To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Costa Rica Nature Journal/Sketching Workshop ~ 3

Plane rides can be deadly dull as well as leg cramping and other assorted evils. I always request a window seat so at least sometimes there is something interesting to see. Going south out of Medford takes one close to Mt. Shasta, but from the west side of the plane I could only see Lake Shasta, so I drew that. Sketching through a plane window requires speed ~ the dang pilot won't circle back around if you miss details the first time.

That occupied me quite some time, and we arrived in LA just in time to sink the sun. After finding my next terminal and getting some dinner, I began "profiling" the women around Gate 45. Adriana, who makes all arrangements at El Remanso, had told me that two of my students would be taking the same flight to San José as I, and I had a fine time watching for them, discarding some easily, wondering about others, checking a few out by peering at luggage tags and even striking up a few conversations. But to no avail. In the end, my students, Marilyn and Jocelyn, found me, having looked up my picture online. Out maneuvered! They seemed exceptionally nice. I started to relax.

This was the red-eye flight to Costa Rica, and we arrived at SJO quite early, to be picked up by Carlos, holding up a sign saying "El Remanso, Irene, Madelin and Vaselyn." From then on, Marilyn answered to Madelin and Jocelyn to Vaselyn ~ "Madelin" does sound like a Spanish version of Marilyn, but we never did quite figure out "Vaselyn."

Carlos was a charming Tico (what Costa Ricans call themselves), and he spirited us away downtown for breakfast since it was quite some time till our flights down to the Osa Peninsula. Traffic was hair-raising, but Carlos is obviously an old hand at driving his turismo van, and scarcely blinked as he threaded his way through downtown San José to take us to a special restaurant, one with some atmosphere, when we told him Denny's wasn't our first choice for our first Costa Rican breakfast.

We started to inhale the essence of Costa Rica as the waiter made us coffee Costa Rica style, pouring steaming water through ground beans in a bag, into a tin pitcher. It was absolutely delicious, as were the gallos pinto (rice and beans) served on a banana leaf, which the others had, and my fried platanos (a large, starchy type of banana). We treated Carlos to breakfast as well, and got acquainted with each other over breakfast.

Then, much sooner than we wished, Carlos hustled us back into the van and we returned to the airports ~ I to Sansa, the others to NatureAir, for the trip to El Remanso.

A little crowd gathered when I started sketching in the Sansa terminal. First I drew the parking lot, practicing the modified contour technique on the cars ~ you just run your pen around the outline without lifting it from the paper. It makes a nice, fresh drawing, and gives an interesting tilt to inanimate things.

As it warmed up, I went inside, drawing the people and practicing my titling font ~ it's a fun font, very vacation-y and with the freedom to make any given letter look different every time you draw it. I don't mind if people watch when I draw. It amuses them, and it's such a crowd pleaser.....I don't think I'm a show-off, but when you can give people pleasure just by doing something you enjoy, why not?

The trip down the southern half of Costa Rica takes almost an hour, and passes over coffee, pineapple and banana plantations, plus a lot of forested mountains and along the coast, mangrove swamps. It's a fairly low flight, so the scenery is very visible and fascinating.

Adriana and Elyer were there to pick me up at the airport for the eleven mile drive to El Remanso. We were delighted to see howler monkeys in the trees along the way, but I was even more delighted to arrive and settle in a little.

I packed up my sketchbook, binoculars and camera and headed up the road, sketching and photographing tropical marvels to my heart's content. By the time the sun sank into the sea at 5:39, I was lounging by the pool sipping a margarita.

Ah, the life.......the good life.


Anonymous said...

Irene,We will have to find someone to take care of your car so you continue your daily writing!  I miss the adventure and love your writings and pictures.. keep it up.kwP.S. You are talented and a super teacher; not everyone can do and teach.  You do both equally!

Irene Brady said...

Well, thank you kindly, Kathy! It was positively a kick having you in the class. You added a great deal to the experience for all of us, and your creative influence was really stimulating.


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