Yesterday I had a bit of time between a wedding ceremony and the fancy reception to visit the Chihuly exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It seems fitting that I sketched this swirling confection of a green glass chandelier while dressed in sequins and high heels (not my usual sketching attire!).  It’s impossible to match the magic of colour and light with paper and water-soluble pencil — the sculptures are intensely vivid and perfectly lit in darkened rooms — so the  only thing I could hope to convey was the triangular shape of the piece and a sense of the scale of it.


25 Comments on “Chandelier”

  1. Claire Dorsey says:

    I’ve seen Chihuly’s work and your sketch does it justice. I caught the spirit and lightness of the glass.


  2. rene fijten says:

    I saw his work in Las Vegas last summer. I also tried to draw it, but you are right, you can’t catch the brilliance of glass on paper.


  3. Holly Nolting says:

    I knew just who we were looking at there- amazing!


  4. I went to this and took photos (which I put on my blog), and that was hard to do in dark rooms as well! Your sketch is great.


    • Hi Fiona,
      I just read your post which I enjoyed very much. I was of the same opinion as you about Chihuly (more about the brand than anything) which was why I went there in between two events rather than making a special trip, but like you, I was glad I went and ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Your photos look great and it was interesting to see that photography was encouraged here. I have been in so many museums where people stop in front of the painting, take a photo and move on, without ever stopping to really look at the work. And they probably never look at their photos either. But in this case the glass looks really great in photos, you don’t need a flash for them to look good and it makes sense in this context.


      • Thanks, Shari! I’m glad you liked the photos. I too am not sure that photography in museums is always a good thing, but I got the sense that with the Chihuly exhibit a ban on photos would have been completely impractical. I thought the MMFA came up with a very good policy that accommodated photos *and* made the experience of the exhibit a good one.


  5. Robin says:

    Wow! You did that and more! Amazing.


  6. Betty says:

    I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing his work in person only pictures & TV. I fine it fascinating and your sketch is beautiful,


  7. Anne H says:

    I saw an exhibit of massive chihuly jellyfish at the Newport OR aquarium – it was spectacular!
    I’ve seen other pieces here and there but the aquarium exhibit sticks in my mind.
    You sketch really catches the light of the chandelier!


  8. redharparts says:

    Excellent representation of Chihuly’s work. He’s done a lot of these chandeliers. Coincidentally, just this Friday I paid my first visit inside the big permanent exhibit he opened earlier this year at Seattle Center:


  9. Ross says:

    What!?? [disbelief] I had always imagined that you were serious about all this and were formally dressed when you were doing these sketches… perhaps not sequins, but certainly high heels. : )


  10. Joanna says:

    Wow that colour! It reminds me of the one in the V&A in London!xx


  11. Helen says:

    Hi Shari – I had the pleasure of seeing his work in Chihully;s hometown, Tacoma Washington, and in Charlotte NC. I just am always amazed seeing it. I knew it was Chihully before you said it and I thought your representation of his work would please him. So beautiful!
    Thanks again for sharing so freely with all of us.


    • Thanks Helen. I guess the swirls are a dead giveaway, right?
      It seem that most people have seen a Chiluly exhibit at one time or another.
      I first learned of his work on a tv documentary years ago but this is the first exhibit I’ve seen.


  12. Micah says:

    You’ve captured the energy of his work fantastically!


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