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Riva Lehrer's Blog

Hyde Park Day Sketchblog

All drawings are done on site during the event. Most of the time, I'm pretty far from the speaker and drawing in the dark, so I apologize to all my subjects for the resultant wild inaccuracies.

Paul Sereno: Dinosaurs

True Confession: I teach anatomy, and I've been a dinosaur nerd since I was a leathery egg myself. So there I sat, watching this vibrant, brilliant guy explain the evolution of quadrupeds, and the wonder of clavicles and scapulae, and how the coffee-table sprawl of a crocodilian became the bouncing grace of a cheetah, and the whole time I have Bonnie Tyler wailing in my head: He's gotta be sure and he's gotta be soon / And he's gotta be larger than life.

Yeah. Embarrassed much? And people, I'm gay.

Paul Sereno
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The Drawing: He leaps, he jumps, he climbs cliffs, and digs out 15-foot bones. Every muscle is flexed. All 360 joints are in play. And that's while he's still standing behind the podium.

Also, the guy has a Superman forelock. So, no, this does not do him justice.

Rebecca Skloot: Creatures Great and Small

Rebecca Skloot's engagement with animal ethics started even before she was born; her family was in the furrier business. As a teenager, this propelled her towards veterinary medicine, in order to heal the human/animal care relationship. But ethical questions persisted in both animal medicine and animal economics, problems that could not be answered by science alone.

When her own dog was attacked by a roving band of feral dogs, she took on the difficult task of asking who benefits, and why, from human dominance over all other life forms. Her work examines how hard it is to build a humane ethics in a world based on a one-way, h. sapiens power structure.

Rebecca Skloot
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The Drawing: Some faces reveal unexpected aspects, depending on the angle you're looking at. Skloot's face, seen full-on, is dominated by a generous smile and shadowed brow, set off with upstrokes of eyelash. In profile we see the owl, with a definitive curve of nose and a watcher's eyes.

Riva Lehrer is an activist and multimedia portrait artist. A past presenter at the Chicago Humanities Festival, Riva currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Medical Humanities program at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Learn more at

Tags: sketches, hyde park,

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