal parts visitors and locals.

I had my trusty iPad with me and really enjoyed taking advantage of all the cool places to sit and sketch. And I had my iPhone for taking photos.

To set the scene:

My first look at The High LIne,which is reached by stairs or elevators at various points.
View of the Empire State Building
You can walk through a forest in the sky
One of the open plaza areas with a really cool building
Not only are there lots and lots of benches of varying designs, but also gathering places that catch the sun all through the day
A sunny corner at the southern end

And here are some of the sketches, done quickly in just a few minutes, for which I used Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro:

I don't "do" architecture, but couldn't resist drawing some of these great public spaces
The High Line is a riot of overlapping shapes of vegetation and buildings
One stretch had a long line of big wooden "loungers", perfect for a nice rest in the sun. Or a snuggle.
Yup, it's New York City. The plants are not palm trees, but do give that visual effect
Lots of reading going on all along the line
But some just wanted a snooze

Mongolia 2011 Location Sketches

Little by little I’m getting caught up, but there are a couple of really interesting irons in the fire that I’ll be posting about in the weeks ahead that have taken a fair amount of email time.

In the meantime, there’s this trip I just took, during which I managed to find some sketching time, both in my journal and in my iPad.

First are the ones I did in my Moleskin sketch journal. They were pretty much all done in five minutes or less for the small ones and maybe twenty for the one that crosses both pages. Some were done during lunch stops, some at camp between drives. The cows and sheep were done at the home ger of my driver, where I got to stay overnight. That wonderful experience will rate its own post:

...we're going and that's ok.

Since no one pestered me while I did the above sketch, I got out my iPad and did a couple more quick studies.

Parliament Building
Three of a large group of women who were meeting on the square, some wearing beautiful del

Before we left on our “wildlife tour”, Pokey and I had time to wander around UB. I took her to the Museum of the Chojin Lama. Since I had been in the temples before, I got out my iPad and did a little sketching of a few of the statues flanking the entry stairs of the main temple.