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!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Costa Rica Sketch Journal ~ July 7, 2008

Days go by in a strange way here ~ as they're passing, they seem languid and slow. But suddenly it seems they have swiftly passed and it's time to go home. How can that be?

The morning of July 7 started out with flocks of parrots racketing by overhead and a brown-hooded parrot grooming on our favorite viewing branches, silvery arms emerging from a canopy tree easily seen from the railing of the restaurant as we ate breakfasts and lunches. By ten, Dan'l and I were down at the beach in the tidepools. Yesterday there had been people walking on the beach, but this morning there were none so we were skinny-dipping in the tidepool basins of warm water. What an elemental pleasure!

I'd gotten slightly sunburned the day before, so I soon jumped out to do some beachcombing ~ finding one of the biggest seedpods we'd yet seen, full of what looked like meadow muffins (horse doo-doo for you city slickers). Then I spent some time sitting on a log with my sketchbook and a spikey brown and turquoise rock-lobster shell I found. The sketch came out pretty well except for the big splotch of bug juice on it, which came splatting down out of the beach almond tree shading me. Ah well, at least it was in the right color range....

When we returned, I spent the rest of the day on our terraza, drinking in the peace and quiet, journaling and sketching the heliconia just off the terraza, drawing my beach treasures (I painted them several days later), and starting my bird list for this Costa Rica trip. I'm not an avid birder, but I do love to see new ones, or watch even ordinary birds doing interesting things, and I'm fairly good at identifying them. Daniel enjoys them, too, although he doesn't make a list. He's sharp-eyed and often spots them first to show me.

When it began to sprinkle/mist around 4:30, a mixed flock of birds appeared and a gorgeous little euphonia began eating the brilliant red seeds of a palm-like plant next to the terraza. While it hung around for only about five minutes, I examined it minutely, then when it left I plunked down on the concrete and sketched the plant. Using the bird book and my brand-new sharp memories of the euphonia, I drew it, gumming the seeds as we had observed, onto the plant.

I finished the watercolor pencil painting of the little euphonia by the dimmish overhead light, sitting on my bed. The cabinas are only sparsely lit, to avoid attracting insects out of the forest and disrupting their lives. To further discourage them, we closed all the louvred wooden blinds on the windows as suggested by the people at El Remanso. Painting by that dim light didn't seem to hurt the rendering too much.

More later.

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