About the MotmotExploring the natural world with pencil and paper from high atop a one-story bungalow in the middle of Oklahoma. Currently on sabbatical in Copenhagen, Denmark, until December, 2014.
Not a big day for drawing, but a splendid one nonetheless. The agenda included smorrebrød with biologists and a visit with ornithologist/mind-bendingly fine bird artist Jon Fjeldså at the University of Copenhagen. A seven mile walk was taken with a stop at Assistens Cemetary for a moment of respectful silence at Hans Christian Andersen’s grave.
There was the purchase of two cute hats and a black knitted scarf that feels like a big hug around the neck from a dozen teddy bears. There was a grocery purchase conducted completely in Danish that went like this: green beans, persimmons and a head of radicchio go on the counter. Fresh-baked Middle Eastern flat bread catches my eye. I say, “Hvor koster det ?” – “how much does it cost?” and am actually understood by the grocer. A watershed moment. He responds with something in Danish, which of course, I don’t understand, but I pay the bill, whatever it is, and we share a little smile.
I also bought a kilo of lamb at the Halal butcher next door. Do you know how much lamb is in a kilo? A lot. Antman is making a huge stew right this minute. The butcher smiled at me, too.
Later, Antman and I stepped around the corner for a concert by the Copenhagen Klezmer Trio. Bittersweet clarinet, accordion and bass under chandeliers in the gorgeously carved, gilded and bedecked Royal Theatre’s Old Stage foyer. It was all wonderful, and now we’re tired.
To round out a full day that included absolutely no drawing, Ipresent a shop-window from the Copenhagen boulevard, Norrebrogade.
Step through the gates of the Copenhagen Botanical Garden and the city vanishes; it’s quiet, serene. A great collection of plants from around the world; a green hulk that looked like a woolly mammoth garbed in lace cap flowers was Hydrangea aspera ssp. sargentiana. The Garden is now in autumn glory: grasses and flowers and foliage frosted with soft yellows and delicious reds with berries on top of everything. Hawthorns and Sorbus are in fine fruit, attracting birds. A wren reeled off sibilants and long, liquid warbles while European robins fluttered and plucked at harlequin glorybower’s purple beads. Moorhens tottered out of the pond to pick at the grass on the bank- who knows what they were eating there- along with magpies and wood pigeons, fattening up on chestnuts and fallen crab apples. And then, there’s the architecture.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a Copenhagen museum founded by the Carlsberg brewing family, with sculpture being the main attraction, but they also have great French Impressionist paintings, a tropical garden in the main rotunda, a nice cafe, and today, a surprise choral group in the marble-columned music hall singing heavenly music straight out of the Middle Ages. I wasn’t the only one sketching there today- a drawing class commenced in the Egyptian room, and individual sketchers occupied the Classical Antiquities Hall.
The Glyptotek encourages artistic visitors and even hands out folding seats. I beamed with gratitude, sat down, and drew an Athenian Soldier, circa 330 BC, followed by the most amazing mother and child free-for-all ever sculpted.