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!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Costa Rica Sketch Journal ~ July 11, 2008

Here we are on July 11. Actually, half of this day's journal page was written on the 10th, so you'll have to go back in time a day to finish yesterday off (which is actually day before yesterday because I took a TimeOut yesterday to show you the Swamp Book Cover). (I added an improved cover! Go look!)

Since I didn't have anything more to say on the journal page I was writing on the10th, and I didn't have anything in mind to draw, I just doodled in a jungle liana page divider and started the next day's entry.

Okay. July 11th was a big hiking day for me, going for the Ridge Trail. I love this trail, which wanders through deep forest inhabited by lizards; mushrooms (that lacy thing at right is a mushroom!); howler, spider, capuchin and squirrel monkeys; peccaries (forest pigs); and other amazing creatures. One always wants to keep one's nose alert on this trail. Smell something really funky? Freeze! It could be peccaries. They won't hurt you if you don't get between them and their piglets, but they travel in packs and they're pretty imposing. I've never gotten a good photo of one yet, although I've seen them from a distance a couple of times.

I had delightful encounters with agouties, a red-capped manakin, and (2!) Great Currasows. Be sure to click on the little pictures here to see bigger ones. The two female currasows were extremely nonchalant, ignoring me, and I watched them for several minutes with smothered excitement. But in comparing the photo sequence in my camera and my journal entry (which I wrote scarcely more than an hour later) I discovered that I had remembered wrong!

How could it be that I thought I looked up from photographing dung beetles to see the currasows? My photos of the currasows come BEFORE the dung beetles on the camera. Dung beetles were followed by this lovely little manglio seedling taking root on a rotten log. The human mind is an amazing thing. I'll never know what really happened now because the fake memory has totally replaced the real one. I really did those things, but not in the order I remember them. (So much for "truth in eye-witnessing!")

This photo of the currasows, by the way, was the best one I was able to get in the dim light (and it's been heavily tweaked in Photoshop to lighten it up to visibility, starting out as an almost black blob). It's a perfect example of why a journal sketch might be a better means of capturing the moment!

The Ridge Trail emerges into the open on the lip of a high bluff over the Pacific, at Bella Vista Point (see the journal page). Off to the right and way down below is the long stretch of solitudinous beach, and off to the left (not sketched) the trail plunges down at an alarming angle to that beach.

Arriving on the beach breathless but still in one piece, I meandered back toward the trail up to the lodge, admiring hermit crabs along the way. I'd hoped to have time to sketch them and the shells they had chosen this trip, but that just didn't happen. Next time, maybe. I made it back by about 2:30, worn out by my six hour hike.

Daniel had spent the day hanging out in the hammock reading Tollé and nursing his tummy, which was not giving him a lot of pleasure. I sat down in one of the lounge chairs, cheering him up with tales of my adventures, and coloring some sketches in my journal until dark, when the heavens opened again with a marvelous lightning show and downpour. Reminds me of Camelot ~ at this time of year most of the rains fall in late afternoon or overnight when you're happy to see them come.

I've included a photo Dan took of me and Adri, sitting down to dinner. The tables are always beautifully appointed, with different napkin folds, flower arrangements, and gourmet meals every evening, served by candlelight, by friendly, efficient waiters.

Happy hour precedes dinner, from six to seven, and Maikal, José, and Gerardo (not the naturalist), make really excellent mixed drinks. My favorites were piña coladas and cocolocos. These always made me a little goofy, and since I am a bit shy in crowds, this helped me be more at ease (even thought the "crowds" were never larger than eight or nine people, many of whom I'd already met during the day!). What a hermit I am!

As we headed for La Caramba that night under our big black umbrella I had no idea Montezuma was plotting revenge on ME as well as Daniel!

1 comment:

Margaret Ann said...

Nature is truly exotic and beautiful...wonderful photographs...now I could go for a pina colada! :)

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