Treasures through timeKingdoms of the Sun and Moon Exhibit, Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum Peru exhibit sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Last week’s Nature Lab post put me in an “educational” frame of mind this weekend—so I thought I’d devote this week to museum sketches. First up are some brand new ones from just a couple of days ago, when I finally had the chance to see the spectacular exhibit of Peruvian art and artifacts at the Seattle Art Museum. The show covers 3,000 years of Peruvian history, so it’s a lot to take in—but it’s worth every scrap of attention you’ve got. That’s where a sketchbook comes in handy, actually—for me, it helps process all that sensory overload, so I can look back later and remember the experience as more than just an art blur.

(A word to fellow sketchers, if you go: museum rules allow sketching only with a pencil inside the galleries—which are pretty dimly lit. So I had to rough these out quickly, squinting with my nose an inch from the book, and then sprint for the nearest coffee shop afterward to ink and paint while I could still remember any color details.)

Seattle Art Museum Peru exhibit sketch by Chandler O'Leary

My favorite part of the show was the fact that it covered both pre-Columbian cultures and art done during and after the Conquista—so even though the sudden switch in subject matter was jarring, it was easy to see how the cultural influence—surprisingly—went in both directions.

So if you find yourself in Seattle over the holidays, grab a sketchbook and take yourself out on an art date. The show is only up through January 5, but if you make the effort to get there, you won’t be disappointed.

Seattle Art Museum Peru exhibit sketch by Chandler O'Leary

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