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 24, 2008

Costa Rica Sketch Journal ~ July 5&6, 2008

I've been trying to get my journal scanned in, but yesterday I ran out of time and got ahead of myself with the photos. So step back a day into my sketch journal.

JULY 5. I had some time in San José to do a bit of sketching and watercolor pencil painting as Dan puzzled out the news from a San José newspaper (in Spanish, of course), which kept him busy for quite some time. At the bar I did a modified contour drawing (in which you don't lift the pen point while drawing) of my margarita. Sketching and journaling in the bar were easy because the light was soft but decent and CLASSICAL music played in the background! I complimented the hotelier on the choice of music. I would recommend this hotel without hesitation.

I worked on my page with the "black cow" and the fig leaf that night in bed, but then realized I would need to plan page designs better ~ these last two pages have almost identical format. I do love how mess-free the watercolor pencils and waterbrush make the process.

But all was not mess-free. When I pulled out my glue to stick the fig leaf on, I found that it had expanded during the plane flight and the ziplock bag containing it (and my toothbrush, sunscreen, etc.) was muy sticky inside. I was very glad to discover that the glue was water soluble, but I was in and out of bed for awhile, cleaning up the gluey mess.

The Nature Air ticket was so pretty I wanted to make the back of it visible, too (plus save room on journal pages) so I accordian pleated it and just glued in one end of it. The graphic here shows it unfolded ~ there were a lot of Photoshop steps required between scanning it in and making the ticket look 3-dimensional. Just having fun. [There -- that catches me up on the journal pages.]

JULY 6. After arriving at El Remanso from Puerto Jimenez, we got settled in our cabina and had breakfast with Adri and Danni, who run the lodge. Then we headed down to the beach ~ Dan'l's favorite place. He simmered in the wonderful tidepools for ages, but I got cooked before he did so I beachcombed and enjoyed the soft tropical air while collecting treasures from the sand.

That afternoon I painted the lavender vine flower while Dan read in the hammock. The more I use these watercolor pencils, the better I like them. I sincerely doubt you could tell these sketches were colored with watercolor pencils rather than straight watercolors.

Sitting on the terraza (Spanish for terrace) was wonderfully peaceful yet exciting at the same time. There always seemed to be something happening right before our eyes. Every afternoon at about 3:30, for instance, a coati bounded up out of the ravine and across our lawn, barely six feet from our bare toes. A heliconia flower daily lowered a petal, revealing flower parts feasted on by little black furry bees. Rains came some afternoons, and we reveled in the lightning and thunder as the storm rushed up the ravine, huge raindrops tapping on wide, rubbery heliconia leaves, the forest canopy, then finally on our clay roof tiles ~ to then cascade off the eaves in silvery waterfalls. It was mesmerizing. This photo shows the terraza view with a storm coming up from the beach.

That first evening on our terraza, I journaled the wonderful night sounds I was hearing with words and color. Those are what I miss most since my return ~ the dawn and dusk choruses.

More tomorrow.


Margaret Ann said...


I so enjoy visiting your blog and sharing the adventures in which you and your students partake...I admire what you do and the enthusiam you have for it...I have presented you with a special award on my blog...Pop on over when you have some time...Enjoy!

(who is very afraid of creepy crawly things...:) LOL

Irene Brady said...

Margaret THANK YOU! I so appreciate the award!

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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