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, March 1, 2008

Costa Rica Nature Journal/Sketching Workshop ~ 9

With the workshop officially finished, we had some time to explore. Jocelyn and Marilyn headed down to the waterfall and beach (where they discovered this lovely little poison dart frog) while I decided on the Ridge Trail because it has the best wildlife.

I wasn't disappointed. Barely half an hour into my hike I froze at a rustle in the underbrush, sidling close to a tree to conceal my silhouette. Soon, about twenty feet away, a black shape appeared (about the size of a bulldog, I'd say) browsing its way through the forest on a path parallel to mine. I could see, in small glimpses, that it was a peccary, which usually travels in groups, or "sounders," so I held still for awhile after it passed, and sure enough, one by one, five more passed me by without noticing me. The breeze was coming my way, and did they ever s.t.i.n.k! I would have taken that odor for a skunk or a civet cat if I hadn't actually seen them.

Later, to my delight, I was menaced by scowling, screaming spider monkeys in the top of some walking palms, and remembering Gerardo's caveat that they would 1. shake branches, 2. throw things, 3. pee on me, then 4. pee and poop on me .....I left shortly after the curtain rose on the "throwing things" scene.

The Ridge Trail is El Remanso's longest trail, ending on the beach if you take it all the way, but I had scheduled a sketching class with Gerardo (the naturalist) and Elyer (the head waiter) at the lodge after noon, so I only went halfway before I sat down for awhile for some pleine air sketching and journaling. Then I headed back to set up for class.

The class with Gerardo and Elyer was great. Both of them want to be able to draw what they see; Elyer is particularly interested in insects and takes great photos of them. So when Elyer expressed interest last year in learning to draw, I promised a session this year. Gerardo was delighted to join us, and Adri, who took the sketching workshop last year joined us for a brush-up because she seldom finds time to draw.

With Adri and Gerardo both interpreting for Elyer, the class went swiftly, and we got in a couple of hours of class before their duties called them back to work. I'll be interested to see if either of them is able to carve out time to practice and improve their skills. It's not easy to find time when you have a full-time job.

I took a lot of photos of their progress, and I wish I could share them with you. But, of course, they were in the camera I lost to pilfering in one of the airports I passed through on the way home. Adri took the photos you see here, and I am so grateful that she passed them along for you to see. Although they don't show Gerardo's and Elyer's excellent results. Ah well......

We were just finishing up when someone spotted a sloth in a tree near the cabinas. Gera grabbed the scope and set it up on the hillside, and several of the guests trekked down to see. Gera was taking close-up pictures for the guests through the scope, one camera after another (he shot me a great one {sob}) and I think he took this photo for Marilyn, although maybe she took it herself. The sloth is looking toward the left in this photo, with its rear toward us and its head pointing out at upper left.

This was Jocelyn and Marilyn's last day, too, and they had been down to the waterfall and the beach again, and were now, in the waning day, working on their journals industriously, Jocelyn at her little table, Marilyn cross-legged on her bed. It was truly gratifying to think that I have given them some new tools for their sketching and journaling! I spent some companionable time with them, and photographed all their gorgeous journal pages for posterity.

But since I don't have those pictures, here are a few Marilyn and Jocelyn provided, with more from Kathy, in that order:




The next morning, Jocelyn and Marilyn caught the early van to Puerto Jimenez, but my plane didn't leave until later, and Joel, who owns the lodge was also leaving then, so we caught a later van to PJ. But before we left, I took my journal down the trail for one last session.

Now, leaving El Remanso, I was starting off on the second adventure of my journey ~ to culminate in a visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest ~ my own personal foray into the Costa Rican wilds ~ alone and con solimente un poquito Espanol.


Anonymous said...

WOW! I'm jealous of all the wildlife you guys saw! What a terrific trip.
Thanks for sharing it with us from your point of view.

Irene Brady said...

The trick to seeing lots of wildlife is walking quietly and slowly, listening for snaps and crackles and vocalizations of animals, watching for slight movements, and not talking.

Going out in a group is fun, but a group makes it makes it difficult to see wildlife because the group makes more noise walking and it is hard not to talk and laugh and exclaim about interesting things.

Some things you'll see anyway, such as monkeys or birds overhead, but other things won't ever appear if they know you're there.

I don't pretend to be any great wildlife stalker, but I do prefer to hike alone for that reason, and I do often see things that groups don't see.


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