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!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

4th Day's Class

April 25
7:17am -- overcast.

It rained during the night, starting at about 3:30. Now there are about 2cm of water in the rain gauge and the air is smooth and freshly washed. As always, the howlers awakened us with their moaning roars and barks. I love waking up that way. That's one of the things I'll miss most when I get back home to Oregon.

It’s clearing off now and my last class session will begin in about 45 minutes. I think it is beginning to dawn on my students that perhaps they can indeed draw, and they keep telling me, without prompting, that they are having a great time. They certainly have been working energetically on their drawings, so we are all well pleased. Today we'll work on intensifying colors and how to paint (using the watercolor pencils) a landscape simply but realistically. The watercolor pencils are ideal for applying colors on-site while sketching (especially with the water-charged paintbrush), but they're equally nice for doing finished art later on.

The workshop is finished, and it was a great success. All of the students now have a whole new array of skills and capabilities, and have expressed great pleasure at finding their new talents.
Ann has thanked me more than once for creating the opportunity for her to come here to El Remanso and take the workshop. (Her traveling companion, Mary Ann, has spent the time Ann was in class photographing mushrooms and hiking the trails. They went horseback riding on the beach, too.) Adriana would like to make sure these workshops happen again – she says now she can tell potential participants "about the amazing things that happen in the class." So I expect I will be scheduling more workshops here. Maybe this fall or next spring!

2pm. I'm sitting on my patio sketching a pod from a kapok tree. I’ve found many of these lying amidst palm fronds and coconuts in the soft sand where the beach meets the forest. If they don’t get wet, the woody pod sections splay open and the fluffy kapok bursts out in a gigantic soft puff, 4” x 6”, soft as goose down. Sometimes I sketch interesting things like this on the spot. Other times, I tuck them into my fanny pack to draw later. I usually carry along a few empty ziplock bags, just in case.

5:13pm. Joel has brought Dan and me and Gerardo via zipline out to a platform in a huge canopy tree! The zipline ride was fun, sailing over the forest floor 100’ below. Joel is (as Belen says) “Mr. Security” with immense attention to carabiners and ropes and knots with an eye to safety. I felt totally safe on the zipline, and now, attached to the platform by two nylon tethers, I am sitting in the high green air sketching a mossy branch with mosses, ferns and orchids clinging to it.

Dan and I are just tag-alongs -- Joel invited us to come along while he gives Gerardo, the new naturalist, exhaustive instructions on how to work with the equipment, so we’ll have a nice long time to gaze out over the tops of the trees and watch for wildlife. Dan just spotted a hummingbird nest on a branch about 20’ above us, when the hummer came back to the nest. Now it is settled into its little walnut-sized nest staring at us.

The scene is primeval with the trees mounding below us with wonderfully various shapes, textures, and colors. Across the forested ravine we see other huge canopy trees broadside instead of from beneath. We sit on the platform edge, legs dangling, and breathe the sweet wild air, entranced.

This platform is 120’ above the ground in an ajo tree, about 190’ from the launch platform near the cabinas and restaurant. Joel came over first, then Gerardo, then I came and finally Dan. Duende stayed at the platform end to pull the riding slings back for the next rider. He later sent over a bolsa (bag) loaded with coffee, creamer and crackers. Daniel, grinning, says we are having ‘high tea!” Yup!

It has suddenly started to get dark. These equatorial evenings are gorgeous but WAY too short! I'm about to get strapped in for the return zip -- I'd like to stay up here forever but.....!

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