Posted in art school life

The Cloisters and Sketching on Location


On Sunday I went with my mom and her friend to The Cloisters, a reconstructed medieval castle just outside of New York City, part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve never been there before, but I’ve heard a lot about it, and after studying medieval art in my art history class I was excited to see the collection. I didn’t expect there to be actual reconstructed columns and gardens. It felt like I was actually in Western Europe! Or what I imagine Western European churches to feel like. I’ve never been.

My mom and her friend walked through the park outside while I sat in the courtyard and sketched. I’d left most of my favorite colors and drawing tools at home, because I am very smart, but that forced me to be more creative with the tools I did have at my disposal. I used Faber-Castell Pitt colored brush pens, black and pink gel pens, and a water brush in my sketchbook to draw what I saw. I thought the capitals of the columns were super interesting, and the other visitors.

I always feel weirdly self-conscious drawing in public, but because this was an art museum, I saw a few other kids drawing the columns and the architectural features around me. I think they were doing it for homework, though. I did it for fun.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here much or at all, but I really do think keeping a personal sketchbook and drawing in it regularly is really important for any artist. I’ve filled up around 30 sketchbooks since 8th grade, and the more I draw in my sketchbook, the more I draw, period. It’s really convenient to have all your sketches and doodles in one place instead of all over your homework and random scraps of paper. I’m thinking of scanning the pages of my previous sketchbook and putting that into a PDF soon, but we’ll see how that goes.

A combination of several views, because I thought it looked cool that way.
The view of the inside courtyard, which had trees and plants and things.

The collection of medieval jewelry and manuscripts downstairs was really cool too. I’m terrible at doing anything with lots of fine details, as you may have noticed, so I’m easily impressed by anything really detailed.


Look at that detail! This book wasn’t much bigger than my sketchbook!



There’s also a garden of medieval plants, like plants used for medieval medicine, or food, or plants thought to be associated with different things. It wasn’t very pretty now that it’s almost winter and cold outside, but I’m sure in the spring and summer it’s beautiful.

A cool tree.

But my favorite pieces by far were the tapestries (actually, this one might’ve been a fresco) of strange creatures. Look at this camel. That camel does not have time for your nonsense. I relate to him on a personal level.


What’d you do over the weekend?



cartoonist, illustrator, reader, writer. SCAD 2020

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