Last week I had the chance to go to Chicago for the day with one of my best friends. We were going to the Art Institute but what I was really jazzed about was the Aquarium. I do not much care for Zoos but there is something about sea life that turns me into a five year old. At the AI I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that some of the objects I am looking at are older than dirt. I enjoy art museums more than I did before I took Art History classes but I am impartial to pretty much every other kind of museum. The one thing pictures in a book can’t really show though is how vivid and detailed a painting is. I love getting up close and personal with a painting to see how the artist did what he did. I never enjoyed oil painting so it is a process that mesmerizes me.
After the Art Institute we rushed over to the Shedd Aquarium. I was so happy to be inside a building where the wind wasn’t punching me in the face. Mind you, my coat is basically a sleeping bag, the outdoors were that awful. We bought tickets to the Jellies exhibit… along with everything else there is to see and were on our way.
NOTE: I have never been to an Aquarium before
I was blown away by the size of all the fish I was looking at. They were all HUGE! I have never seen fish as big as me before so I was all giggly. I was also really excited to get my own reference shots for future illustrations instead of scouring Google. We made our way through all of the first floor tanks and finally got to the really good parts: the Oceanarium and Jellies exhibit.
From the way I was talking about all of the Jellyfish, calling them snot rockets, you wouldn’t think I liked them very much but they were awesome. Looking at pictures and videos doesn’t give you the full effect of how they move around or how they look. None of them were very big but there were so many different kinds to look at. I still don’t understand how they eat or anything but they sure look dandy.
My first sight in the Oceanarium was of Beluga Whales and wow are they adorable. Everything I thought was cute I deemed a “sea puppy”… because puppies are the best. They were really active too, swimming really fast, coming up to the surface, making farting noises with their blow holes. There were sea otters, starfish (which I got to touch by the way, they feel slimy and really textured… very odd), anemones, and the best part was the Dolphins. I have never seen a real living breathing Dolphin before so I decided I would become a Dolphin Trainer instead of an Illustrator. There were barely any people watching and we got to get really really close while watching them do adorable tricks. Someday I want to be able to pet one.
I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling (or windier) day. I got to see so many animals I had never seen before and could go on and on about them but I won’t bore you. I feel fully inspired to draw some sea life now!