On Saturday, Chris and I met up with friends to attend the Da Vinci exhibit at our local MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry). I can only say I came away even more.......in awe of the man than I was before. A genius, most certainly, as well as innovative, resourceful and incredibly, insatiably curious about EVERYTHING!
I found myself wondering if he would understand our fascination with him today. I suspect not. I think he would be flattered, but what I glimpsed was more along the lines of just the way the man's mind worked. To figure something out, he sketched, took notes, studied, took more notes, made more sketches. His curiosity knew no boundaries, he gave it full rein. Something that I will allow more of in my life.
I went prepared to sketch with what I think of as necessary tools—pen, pencil, paper, paint, sketchbook, eraser, paintbrush. There were two other "tools" I should have packed as well. Patience and tolerance. Immediately after pulling out my sketchbook a woman approached and said "What are you doing?" She leaned in to see, nearly blocking my view of my subject.
Ink with watercolor washes
3.5" x 5.5"
A flurry of responses flew through my mind, but in the end, I settled for a simple, "Sketching." At this, she turned and called her friend over to inform her that I was sketching. Apparently, it wasn't obvious by the pencil and sketchbook in my hands. The friend wanted to know why and what I hoped to accomplish. Again, a number of responses tumbled rapidly through my mind, ranging from downright sarcastic to feigning complete ineptitude and asking what she meant. (Experience, being the wise teacher that it is, has taught me the folly of engaging in this nonsense.)
Before any of this mischief could take hold, I responded with "I'm just hoping a little of the man's genius rubs off on me." Already bored with me, she mumbled, "Me, too," over her shoulder as she went on to the next exhibit. Take that as you will. I choose not to take it at all. At least, she didn't slam my skill level. My interactions with the public (almost) always amuse me, exasperate me, and undoubtably, confound me.
As to sketching in this environment—it was tough. There were a lot of people milling about and really, no place to stand that was out of the way and unobtrusive. Which brought the onlookers. The other thing this brought was close scrutiny from security, to make sure I meant no harm and was merely sketching. I was watched as I moved through the exhibit. No doubt they've had some trouble as there were signs everywhere of what you could and could not do.
Lastly, being with friends, I felt pressured to keep up with them, and therefore, I rushed the sketches that I did. This was totally self-inflicted as they were doing their own thing and did not seem to mind in the least. Still, in the back of my mind I felt a social obligation (also known as courtesy) to keep up. Next time, I will make arrangements to go alone for sketching, and then with friends to enjoy the interaction of the show.
If this exhibit should come to your city, I do recommend attending. It is a fascinating, but all too brief, glimpse into a truly remarkable life. I leave you with one last quote from the genius....
There are three classes of people:
Those who see.
Those who see when shown.
Those who do not see.