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!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back from South Africa


A giraffe at Moholoholo
South AFRICA?  Okay, so you didn't even realize I was making a trip to South Africa?  Actually it was one of those things that had been in the planning stages for a year and a half. Since you can't think about something like that for a whole eighteen months, I put it completely out of my mind until, WHOA! Better get movin'!  And then, involved with preparations, I didn't leave time to blog about it before I left.  Duh. 

It was an absolutely terrific three week journey, separated into three distinct parts, with the expectation of recording the entire event in one of my travel sketch journals within the next few months, like the ones here.

Laying track for a leopard photo shoot
Part 1 ~ Ten days with Joe and Sandy, Coyote Trails School of Nature staff, plus student Johann and his mom, Alessandra at Moholoholo Mountain View Camp to scope out a course in tracking and bush survival Coyote Trails is scheduling for high school kids next year. I did lots of sketching and journaling during the ten days. We also took a drive through Kruger National Park in our rental car to check out the wildlife.  

At Marc's Treehouse Lodg
Part 2 ~ Then I took off on my own for five days at Marc's Treehouse, living in a tree house above the Klaserie River with sketching a high priority, but also making a couple of trips into Kruger National Park on game drives  undertaken in a vehicle with a top for shade but open on all sides, perfect for viewing wildlife in any direction.

Sketching frog behind the bar
Part 3 ~ Then I spent four days at Panzi Bush Camp, with time for more sketching and journaling, plus lots of laid-back enjoyment of the thorny African bushveld. Panzi Bush Camp has a waterhole and a viewing deck,  located right next to my cabin, so a lot of time was spent on the deck sketching and soaking up the atmosphere. Exploratory walks with the naturalist, Glynn, were an added enjoyment, and I was able to get many of my questions about wildlife, tracks, and the African environment and vegetation answered. And the great food ~ oh, my!
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And now ~ I'm going to blog this over the course of the next several days, as I'm still sorting the dross from the 2500 photos I took.  The photos were in addition to sketch/journaling 43 pages in my sketchbook, with a number of additional pages partly begun and in line for finishing before I can put it up online. 
Drawing by flashlight

I was pretty focused, I guess.  Many nights found me coloring sketches by flashlight and booklight, using my photos for reference. That's what I'm doing in this photo at right (gotta find a better way!)

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Before I left, I spent a LOT of time tweaking my gear. If you recall, in December while in Belize I had a sticky problem with my vitamins getting moist and gumming up in the container.
Keeping the Vitamins Dry
I resolved that problem this time (although not technically necessary because the bushveld of South Africa isn't humid) by dropping one day's supply into a plastic bag, tying it off, then dropping in the next day's supply, etc. I got two week's worth in one plastic bread bag.  It worked perfectly, plus I later used the little strings for page markers in my field guides, a happy surprise use.


Baboons can glare like real hoodlums

Next blog I will tell about some of the fascinating things that happened during the first ten days at Moholoholo.  I helped bait a camera set-up for leopard (see the image above, under Part 1), tracked a wild white rhino and her calf through thornbush veld, and learned to identify tracks and sign of giraffe, wildebeest, leopard, rhino, kudu, impala, baboon and other African wildlife.
baboon tracks

I  also pursued my artistic investigations of acacia thorns, geckos, bushwillow fruits, bone-chewing giraffes, porcupine quills, and many other interesting subjects. 

And oh! the incredible birds!  I identified 101 species in my 21 days, a very satisfying number for this part-time birder.  

Lilac-breasted Roller
So! Stay tuned for the next installment!

2 comments:

Kate said...

Oh, Renie! I am SO happy for you!!! Can hardly wait to continue following your adventure -- what a joy it will be. --Cuzn Kate

Irene said...

Thank you, dear cuzn Kate! I'm having fun writing these ~ brings it all back, without the jetlag!

Actually, I was taking some pills for jetlag, called NoJetLag, and they really worked (disclaimer: I do not have any relationship to NoJetLag, I just like how the pills seem to work) since I didn't experience any jet lag either on leaving or on my return.

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