Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Local colour at the Tokyo Metropolitan


Our Man read in the inspiring Playing with Sketches by Whitney Sherman that people do actually go to art museums and sketch other people's stuff.

So that's exactly what Our Man and Our Youngest did today at an Egypt exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. The sphinx was the first of the day and was a bit rushed (the sketch of it, not the, er, sphinx) but we enjoyed doing the dog vase (that our Man was reliably informed by Tokyo's preeminent J-politics blogger was one of four to contain the innards of the mummified pharoah.) There were a couple of mummies, but with no seats, Our Man didn't think he could do their caskets justice, especially with the ever-present gallery guards who had marked Our Man out as a trouble-maker.


It started with Our Youngest who had the audacity to bring an eraser along with her sketch pad. Just as her rubber hit the paper, the guard was at my ear.
"No erasers in the gallery."
"What?"
"No erasers in the gallery."
"Oh? What?"
But I didn't push it with the youngest there. It wasn't our art gallery after all. Lord knows what terrible damage eraser shavings might do to the gallery Hoovers.
So we moved on to a fresco of an Egyptian queen that we thought we could mimic. She looked cool and you could just make out the red of her skin, a couple of thousand years after the artist and subject's world had disappeared.
It was quite moving.
So we both thought we'd have a go at colouring in the sketch.
"No. Please stop. You cannot do that."
"What now?"
"You can't use the, er…"
"Eraser? We're not using an eraser."
"No, no. You can't use red pencils. No colour please."
"What?"
"No colour."
"No colour? Why not?"
"It's dangerous. It might get onto other people's clothes."
"From my pencil?"
"Yes. It's very regrettable."
"Yes, especially this being an art gallery."
"What?"
"It's funny that we can't use pencils to sketch in an art gallery, I mean this is an art gallery. Doesn't that strike you as funny?"
"You can use a pencil, a grey or black pencil but not a coloured pencil."
"That's still pretty funny."
She didn't laugh.

We finished our sketches over a vivd-red strawberry snow cone in the gallery cafe.

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